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Sunday, March 17, 2013
Stage set for incredible Big Dance

By Dick Vitale
ESPN.com

Selection Sunday is like Christmas Day for college hoop junkies. My friends, the NCAA tournament selection committee has gift-wrapped a beautiful present as we prepare for the best three weeks in all of sports.

Yes, there was coal in the stockings of a few. Kentucky, Alabama, Tennessee, Southern Mississippi, Virginia and Iowa all fell short of the Big Dance.

In the end, the field of 68 is set and if the regular season and Championship Week are any indication, this year's tourney should be incredible. This has been the best season of college basketball in all of my years calling games for ESPN, with so many great finishes and close calls. There should be more memorable moments created as we narrow the field down to the Final Four in Atlanta.

I really believe there are 10 to 15 teams capable of cutting down the nets and winning six games in the tourney. There are a lot of teams that can win two straight and make the Sweet 16, but do they have enough to win it all?

I also believe this is a great year for the Big Ten. The last time the league won the national championship was back in 2000, when Michigan State cut down the nets in Indianapolis. Tom Izzo and company have a shot at the gold trophy again this year. I feel the league has five teams capable of winning it all.

I agreed with the top seeds and I had no issue with what the committee did to reward the little guy like Middle Tennessee State and St. Mary's.

I think we will have a great tournament and I will have stories on the tournament all week.