Former college basketball coach Seth Greenberg on distractions today’s players face, Final Four favorites


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Top-ranked UConn suffered a shocking upset loss to Creighton on Tuesday. The 85-66 loss marked just the second defeat for the defending national champion Huskies.

As February itches toward a close, March Madness comes into focus. Aside from UConn, other highly-ranked teams, such as Houston, Purdue and Arizona, appear to be virtual locks for the upcoming Selection Sunday event. 

The NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament field is made up of 36 “at-large” teams. An NCAA selection committee selects those teams, which are announced during Selection Sunday. The 32 teams who win their respective Division I conferences round out the field of 68 teams.

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Seth Greenberg talks during halftime of a basketball game

ESPN college basketball analyst Seth Greenberg during halftime at the Jimmy V Classic between the Illinois Fighting Illini and the Florida Atlantic Owls at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 5, 2023 in New York City. (Porter Binks/Getty Images)

The teams that are on the cusp of making the tournament typically dominate conversations in the sports world in the days leading up to the announcement. 

During a recent appearance on OutKick’s “Don’t @ Me with Dan Dakich” former college basketball coach and current ESPN analyst Seth Greenberg discussed the teams he would be surprised if they did not advance to the Final Four.

UCONN’S DAN HURLEY GETS INTO HEATED CONFRONTATION WITH CREIGHTON FANS AFTER UPSET LOSS

“I would think its Purdue and UConn in terms of what they’ve done… their body of work,” Greenberg said in response to a question about which teams he would be surprised if they did not make it to the semifinals. “But I think between one and 65, everyone’s got scars. Everyone can have a bad day.”

Ryan Kalkbrenner with fans

Creighton’s Ryan Kalkbrenner hugs fans following Creighton’s 85-66 win over UConn in an NCAA college basketball game on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024, in Omaha, Nebraska. (AP Photo/Rebecca S. Gratz)

“Connecticut loses at Creighton… it happens. It’s just the business of college basketball.

Greenberg also pointed to the increasing number of distractions today’s college basketball players have to contend with, noting that the “static” contributes to the team’s being upset. 

“I think the reason is because of the static around the players. I think it’s workout gurus, it’s AAU coaches, it’s parents, it’s NIL … and I’m all for it … I’ve got no problem with it, but it’s just so much more that’s on their plate. It’s collectives, I guess school fits in there somewhere. It’s social media. There’s just so much static around these kids it’s hard for them to focus on the most important things all the time.” 

Seth Greenberg reacts during a game

Virginia Tech Hokies head coach Seth Greenberg reacts as he coaches against the Duke Blue Devils in their Quarterfinal game of the 2012 ACC Men’s Basketball Conference Tournament at Philips Arena on March 9, 2012 in Atlanta. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

“So, when you’re not as focused, maybe when you go on the road… maybe you’re hearing too much good about yourself … you’re more vulnerable. And when you’re more vulnerable and other team plays well, they take advantage of it and you lose.”

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Selection Sunday takes place on March 17, and the first round of the NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament begins on March 21.

The Final Four is set for April 6 at State Farm Stadium in Arizona, with the championship game slated for April 8.

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