Thanks in part to two wins by Florida and Patric Young, the Southeastern Conference is unbeaten at 7-0 in the NCAA tournament.
By Brian Batko / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The First Shot
Freshman flops: Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid, Tyler Ennis: What do they all have in common besides being fabulous freshmen? Well, none of them made it out of the first weekend of the tournament. Duke, Kansas and Syracuse all relied heavily on youth in at least one spot, and now have little to show for it. John Calipari's freshman-led Kentucky squad finds itself in the Sweet 16, but underwhelmed for much of the year. So even in this so-called year of the freshman, maybe experienced juniors and seasoned seniors are still the best way to win in March after all. Assuming these studs forgo their sophomore seasons as expected, they'll likely be at the top of the NBA draft, but not the top of your bracket.
SEC: Deemed the weakest major league all season, the Southeastern Conference is looking more like the gridiron version. Only three SEC teams made the tournament, but all three are in the Sweet 16: Top overall seed Florida and guard Scottie Wilbekin (pictured), super-talented Kentucky and First Four participant Tennessee. Not bad for a football hotbed.
Cinderellas: Except for you, Dayton. The No. 11 seed Flyers are now carrying the banner for the plucky underdogs who made waves in the first two days, but have since exited. Add No. 14 Mercer and No. 12 Stephen F. Austin to Harvard and North Dakota State's pity party.
Patric Young: As Pitt found out Saturday, Florida's senior center is about as strong as they come inside. He's perhaps the most vocal leader for a senior-led team that faces surging UCLA next in the Sweet 16, and he'll have to do plenty off the court to keep the Gators focused, and on the court to take advantage of the Bruins' primary weakness -- a thin frontcourt.
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