American sports provides no greater roller coaster ride than the men's NCAA basketball tournament.
Now that 68 has been chopped to 16, here is who is up and who is down:
UP: John Calipari. Kentucky won its first two NCAA Tournament games comfortably yet the unbeaten Wildcats received less than glowing reviews from some in the national media.
That should be right in Calipari's motivational wheelhouse as the Cats proceed to Thursday's Midwest Region semifinals meeting with West Virginia. I'll be stunned if the Cats don't bring their 'A game' to Cleveland.
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DOWN: Indiana Hoosiers fans. IU's one-and-done tourney appearance (lost to Wichita State) did nothing to cool the heat building beneath Tom Crean's coaching seat.
If you want to understand how far the Indiana basketball program has fallen behind its historic peer group, consider this:
In the 21st Century, Kansas is 39-15 in NCAA Tournament games, Michigan State 38-14, North Carolina 36-10, Duke 36-13, Kentucky 34-12 and Louisville 26-11.
Indiana is 12-10.
In fact, IU has the third best NCAA tourney record in its own state in the 2000s behind Butler (18-10) and Purdue (12-9). (Notre Dame is 8-9).
UP: ACC. It's not just that the Atlantic Coast Conference went 11-1 on the tourney's first weekend. Nor that it has five teams — Duke, Louisville, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Notre Dame — in the round of 16.
According to Darren Rovell, an ESPN sports business writer, the league will reap a $28 million bounty from its Big Dance success through the Byzantine process the NCAA uses to distribute tournament shares.
DOWN: SEC. Is anyone surprised that Kentucky was the only one of the five SEC teams in the tourney to make the second week?
UP: Ron Hunter. So it took falling off a rolling stool after his son hit the three-point shot that beat Baylor to make the Georgia State head coach — who was on the stool because he had ruptured his Achilles tendon celebrating after winning the Sun Belt Conference Tournament — the face of the first weekend of the Big Dance.
When you are head coach at Georgia State, you take your notoriety where you find it.
DOWN: Jay Wright. Since leading Villanova to the 2009 Final Four, Wright's Wildcats are 2-4 in NCAA Tournament games and have not advanced past the first weekend.
UP: Wayne Blackshear. The much-maligned Louisville senior is re-writing the narrative of his college career in his final NCAA tourney. In U of L's 57-55 victory over California-Irvine in the round of 64, the burly 6-foot-5 forward delivered five clutch points down the stretch and 19 points overall.
With Louisville clinging to a six-point lead late in its round of 32 meeting with Northern Iowa, Blackshear blocked an attempted dunk by Wesley Washpun to blunt a Panthers rally.
Given the amount of heat Blackshear has taken for not living up to his recruiting hype, it's easy to feel good for his emerging happy ending.
DOWN: Big 12. All season, the Big 12 was perceived to be, top to bottom, the best conference in men's college hoops. When it mattered, however, the league went bust — 5-5 in the NCAAs.
Big 12 Tournament champ Iowa State was stunned by No. 14 seed UAB. The other big round of 64 upset, No. 14 Georgia State over Baylor, also came a the expense of the Big 12. League regular-season champion Kansas was bounced in the round of 32.
In the round of 16, the Big 12 is represented only by the unlikely duo of Oklahoma and West Virginia.
UP: Gregg Marshall. In what passed for a Kansas version of the original Dream Game, Marshall and Wichita State hung a 78-65 beating on Kansas — the same Kansas that refuses to play the Shockers in the regular season.
Over the past three seasons, has there been a more impressive coaching job than the one turned in by Marshall?
In 2013, he took Wichita State to the Final Four. Last year, the Shockers started the season 35-0. This season, Marshall has Wichita State (30-4) back in the sweet 16 and has given his fan base a victory over the one team it most craves to beat.
DOWN: Johnny Jones. The LSU head man gets little respect as a bench strategist. His team blowing a 16-point second half lead to lose to North Carolina State does not help that.
On to week two.