Monday, March 31, 2008

Monday 03/31 A.M. Quickie:
Final Four, MLB Openers, Zany NBA, More!

So my position that the first-ever all-1-seed Final Four ruins the Final Four has provoked a bunch of very good comments, found in the post below.

(UPDATE: Commenters continue to make very strong points on this.)

We can agree to disagree -- and many of you make good points -- but I think it is one of the better arguments we will see this year:

Is an uber-predictable Final Four made up of all the teams that were expected to make it -- for the first time in Tournament history -- a good thing... or a bad thing?

I argue in the lead of today's Sporting News column that I think it is a bad thing.

Not that any of the teams themselves are inherently bad, but simply that if nothing else, the NCAA Tournament's appeal is in its unpredictability -- and this outcome is entirely predictable.

(UPDATE: As some Commenters have pointed out, the more "predictable" outcome would have been all four 1-seeds NOT making the Final Four. Great point.)

Longtime readers know that I appreciate and honor the concept of "novelty" (or, its sibling, "superlative") more than any other quality in sports. It is the lens I view sports through.

So please know that the novelty of this being the first time all four No. 1 seeds have reached the Final Four appeals to my deep appreciation of novelty.

Something just strikes me wrong about it.

I don't feel this way about the NFL or MLB or the NBA or college football or even the women's NCAA Tournament (for which I argue in the column that an all 1-vs-2 Elite Eight is a VERY good thing for women's hoops).

The NCAA Tournament is my favorite sports event of the year. The NCAA Tournament, for me, is defined much in part for rejection of any sense of "inevitable" success for the favorites.

So please allow me at least a 24-hour period to have an allergic reaction to the shattering of that definition. It had to happen at some point, I guess. But I don't think it's a good thing.

More from today's Sporting News column: MLB Opening Night was a huge success for MLB and the Nats and Nationals Park and Ryan Zimmerman... MLB Opening Day is filled with ace-heavy storylines... the NBA West is must-track on a daily basis... Isiah Thomas to Indiana University?... and more... after the jump!

Unrelated: I participated in my first-ever fantasy baseball "auction" draft on Friday afternoon, and I think it will be hard for me to go back to straight snake-drafts. It was a ton of fun -- even if my lack of experience led me to some atrocious choices early, middle and late. (I did, however, spend more than Average Auction Value for Ryan Zimmerman... for one morning, at least, I feel like I did something right.)

-- D.S.


jhawkjjm said...

What about this: Florida, Georgetown, UCLA, and Ohio State. That's last years final four and is two #1s and two #2s. The only "upsets" were both #1 v #2s in the elite 8. (UCLA over KU - in CA and UNC over Georgetown when Carolina fell apart the last 8 minutes.) The only "surprise" of last year was UNC choking away the final four and Georgetown making it in. Would yo be saying the same thing you are now? Or would it not matter because Florida was there.

Or how about this: last year the elite 8 match-ups were 3 1vs2's and 1 1vs3. This year there was a 1v10.

I'd argue that last year was WORSE than this year. The easy pick at the beginning of the tourny and especially the final four was Florida to repeat. Is there a clear cut choice this year?

McNater said...

Your logic is messed up. How is this predictable when it is the FIRST TIME IT HAS EVER HAPPENED? You have it backwards. It's very UN-predictable in the fact that its never happened before. If it was so predictable, then more basketball minds wouldn't always be harping the fact that "4 No. 1 seeds have never made the Final Four", and everyone would have had all 4 No. 1's in.

I'm not saying I like it, but that I disagree with you. Four No. 1's is unpredictable.

John said...

How can you be so disappointed at having all of the top seeds make it, when its never happened before? This scenario is a bigger fluke then having one or two unexpected teams make the Final Four. As much as I'd like to have seen Davidson in the mix, I like the idea of seeing the four best teams battle it out for the championship.