No Cinderella? NCAA Tourney

I can’t believe this NCAA bracket!

Okay, a couple years ago, George Mason went to the Final Four. Huge upsets all around. I developed a theory:

  1. The big boys like Kansas, North Carolina, or UConn rarely had seniors on their teams. So many stars went early to the NBA, including some after freshman year. In the past, these stars would make those powerhouses dominant, as teams would build around those experienced juniors and seniors. But, nowadays, the teams had to fill roster spots quickly with all the early departures.

  2. Meanwhile, schools like George Mason rarely got NBA caliber talent. Instead, the senior leaders would stick around and build leadership. As the 2004 Olympics showed, teamwork and discipline by the European and Latin American teams could beat the hip-hop showboat NBA stars. So, without Kentucky’s or UCLA’s megastars (who’ve already left for the NBA), the team work of the smaller schools would trump the talented, but inexperienced big boys.

  3. Ergo, get ready for lots more Cinderellas getting past the Sweet 16.

So, what happens last year? All #1 seeds in the Final Four

This year? Nearly all the Sweet 16 are 4 seeds and above. The only low seed is Arizona, which regardless of seeding, does not fit the Cinderella mold.

You may have some points there - having some senior leadership appears very helpful to an upset-minded small school. There were also fewer potential Cinderellas this year. There are always low seeds, but there were only four at-large teams that weren’t from major conferences, and even those teams (Gonzaga, Xavier) were pretty well known. So there was less chance of a little-known team making a big run. There were some very good finishes over the weekend, but I found the lack of upsets disappointing.

Argentina won gold with 6 NBA players and 2 marginal former NBA players. Please define hip-hop showboat.

It proved that the USA can’t win the Olympics any longer just by tossing together a mismatched All-Star team at the last minute, nothing more.

When fans complained about “hip hop showboat” players in 2004, Allen Aiverson was usually the guy they had in mind. But say what you will about Iverson…

  1. He agreed to play for his country when a LOT of NBA sars wouldn’t.
  2. He showed up, when several guys backed out of their commitments.
  3. He played hard and he played hurt.

We saw in 2008 that, when the NBA’s best American players (hip hop showboaters or otherwise) show up and put in the time to coalesce as a team, they can still beat anyone in the world.

I often hear about college basketball parity. It is a sham. Last years NCAA had 4 no.1s at the end. This year may come close . Even though you can upset a big time team during season doldrums , when it gets important the big teams come to the top.

I love the Cinderella story as much as the next person. But unless you’re a total anti-establishment radical…

…how can Thu/Fri matchups not excite you? There are some seriously fantastic matchups there.

My best case scenario would be one true Cinderalla (Arizona does not count) in the Sweet 16. But barring that, how can anyone complain about the contests later this week?

I made too much of the fact that George Mason had that impossible run. I tried to draw parallels with the 2004 NBA stars getting upset.

I just found it remarkable past two tournaments have destroyed my little parity theory in the OP. To have last year, where all 4 #1 made the Final Four. And now this year, where all the top 4 seeds pretty much advanced. No Valpos or Chattanoogas or College of Charlestons in the bunch.

It like the NCAA hoops went out of their way the past 2 years to disprove my theory.