Madness Awaits...

This is blasphemy. This is madness.... No. This is SPARTA!

We enter Championship Week and the Conference Tournaments and I'm giddy with excitement. March Madness is right around the corner, sports craziest time of year.

Before we get there though, we've got huge West Coast matchups ahead. Starting first, with the WCC and the West Coast Tournament. Much of this 2012 tourney has been played, all that's left is to decide the title. An emerging West Coast power, the Saint Mary's program takes on an always tough, no longer a Cinderella school in Gonzaga. March 5th is the date. This is becoming a solid rivalry.

In the Mountain West Conference there's 3 teams I'm paying close attention to. They are San Diego State, UNLV and New Mexico. SDSU and UNLV are the better teams, but New Mexico has beaten both of them.

In a very down Pac-12 year, the conference has the usual performers ready to dance. Washington, Oregon, Cal and Arizona should all get in, but a run in the conference tourney by Colorado or UCLA could make things interesting. Expect a big time sleeper to come out of the Pac-12 and make noise in the NCAA Tournament, like a Colorado.

In the Big West, the Long Beach State 49ers, aka Dirtbags, are known for baseball, evidenced by their nickname. This year, lead by Casper "Gomez" Ware, they are armed and dangerous on the court. Big West gets big style points for the most creative school nicknames. Clearly LBState, the Gauchos of UC Santa Barbara and Anteaters of UC Irvine lead the way.

The WAC, Western Athletic Conference, has 2 very good teams with a third sneaky pick. The top 2 are Nevada 25-5 and New Mexico State 23-9. The third, if they get into the dance look out, is the Utah State Aggies. The Aggies punched their ticket the last 3 years and took top seeds to the final seconds of the first round, only to lose. They have the experience. Don't rule it out.

There is still a lot to be decided, but one thing is for certain. It will be Madness.