- Andy Katz, ESPN Senior Writer
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1. Who was the best team in the 2011? If you said UConn then you're only talking about the NCAA tournament. The Huskies finished 9-9 in the Big East and were the hottest team in the tournaments. They won 11 games in a row to win the Big East tournament and the NCAA tournament. What we're seeing this year is hot teams yet again like Florida Gulf Coast, La Salle and Wichita State. Of course, traditional powers like Louisville, Indiana, Duke and this season's crews at Miami, Michigan, Michigan State and even Ohio State are all still alive. But the tournament unfortunately is the judge and jury of the season. While Gonzaga, New Mexico and Georgetown had tremendous seasons, they will be remembered for losing too early in the tournament. It's the cruelty of the Big Dance. All three schools deserved and earned the seeds they received, just like FGCU should have had a 15 seed and nothing better based on its regular season. The upsets, the hot teams, and the unpredictable nature of this tournament is exactly why it's the best even if it can cloud the earlier success.
2. Decision time now comes for a number of players who have to weigh whether they should return or go through to the uncertainty of the NBA draft. Creighton's Doug McDermott, Gonzaga's Kelly Olynyk and Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart are three of the more intriguing players. All could benefit from another year and would be stars next season as well as competing for national player of the year. But all three are first-round picks at some point. Smart has the best upside. Because of the openness of this year's draft, I wouldn't be surprised to see all gone. But it would be a Cody Zeller-like surprise if one, or any, of the three were to return to school.
3. I'm done with the pod system. Of course, I have no say and it's here to stay. But I long for the day when the two winners in the round of 32 come from the same site. Coaches and players could actually scout the second game and know they next opponent. Would be nice and easy for the fans and the media, too. You can't blame the hometown fans who don't stay for the second game in Kansas City or Lexington since it had nothing to do with Kansas or Louisville in the next round. The top seed is supposed to be protected for a weaker opponent. I don't think the overall purpose was to produce a home game.