Morning Madness: Saturday, March 11
Here's what you need to know in college hoops for Saturday, March 11. Get Morning Madness delivered to your inbox.
One more day until brackets. And what a day it should be.
Fourteen tickets handed out today
Notre Dame and Duke will meet in the ACC tournament final (9 ET, ESPN) where Duke has a chance to become the first team to claim the ACC tournament crown by winning four games in four days. Arizona takes on Oregon in the Pac-12 title bout (11 ET, ESPN), and if you're half as excited as Bill Walton about that, you're appropriately hyped. And don't look now, but Iowa State looks poised to make a deep tournament run -- the Cyclones will duke it out with West Virginia for the Big 12 crown (6 ET, ESPN).
Other league championship games on the docket: the America East, Big East, Big Sky, Big West, C-USA, MAC, MEAC, Mountain West, Southland, the SWAC and the WAC.
Let's rock and roll.
But wait! Friday had its moments, too
Duke throttled North Carolina in the second half, while Arizona outplayed UCLA from start to finish. Still, the story of conference championship week has to be Michigan, right? On Wednesday: The Wolverines’ plane skids off the runway -- nobody is injured, but a scary situation nonetheless. Thursday: Michigan wakes up at 6 a.m., arrives at the arena 80 minutes before game time, dons practice jerseys and still romps. Friday: The Wolverines upset Big Ten champion Purdue.
Now, resilience meets resilience when Michigan plays Minnesota on Saturday.
Minnesota Golden Gophers: From rags to respectability
A year ago at the Big Ten Tournament, Minnesota showed up with five scholarship players and was routed by Illinois, finishing the season 8-23.
Fast-forward to 2017. Minnesota just dispatched Michigan State and now, that's no surprise. The Golden Gophers are one of the hottest teams around; they've lost as many times as the Atlanta Falcons since February. NCAA.com’s Mike Lopresti gives us a behind-the-scenes look at Minnesota’s on-the-fly rebuild.
A peek inside the committee room
Committee vice chairman Bruce Rasmussen paints a picture of what it’s like to have a hand in determining the NCAA tournament bracket. “It’s been a long time since I was in college," Rasmussen writes. "But maybe I would compare it to taking the GRE? You have to answer 100 questions in two hours and you think it will take you four hours.”
The Creighton AD describes his Selection Sunday mindset in detail in a guest piece for NCAA.com.
Choosing the AP No. 1 to go the distance? Not so fast
With Kansas’ loss to TCU, Villanova has a good chance to claim the No. 1 spot in the final AP Poll before the NCAA tournament. (The final poll comes Monday.) The Wildcats eked out a nail-biter against Seton Hall last night thanks to a Josh Hart tip-in in the final seconds.
Look away though, Nova fans, because recent history shows that it’s rare for the final AP No. 1 to win the national championship. In the past six years, one team (2012 Kentucky) has carried that billing and proceeded to throw a parade.
A trend or a blip? Ultimately, that's your call, and you can make it by signing up for our Bracket Challenge Game.
The tournament in your pocket
The NCAA March Madness Live App is ready, however you want to play things. You can get it via www.ncaa.com/marchmadness, www.bleacherreport.com, www.CBSSports.com, Bleacher Report’s Team Stream App, the CBS Sports App, Amazon Alexa devices, the App Store, Roku Channel Store, Windows Store and Google Play.
Let the games begin.
Mark your calendar
Selection Sunday: March 12
First Four in Dayton: March 14, 15
First Thursday of the NCAA tournament: March 16
Final Four in Phoenix: April 1-3