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Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Get ready for wild Champ Week

By Dick Vitale
ESPN.com

This has been an incredible college basketball season and some of the results in already indicate more wackiness.

Will we see shock city in this week's conference tournaments? Will there be bubble teams stunned by surprise champions?

Look at a Western Kentucky, a sixth-seed in the Sun Belt. For the second straight season, the Hilltoppers won four in a row to earn a bid to dance. Liberty, a fifth-seed in the Big South, made the NCAA field despite a 15-20 record.

The conference tournament scenario gives teams an opportunity to redeem themselves. That second chance happens once in a while -- look at the SEC a few years back when Georgia and Arkansas cut down the nets and made it to the big dance.

There are a number of intriguing matchups that could affect so-called bubble teams. Illinois vs. Minnesota in the Big Ten; Oklahoma against Iowa State in the Big 12; a potential Virginia-NC State quarterfinal in the ACC. My friends, let's remember that the committee has to fill in 37 at-large slots. If you sit down and try to figure it out, most of these bubble teams will get in.

I believe that when you put together a resume with a number of quality wins, you belong in the tournament. I know a number of teams have some bad blemishes, but you have to look at the overall body of work.

I look at the VBDI (Vitale Bald Dome Index) and feel there will only be a few hard decisions for the committee come Sunday. Things tend to work themselves out.

One interesting storyline to watch is Middle Tennessee State. An upset victim against Richard Pitino's Florida International team in the Sun Belt semifinals, the Blue Raiders went 28-5. Kermit Davis Jr.'s squad had a win over Mississippi, but lost to Florida, Belmont and Akron.

I feel for those kids at Middle Tennessee State. They deserve an opportunity to play in the field of 68. Look at what VCU did a few years back!

This has been the best season for college basketball in all of my years calling games. I know naysayers will complaint that we don't have the same superstars on the court. I argue that we have such competitive balance, there have been so many nail biters going to the wire, and the best is yet to come.

March Madness is awesome, baby with a capital A! I am so excited about this week's action, all leading up to the best three weeks in sports!