Frank Martin: NCAA tournament is a window to showcase Columbia
Barring something unforeseen, Duke and Spartanburg’s Zion Williamson seem like a lock to come to Columbia for the NCAA Tournament’s first two rounds.
The top-ranked Blue Devils (23-2) are destined to become the Big Dance’s overall No. 1 seed and be rewarded with the simple 235-journey south to Colonial Life Arena for games March 22-24.
What’s also become clear is USC will likely host two No. 1 seeds. It’s less than a month from Selection Sunday (March 17) and experts are split on Tennessee and Virginia.
The latest from Joe Lunardi
ESPN’s top bracketologist last updated his bracket late Monday night. He has the following games happening in Columbia:
(1) Duke-(16) Bucknell
(8) Baylor-(9) Wofford
(1) Tennessee-(16) Sam Houston State
(8) Syracuse-(9) Texas
Observations: Tennessee here is the biggest tweak from last week.
The Vols are coming off a disappointing loss at Kentucky, which Lunardi used to move them out of Columbus, Ohio, and into Columbia, switching places with Virginia.
How awesome would a Duke-Wofford second round game be? Williamson gets to face his hometown team, a Terriers bunch loaded with enough shooters to give the favored Blue Devils a scare.
The latest from Jerry Palm
The top bracketologist from CBS Sports last updated his bracket Monday morning. He has the following matchups happening in Columbia:
(1) Duke vs. (16) Quinnipiac-Norfolk State winner
(8) Baylor vs. (9) VCU
(1) Virginia vs. (16) South Dakota State
(8) Buffalo vs. (9) Minnesota
Observations: Opposite of Lunardi, Palm moved the Vols out of Columbia and into Columbus. Palm still lists UT as a No. 1 seed, but in the Midwest Region.
Palm had Virginia, which won at Virginia Tech on Monday, going to Columbus last week. The Cavaliers beat the Gamecocks at CLA in December.
Buffalo’s appearance is new this week. The Bulls (22-3, 10-2 Mid-American Conference) are one of the most intriguing mid-major teams in the country. They boast road wins over Syracuse and West Virginia.