That said, most columns will focus on the same few topics, just as they have in previous years. Here are four memes that will dominate next week's March Madness columns:
- Why March Madness Is The Best After 48 games in four days, sportswriters will ratchet up the hyperbole to depict the beauty of the NCAA tournament. Each year, pundits find a different part of March Madness to praise--be it buzzer-beating thrillers, a rash of victories by underdogs, or a mid-major team that's captured the nation's heart. With a record number of close games in the first half of the first round this year, expect glowing endorsements of tournament parity and lists ranking the best games of the week.
- Meet the Next Big Thing Every year, lower-seeded teams reach the second week of action, and they're often led by a single star who goes from no-name to national sensation in 72 hours. Columns will abound praising the new star, with the more enterprising writers finding a unique angle about his life and milking it for all it's worth. Two years ago, Davidson's Stephen Curry led his team to within a basket of the Final Four and became the most profiled athlete in America for two weeks. ESPN's Pat Forde has already called BYU's Jimmer Fredette "amazing", and other sportswriters will soon follow.
- The Cinderella Story Unheralded teams get even more ink than unheralded players, and the few underdogs who reach the Sweet Sixteen get the hero's treatment from the sports world. Cinderallas generally fall into two categories: double-digit seeds who overcome the longest odds (such as 13-seed Arizona last year) and unknown schools most of America knows nothing about (the Murray States of the world). If a school that fits both categories is still around on Monday, the hyperbole will be off the charts.
- The Juggernaut Sure, Cinderellas are nice, but the top teams always end up holding the trophy. After the first weekend, a handful of teams will emerge as favorites, and the experts will revisit their championship picks. Top teams that are still around will be dubbed "championship contenders" and one or two teams will assume the mantle of prohibitive favorites. If Kansas and Kentucky can survive the weekend, they will almost certainly get the juggernaut treatment.