- Associated Press - Monday, March 18, 2013

Drop the pen. Everybody knows no ink makes contact with a bracket sheet until Monday night at the earliest. Until it’s deadline time, pencils are preferred.

It’s tempting to make big decisions about your picks while you’re still waiting for the fourth region to be unveiled. Don’t. In the next 10, 12 hours you will hear so many nuggets of information and reasons to change your mind that you will, over and over.

That, folks, is real March Madness.

To add to your confusion, here a few thoughts and tips about the 2013 bracket.


There weren’t any really fervent arguments when the bracket was revealed.

Gonzaga being the fourth No. 1 seed caused a ripple of controversy because it revived and an old argument: BCS conference vs. the mid-majors. If the Bulldogs weren’t a No. 1, Miami probably would have gotten it.

The last of the at-large selections again weren’t full of emotion or indignation. Again, it was BCS vs. mid-majors with La Salle and Middle Tennessee State being the last two in the field instead of the likes of Virginia, Maryland and Iowa, all big-time programs with small-time nonconference schedules.

Don’t read anything into this about Gonzaga not being a deserving No. 1 who is capable of winning the four games that get you to the Final Four. The Bulldogs, who go 10 deep in the rotation, have a big front line led by 7-footer Kelly Olynyk and a solid backcourt featuring Kevin Pangos.


For those still wearing black after the last Big East tournament as we know it, eight Big East teams were selected for the field of 68, the most of any conference. It is the fourth straight year the Big East has had at least that many teams selected, including an NCAA-record 11 in 2011. The Big East has had at least eight teams chosen six times since 2006.

No other conference has ever had eight teams chosen for one field.

And if you want to look ahead and hope for a final farewell for the Big East next month, history says you’ll be happy.

The conference has had five schools make a Final Four appearance in the last four years, including Connecticut’s remarkable title run led by Kemba Walker in 2011.


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