All the hype in the world has come to fruition. The 2015 NCAA Tournament field is here. Your next three work days turn into figuring out how many different permutations and combinations you can put together in the quest for the first ever perfect bracket. Do you have it in you?
In no surprise, the overall number one seed Kentucky Wildcats will be the champs on most of you and your coworkers' brackets -- and deservedly so. They cruised through non-conference play, SEC conference play, and the SEC tournament alike and are undefeated going into the tourney. The Shockers from Wichita State were unbeaten heading into the 2014 NCAA Tournament, but Kentucky played spoiler against them a year ago on the way to the title game. Coach John Calipari's NBA-talent loaded roster has been pretty much unbeatable this year. Willie Cauley-Stein and Karl-Anthony Towns are future NBA standouts, and if that wasn't enough, Kentucky has depth for days. Big Blue Nation are just six wins away from becoming the first 40-0 team in college basketball history.
But can anyone play spoiler against the Wildcats?
The Duke Blue Devils and Virginia Cavaliers both went down in the ACC semifinals, but both teams are built to play deep until March and on until early April. Tony Bennett's 'Hoos are a defensive force to be reckoned with with selfless veteran plays to go along with their often frustrating to play against (and watch alike) style of play. Coach K and the Blue Devils have arguably the nation's best player in Jahlil Okafor. Though Duke's become known as much for championship runs as shocking early round exits in recent tournaments, this Blue Devils team has the athleticism to go against the best of the best and can beat anyone on a given night.
Another threat near and dear -- okay, maybe not so dear -- to your own heart is the champions of the Big Ten regular season and conference tournament, the Wisconsin Badgers. They return all the primary parts from a loaded Final Four team that was essentially one possession from playing for a title a year ago. Frank Kaminsky just might be your 2015 Naismith Award winner and the Badgers' history against the Wildcats may help if they run into one another once again.
Villanova's become known for being upset in their own right, but this year's incarnation might just be the best team you haven't seen. They marched through the Big East to win the regular season title and the conference tournament alike. At 32-2, this team's put together one of the best resumes anywhere in the country. Though it's not 34, the 'Cats are winners of fifteen straight and might help you score some bracket points as your coworkers and friends pick them to go down in the Third Round or Sweet 16. Sophomore Josh Hart joins a legion of sharp shooters for the always well dressed Jay Wright's side.
From outside the one line, Arizona is another of the hottest teams in the country. Fresh on the heels of a blowout win in the Pac-12 tournament championship against Oregon, the Wildcats were a trendy pick a year ago. Freshman Stanley Johnson and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson are two of the NBA ready talents on this team, and could make Arizona unbearable for even the best defenses in the country.