We’ve heard for months that the college basketball season is wide open and that we should expect the unexpected come tournament time. Well, now that the tournament has arrived, look at your bracket – or just the Final Four.
It’s mostly chalk, isn’t it?
Don’t worry. You’re not alone.
But why is that?
“I think it’s experience,” SNY, Fox and NBC college basketball analyst Vin Parise said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “When you look at last year, I was excited. I thought it was going to be a great tournament, but you just had that feeling that Wisconsin and Duke and Kentucky were just so much better than everybody else – and it wound up proving true in the end. This year has a lot of parity, it has a lot of balance and it has a lot of seniors – a lot of veteran guys who could have left early for the NBA but came back.”
Denzel Valentine at Michigan State, Kris Dunn at Providence, Buddy Hield at Oklahoma – the list goes on.
“So I think you’re going to have tremendous basketball games down the stretch,” Parise said. “You look at how much experience Bill Self has at Kansas. Perry Ellis seems like he’s been there 19 years. I just think these stronger veteran teams are not going to get clipped early, but there’s a couple upsets out there that could break people’s brackets. We could still have some fun.”
Parise, in fact, has No 11 Iowa State beating No. 6 Texas and No. 3 Texas A&M to advance to the Sweet 16.
“I love their draw,” Parise said. “I think that Shaka Smart, although he’s doing a great job at Texas, I think that he overachieved with the group this year. I love (Northern Iowa’s) second-round potential matchup against Texas A&M. I think about this with this Northern Iowa team: They shoot about 40 percent from three-point range as a team. They beat North Carolina in November. They beat Wichita State when they were ranked 25th. They beat Iowa State when they were fifth in the country. Think about that. North Carolina, Iowa State, Wichita State. Those games were in November, December and February. They were strong throughout. They had a 22-win season. This Northern Iowa team could break up a lot of office pools this year.”