Getting ahead of the curve is one of those strategies that only works if you’re pointed in the right direction, and for those of you that are going bonkers waiting to see who wins the 2014 NCAA Tourney, it’s probably best to lock in your long term commitments before Selection Sunday. The current leader on the board remains top ranked Florida at +550, and if those are the smallest odds to win the 2014 NCAA Tourney, then you’re looking at a pretty good payout no matter who you bet on. These numbers, however, could shrink if you don’t manage to get your wagers in prior to the announcement of the official bracket.
Selection Sunday is essentially the opening ceremonies of March Madness. It marks the moment when we know which 68 teams will be involved in the hunt for the national championships, the pathways for each contender to get to that final game and which low-seeded Cinderella’s have made the big dance. The announcement is an hour-long show broadcast at 6pm on CBS, and will air this coming Sunday night for the entire country to enjoy.
Bud did Selection Sunday become a hallmark event in the sporting calendar in the first place?
The simplest answer is “Bird vs. Magic”, a rivalry that many know from their days in the NBA and on the national team, but few remember at the college level (hopefully most of you are at least aware of it). In 1979, the two had such an incredible rivalry that it skyrocketed the interest in college basketball overall. This was before Selection Sunday even existed, and when the tournament wasn’t even close to having 64 teams involved. The national championship game between Bird and Magic is one of the most watched basketball games of all time.
As is usually the case, where there’s an audience, there are executives trying to take advantage of an opportunity and in this case it was a great thing. Tom Jernstedt is a former NCAA executive vice-president who collaborated with Kevin O’Malley, an executive producer at CBS sports at the time, and a few others to spawn Selection Sunday as a television program in 1982.
Thirty-two years later, college basketball fans and gamblers can barely contain themselves before Selection Sunday is broadcast. There are no leaks, only assumptions, and the slow and simmering reveal of the bracket over the course of an hour can be both nauseating and thrilling at the same time. There was no “bracketology” before Selection Sunday and the uproar surrounding the show signals the arrival of the Madness itself.
As most of us know, March Madness is simply a great time to be alive and having an official kick-off event helps push the spectacle of the three-week bonanza in to the stratosphere. The 2014 NCAA tourney will not be an exception.
So who are the best teams to back right now? It’s actually too early to tell, especially since a lot of the information about teams we know now will become null and void when we see which opponents lie in their path. The best bets to make before Selection Sunday to win the 2014 NCAA Tourney should be the bullet proof teams that have seemed impervious to losing. That would include Wichita State at +1000 and Florida at +550.