Commentary

Big Dance will yield big drama

Updated: February 15, 2010, 3:35 PM ET
By Dick Vitale | ESPN.com

The theme of this college basketball season is unpredictability.

If you don't believe me, go ask Georgetown and Syracuse. Those top 10 teams fell to Rutgers and Louisville!

Losing Propositions

Syracuse has active losing streaks against three Big East teams and still has the chance to end two of them (Louisville, Villanova) later this season.

    Last win
Louisville 5 Feb. '06
Pittsburgh 4 March '06
Villanova 3 Feb. '08

The college basketball landscape is so different than last season, when we had a heavyweight, a Muhammad Ali, Rocky Marciano and Joe Louis special rolled into one in the Tar Heels of North Carolina. Roy Williams' team was a dominant force from day one, proving to be America's finest.

With Tyler Hansbrough, Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington and company, the Tar Heels delivered the knockout punch at Ford Field, cutting down the nets. They ran through the NCAA tournament, winning every game by double figures. North Carolina was the best of the best!

This year, we have some quality teams leading the way in Kansas and Kentucky, followed by the likes of Syracuse, Villanova, Purdue and Duke. They are very solid squads, and the next level -- with the likes of Michigan State and Gonzaga -- is tough too.

My friends, this is not going to be a simple case of rolling through six games and holding the gold trophy in Indianapolis. The so-called elite teams will have battles on their hands, especially when they reach the Sweet 16. There is great parity in college hoops this season, and it should provide an exciting tournament; a special big dance!

How important is it to get a number one seed? Over the last five years, four teams on that No. 1 line in the bracket cut down the nets; the 2006 Florida Gators were the only team not in a top-ranked spot to win it all.

There is a lot of drama in discussing the field of 65. Several big names could fall short of the big dance. Connecticut, North Carolina and UCLA, short of a miracle turnaround and a resurrection of their seasons, could be out of the picture in March Madness. That's right, three programs with incredible tradition and success could be missing from the big dance.

The last time those three were not part of the NCAA tournament was back in 1966. That was the season when Don Haskins' Texas Western made history by stunning a Kentucky team with Pat Riley.

We're a month away from Selection Sunday and let me tell you my friends, it is going to be interesting. There is a lot of basketball left to play. Some teams will play their way into the field, while others fall out.

Games become really important for those teams making that drive for March Madness. The intensity and emotion will climb to an even higher level.

This has already been an intriguing season, and the fun is just starting, baby!

Dick Vitale

College Basketball analyst
Dick Vitale, college basketball's top analyst and ambassador, joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season. His thorough knowledge of the game is brought forth in an enthusiastic, passionate style. Vitale also contributes columns to ESPN.com.