It seems to happen a few times every single year: a team juggernauts its way through the league schedule, only to suffer a stunning upset in the end-of-season league tournament and consequently lose out on an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament in favor of a lesser team.
Why does the college basketball world – particularly the mid-major conferences – feel the need to hand out their Dancing cards in such an unfair manner? All they do is cheapen the value of the regular season by giving lesser teams a second chance at making the NCAA Tournament. Many great seasons have been ruined at the conference tournament level, so why not just scrap them altogether?
Just think of the ways that the game would benefit:
1. Increases the value of the regular season.
It’s the biggest complaint about college basketball: the regular season means nothing. This is because, after a regular season games that includes matchups against every team in the conference, nearly team in the country still has a shot at making the Big Dance as long as they can make it through the end-of-season conference tournament.
Tonight’s showdown between Duke and North Carolina won’t be for the out right ACC regular season title, but it’ll still have a lot of implications for the NCAA tournament as well as the ACC tourney. Duke is looking for a regular season sweep of North Carolina after winning February 13th 73-68. Duke is 4-2 since their last meeting while UNC is riding a six-game winning streak.
Roy Williams has his UNC squad peaking at just the right time, as they have assured themselves a spot in March Madness, racking up six straight wins after losing to Duke earlier this year. They have only beaten one top 25 ranked team (UNLV) this year, but have been competitive in all of their eight losses except for a lopsided blowout in Bloomington back in November. The team has slowly learned to play together as the season has dragged on, and they currently are ranked 2nd in the country in assists per game with 17.6.
It’s a crapshoot.
If anything has become clear this college basketball season, it’s that nothing is clear.
With each passing week, just as it seems we finally have everything nailed down, we’re delivered yet another sobering, ice-water-to-the-face reality check.
Yeah, Gonzaga’s rise to the top of the polls Monday sent chilling bolts of disgust through the veins of every red-blooded, front-running, BCS-only proponent in America, but that wasn’t enough apparently. No, even with the Zags taking over as No. 1, everyone knew the best team out there was Indiana. Mid-major maniacs couldn’t argue.
The Hoosiers would be the headliners in the upcoming NCAA Tournament. They’d be given favorite status and favored seeding. Hey, kudos to the Bulldogs, but Indiana deserved it.
NCAA Men’s College Basketball: The Young UCLA Bruin’s 2012-2013 Season Is Up For The Taking: While The Once Young 1972 UCLA Bruins Are Celebrated Champions
The Arizona Wildcats will be coming into the UCLA Bruins’ newly renovated home, Pauley Pavilion, seeking retribution of an earlier season loss to the Bruins at home. This game between the Bruins and the Wildcats is significant with the Oregon Ducks on the ropes in first place at 12-4; a win by either team could forge the way for their team to go on to win the PAC-12 regular season conference title. A win by the Bruins or the Wildcats could be a catalyst game that could provide momentum and the confidence to go on to win the PAC-12 Tournament title helping them gain a higher NCAA tournament seeding are all at state in this game.
With the Catholic 7 poised to break off from the Big East at any moment, and reports surfacing that the group will both take the conference name with it and add a non-Catholic to the mix, it seems as good a time as to toss in my two cents – or an Our Father and Hail Mary – before the proceedings officially commence.
For starters, and enders, adding a non-Catholic such as Butler makes no sense to me. It defeats the whole purpose of Georgetown, Villanova, Marquette, Providence, St. John's, Seton Hall and DePaul leaving the Big East and creating a league of their own. Their main cache – and draw for future fans – is sharing one singular symbolic display of athletic oddity: Catholic schools bucking the norm of large, state-funded schools playing big-time college basketball.
OK, so the final four schools mentioned above haven't exactly been top 25 relevant for close to two decades, but the theory holds ... and they've all played against the big-timers throughout that time.