By Seth Rivello
The NCAA men’s basketball tournament and NFL free agency both taking place in March causes mass hysteria. You have NFL players signing large contracts that sometimes aren’t deserved and high-seeded basketball teams possibly getting knocked off by low-seeded cupcake opponents.
The NCAA bracket challenge is hard, no matter how much college basketball you watch. Everybody wants to pick that perfect bracket but the odds of that happening is 1 in 9,223,372,036,854,775,808. Usually people take the four number one seeds from each tier (South, East, West, Midwest) and take them all the way to the final four and championship, but this year that might not work.
There really isn’t a team that jumps out and seems unbeatable this year. Some teams may get hot from playing their conference championship games but that flame can die quickly.
The University of Virginia is a number one seed. The Cavaliers do deserve that seeding after winning the ACC title and finishing with the best record at 31-2. It survives off strong defensive play and slowing down opposing offenses but it wouldn’t be shocking to see a Kentucky Wildcat or Arizona Wildcat team take them down earlier than expected.
The three other number one seeds are the Xavier Musketeers coming out of the West, the Kansas Jayhawks out of the Midwest and the Villanova Wildcats out of the East.
Trevon Bluiett can carry Xavier for a couple rounds until a possible matchup against Gonzaga, North Carolina, and maybe Michigan. I love watching Bluiett but when it comes down to one player trying to win an entire tournament it doesn’t end well.
The Jayhawks always seem to disappoint in the tournament even though it’s stacked with talent. Devonte’ Graham and Malik Newman were hot throughout the BIG12 tournament and look to stay that way. A Michigan State or Duke matchup can end that real quick.
Villanova did play a very soft schedule but did beat Xavier twice. The Musketeers also blew through the Big East Conference championship with the closest game being a 10-point overtime win against the Providence Friars. Villanova seems real shaky to me but doesn’t have much competition coming from the East. If Alabama advances, Collin Sexton could give them trouble, a good defensive team in West Virginia could ruin some brackets and so could Wichita State.
Now to flip over to the NFL, there have been a ton of huge moves made by the Cleveland Browns, Green Bay Packers, and Minnesota Vikings. With many more deals to be made, this is a great free agency start.
The Browns started off by trading a fourth round draft pick this season and a seventh in 2019 for Miami Dolphins star receiver Jarvis Landry. They followed that move by acquiring quarterback Tyrod Taylor from the Buffalo Bills for a third round pick. They then swapped fourth and fifth round picks plus quarterback DeShone Kizer for Green Bay cornerback Damarious Randall.
The Packers started out Tuesday by cutting long time and Pro Bowl receiver Jordy Nelson and inked a three-year deal with tight end Jimmy Graham. While Packers fans have reason to be upset they have to realize Nelson is turning 33 in May and adding Graham fills a void at tight end the team has needed to fill for countless years.
The Vikings might have made the biggest splash so far by signing quarterback Kirk Cousins to an $84-million dollar deal. At times Cousins has shown inconsistency and reasons why the Washington Redskins never signed him to a huge deal but this shows Minnesota is tired of the Super Bowl drought and is looking to make a huge push this year. Without question this deal brings Minnesota to a whole new level.
Allen Robinson, the big time playmaking receiver also found a new home with the Chicago Bears. Leaving the Jacksonville Jaguars for $42 million dollars, Robinson looks to reinvent himself and go back to the 2015 season when he had 1,400 yards and 14 touchdowns. Young Mitchell Trubisky finally has a weapon to throw the ball to as long as Robinson can stay healthy.