March Madness is upon us. After the participants were unveiled on Selection Sunday, 68 hopeful basketball teams hope to etch their names in history. That is, unless your school is located in the D.C. Metro Area.
Georgetown University was the only team from Washington to qualify for the NCAA Tournament (American University qualifed for the CIT and will open against Buffalo Wednesday). The third-seeded Hoyas will open play Friday in Columbus, Oh., in the second round of the Midwest Regional against 14th-seeded Belmont University. Coincidentally, it was Belmont that Georgetown defeated in their opening game en route to their last Final Four appearance in 2007, so repeating history would not be a bad thing for the Hoyas.
Other than that, you are going to have to stretch the boundaries of the D.C. Metro Area if you are interested in rooting for local teams.
Starting up north, Baltimore-based Loyola University of Maryland will make its second-ever tournament appearance and first in almost 20 years when it faces the second-seeded Ohio State Buckeyes Thursday in Pittsburgh in the second round of the East Regional. The Greyhounds likely have no chance, but No. 15 seeds have defeated No. 2 seeds four times in tournament history, so there is technically a chance.
Meanwhile, the University of Virginia Cavaliers, ranked No. 10 in the West Regional, will face the seventh-ranked Florida Gators in one of the more intriguing second-round games Friday in Omaha, Ne. The Cavaliers will make their first tournament appearance since 2007 and an upset is not out of the question against the Gators.
Richmond is home to the Virginia Commonwealth Rams, who are just one year removed from a Final Four appearance. The South Regional's No. 12 seed will look to repeat that success starting Thursday when they travel across the country to Portland, Ore., to take on fifth-seeded Wichita State. No. 12's are usually the teams most likely to score an upset, so keep an eye out for that. Plus, it is just fun to say that Rams coach Shaka Smart will face the Shockers.
All the way down in Norfolk, Va., the No. 15 Norfolk State Spartans will make their first-ever tournament appearance against the second-seeded Missouri Tigers in the West Regional Thursday in Omaha Friday. The winner of this game will advance to play the winner of the aforementioned Florida/Virginia game. One small nugget of faith for the Spartans: as said before, only four No. 15 seeds have defeated No. 2 seeds. The last team to do so came from Norfolk State's Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference: the Hampton University Pirates.
If you are a fan of the University of Maryland or George Mason University, never fear. While you may not have made it to the "Big Dance," you did qualify for the "Slighty Smaller Dance (patent pending)": the NIT.
Wait. What? Neither the Terps nor the Patriots earned bids to the NIT? Oh. This is awkward.
Adam Vingan is co-founder and editor of Kings Of Leonsis, a Caps-centric blog, and is the Capitals Editor for SB Nation. Follow him on Twitter @Adam_KOL and e-mail your story ideas to adamvingan (at) gmail.com.