Do you like rooting for the little guys? Because they're damn near everywhere. After this tournament, you can revert back to your cynical bad selves.
Today, the West and East regional semifinals commence. On Friday, the Midwest and South get their chance at shining moments.
WEST REGION, SALT LAKE CITY
7:07 p.m.: (1) Syracuse vs. (5) Butler — Wouldn't a Butler-Xavier matchup be awesome? Neither of those teams have ever broken through to the Final Four. In fact, this is Xavier's 21st ever tournament appearance and Butler's 10th. An an Atlantic-10/Horizon matchup would be just the event to ensure a true mid-major underdog.
Here's the thing, though. Ain't gonna be this year. Jim Boeheim and his Orange have a slew of incredible shooters and they are second in the country in team assists per game. Plus ... there's no way I'm ever picking against that mascot. Syracuse 78, Butler 74
9:37 p.m.: (2) Kansas State vs. (6) Xavier — Oh, look. The one Sweet 16 game that's actually a rematch from the regular season. The Musketeers were well-handled back on December 8, but that was in the cozy confines of Bramlage Colosseum. On that day, Jordan Crawford had a sad shooting performance, but in this tournament he has sufficiently heated up to the point that in a Mexican restaurant the server would remind you not to touch him.
So simply shut him down, and the rest is cake. (Mmm. Mexican cake.) Kansas State 66, Xavier 56
EAST REGION, SYRACUSE, NY
7:27 p.m.: (1) Kentucky vs. (12) Cornell — The last time the Ivy League made it this far was during the Carter Administration. That team was Pennsylvania, who reached the Final Four in '79 before narrowly losing to Dean Smith and his UNC Tar Heels.