Since 1995 - Insightful commentary on the Georgia Bulldogs

Post Lesson: pick the favorites

Monday March 23, 2009

It was a football-related observation, but it holds true that the underdogs are usually underdogs for a good reason. The opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament is about the upsets and thrilling finishes for a lot of people, but in the end only Arizona (12 seed) and Purdue (5 seed) are the only Sweet 16 participants who weren’t seeded to advance this far. And it’s not as if Arizona or Purdue are exactly strangers to postseason basketball.

Dan Shanoff thinks this is “terrible for the NCAA Tournament,” but he’s wrong. It’s true that a lot of people watch the opening weekend for the unpredictability of it, but after that first weekend those teams that pull the upsets usually make for some pretty bad basketball.

We got the best of both world this year. There were plenty of close games and exciting finishes. But now we’re left with many strong teams and quality matchups. You’d rather see Memphis play Marquette instead of Missouri? Or UNC play Western Kentucky instead of Gonzaga? Fine…do it in November.

The tournament is about many things, but in the end it’s a mechanism for producing a national champion. To that end, I’d much rather see Villanova-Duke and Kansas-Michigan State at this stage instead of Dayton-USC. Novelty time is over, and the teams that don’t belong in the national title discussion have had their One Shining Moment and can claim to have been part of the process. The lack of a George Mason doesn’t mean that we lack reasons to tune in.

Comments are closed.