Are there too many Cinderellas?
We love the NCAA Tournament because of all the chaos it creates.
We love to try to pick the winners and revel when the underdogs rule the day.
But did anyone see this coming?
After the first weekend of action, there are no perfect brackets, so those people who sponsor them and promise huge cash prizes for anyone smart enough to predict a perfect tournament, get to keep their money.
We, on the other hand, were treated to perhaps the best opening weekend in NCAA Tournament history.
Not only did a No. 16 seed beat a No. 1 seed for the first time in tournament history, but the top four seeds in the South Regional were all knocked out, which is also a record.
It was not just the Retrievers of the University of Maryland Baltimore County, which sounds more like a community college than a Division 1 school, knocking out Virginia, which was picked by more than 99 percent of the brackets that were filled out at CBS Sports, but the likes of the Mid-American Conference’s Buffalo defeating another tournament favorite in Arizona.
It was Marshall, yes, the school which lost its football team in a tragic plane crash in the 1970s, beating another No. 4 seed in Wichita State, and it was Loyola-Chicago with its 98-year-old team chaplain, beating Miami to begin the string of upsets on the opening day of the tournament.
And let us not forget the Butler Bulldogs, who took out Arkansas, although by now is anyone really surprised when Butler upsets a team in the NCAA Tournament?
In listening to the “experts” talk all weekend about what all these upsets mean and how does it affects college basketball, I was shocked that First Take’s Stephen A. Smith said it was bad for the game.
He feels that because the likes of North Carolina, Arizona, Michigan State and Virginia are no longer in the field, it somehow makes the tournament a little less interesting.
Everyone else on the First Take set disagreed and so do I.
The only way Smith has a point is if we get two teams that most of America has no interest in play each other for the championship in San Antonio.
The odds of that happening are pretty slim.
What we are all hoping to get is one of the “blue bloods,” such as a Duke, Kentucky or Kansas making it to the finals to play against the likes of Loyola-Chicago or Florida State.
There are still plenty of recognizable teams left in the field with rich NCAA Tournament histories.
And there are still plenty of underdogs to root for this weekend as the tournament reached the regionals.
Who will be in the Final Four when all is said and done?
I wish I could put a few more underdogs into the last weekend of the season, but this is where the cream rises to the top.
Here are my picks:
Kentucky, Villanova, Texas A&M and Kansas.
Scott Novak is sports editor for Leader Publications. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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