Duke forward Zion Williamson

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Bernstein: This Sweet 16 Is Awesome

The matchups are a perfect balance of density of action and quality of participants.

Dan Bernstein
March 28, 2019 - 3:01 pm

(670 The Score) ​​I don't want to hear about your busted bracket or your survival pool or how your plucky little alma mater won its stupid conference for the first time. I'm too busy anticipating 12 rollicking games over the next four days as these remaining 16 college basketball teams winnow to the Final Four.

Allow me to fanboy out for just a moment, looking at how many high seeds held through the first weekend to set up an absolute feast on what many of us consider the most entertaining portion of the whole affair -- a perfect balance of density of action and quality of participant, along with plenty of future NBA star power in yet another year in which the Bulls hold a high pick. As spectacular as the Duke/UCF circus was Sunday, this schedule looks like it can promise even more stuff approaching that level.

I feel like tucking a napkin into my shirt collar before sitting down to consume all of it and making sure I have both hollandaise and hot sauce.

Part of the reason for the excitement spasm is that I don't watch all that much college basketball throughout the year -- a big game here or there, plenty of scouting videos and highlight packages that arrive in the regular timeline but well short of a regular commitment. Some of it is due to high player turnover that often means a terrible sports product for much of the season before all the freshman talent gets it figured out, and the other part is heavier lifting to suspend my disbelief.

We all know we're contributing to a venal and bloated cartel that exploits free labor to promote shoes that are manufactured by South Asian children, fill the coffers of megalomaniacal coaches who are still celebrated for being the last bastion of abusive sociopathy and provide advertising inventory for national television programming, all under the guise of the purity and equality of the American system of higher education.

So once you get over all that, there's ... you know, games and stuff.

The East region is the 1-4 seed game and the 2-3 -- and at least another episode of the Zion Williamson Plays College Basketball Show and maybe more. In the South, it's strong-but-often-streaky teams hoping to catch a heater and keep advancing, as we just hope somebody tags Virginia because it's annoying.

The West has a Gonzaga outfit laden with talent -- two future NBA players for sure and perhaps four other pros -- and Texas Tech/Michigan pitting two of the game's best defenses against one another. And the Midwest features a North Carolina/Auburn contest that might burn the house down, and also Kentucky against Houston. The latter being involved at this point still feels like a childhood throwback for me, a time of March being all about Hakeem and Clyde and Guy Lewis and his checkered hand towel and plaid jackets.

Bring it all on, every last bit of it. The NCAA Tournament doesn't need the unlikely charge of some adorable upstart, not when it sets up this well.

Dan Bernstein is a co-host of 670 The Score’s Bernstein & McKnight Show in middays. You can follow him on Twitter @dan_bernstein.​​​​