On Monday, the 2023-24 NCAA Men’s College Basketball Season will begin.
Between now & St. Patrick’s Day (when the regular season ends), there will be plenty of big games & intriguing questions, throughout the season.
The first question surrounds the University of Connecticut Huskies. It’s rare that we talk about U-Conn being the reigning NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Champions, but they were the team who left NRG Arena in Houston, Texas with the trophy. However, history has not been kind to the men’s Huskies, when they have been the defending champions.
After winning the college basketball championship in the 1998-99 season, they were eliminated by the Tennesee Volunteers in the round of 32 in 1999-2000. After winning in 2003-04, they were eliminated by the North Carolina State Wolfpack in the round of 32 in 2004-05. After winning in 2010-11, they were eliminated by the Iowa State Cyclones in the round of 64 in 2011-12. After winning in 2013-14, they didn’t even make it to the following season’s tournament. Can the Huskies finally break the curse & repeat as NCAA Men’s Basketball Champions?
Another question surrounds the North Carolina Tar Heels. After an uncharacteristic season, they’re looking for redemption. They made college basketball history that anyone would hope to avoid, when they were the first team to be ranked #1 in the college basketball preseason & miss March Madness. However, are North Carolina’s best days behind them? Many people think the resounding answer is yes, especially with so many losses through the transfer portal or graduation.
A team who will be under the spotlight will be the Purdue Boilermakers. In March, they became the 2nd men’s college basketball team in NCAA history to be a #1 seed that lost to a #16 seed, when they lost to the Fairleigh Dickinson Knights. The question surrounding them is an obvious one. How will they respond to that loss? The fans in West Lafayette, Indiana are hoping that their Boilermakers will respond the same way the Virginia Cavaliers responded, after they were the 1st men’s #1 seed to lose to a #16 seed (the Univeristy of Maryland Baltimore County Retrievers) in 2017-18. The 2018-19 Cavaliers became champions.
Y’all didn’t think we would forget games, did you? Monday night, the Huskies begin their defense of their championship, welcoming the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks. All eyes will be on the champs to see how they set the tone for their defense of their championship. November 14th, we get 2 for the price of 1, as we get the 14th annual Champions Classic from the United Center in Chicago, Illinois.
First, the Michigan State Spartans will be the designated home team against the Duke Blue Devils. Then, the Kentucky Wildcats will be the designated home team against the Kansas Jayhawks. Speaking of the Jayhawks, they will host the Huskies on December 1st at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kansas. This could have been a Sweet 16 game, last season, but the Jayhawks were upset by the Arkansas Razorbacks. The Jayhawks feel like the Huskies have their championship.
The Huskies feel like the Jayhawks have their #1 ranking. If the Jayhawks are still #1 by December, this game will be interesting. When 2024 rolls around, North Carolina will be a mad house, as college basketball’s fiercest rivalry adds another chapter on January 2nd. The Tar Heels welcome the Blue Devils to Chapel Hill, as these teams compete for the 261st time.
Then, the biggest questions of the 2023-24 season. The first will be answered on March 17th. On that day, we will find out which 68 teams will have the luck of the Irish, because not only will the regular season end on St. Patrick’s Day, it will also be Selection Sunday. The next questions will be answered from March 19-31, when we find out which 4 teams will make a trip to State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona on for this season’s Final Four.
Then, on April 6th, we will find out which 2 teams will compete in this season’s national college basketball championship game. Then, the ultimate question will be answered on April 8th. Who will leave suburban Phoenix as the 2023-24 NCAA Division I Men’s College Basketball Champions?