It took an extra day for March to come this year, but with the day finally here it’s time to get excited about March Madness. While there’s still quite a lot of parody in college basketball thanks to the continuing “one and done’s”, it makes for predicting who will advance to the Final Four and winning the national championship hard. We’re still a bit of a ways off from that (we’ll at least let the brackets be set first) but there’s no shame in saying who needs to win during the final week of the regular season this week and make some noise during conference title games next week. So sit back, relax and let Water Cooler Talk help you be the sports guru of the office this week.
Remember when this team came out of nowhere a few years ago and made two consecutive championship games? Then head coach, Brad Stevens was a huge part of that, and then he left to coach the NBA’s Boston Celtics. Butler has held their own since his departure, but they’ve come down to earth and are again looked at as a mid-conference team. I had the privilege of watching this team in last year’s tournament when they lost in OT to Notre Dame in the Round of 32. Despite the loss, I thought this team would make quite a bit of noise for the 2015-16 season. Looks can be deceiving however as they’re currently on the outside looking in. One big win is on their resume, that was a win against Purdue in December. Overall on the season however, Butler is just 2-7 against the RPI top 50. The Big East isn’t the powerhouse conference we once knew it was, but the prestige of the conference doesn’t matter, it’s winning the conference title that counts to lock your position in the dance.
The Wolverines play NBA basketball, which hasn’t equated to as many wins as they could or should have. Their defense is lackluster at best and their front court is sketchy, but this team can shoot the lights out from long range. They easily have 4 players that spell danger from beyond the 3-point line and can easily burst plenty of brackets if they’re able to get to the dance. They have quality wins to include victories over Texas, NC State, Purdue and Maryland but the strength of schedule is a major weakness. A win against Iowa on Sunday will be a nice boost heading into the Big Ten Tournament, which begins on Wednesday. A trip to the championship game in the conference tournament may be enough to punch their ticket to the dance.