Monday, March 23, 2009

Monday 03/23 A.M. Quickie:
The NCAA Tournament Is Broken

The NCAA Tournament is broken. Not irredeemably broken, but broken. It leads today's SN column, and here's a graphical representation of why:

East: 1-2-3-4.
South: 1-2-3-4.
West: 1-2-3-5.
Midwest: 1-2-3-12.

What's wrong with this picture? Oh, that's right: NO MADNESS. No Cinderellas. No unexpected participants (Arizona doesn't really count).

The worst thing that could happen to the NCAA Tournament has happened: Predictability.

Please note: This doesn't have to do with the fact that my bracket imploded over the weekend, and I'm hovering in the 50th percentile (along with Barack Obama).

Or that if I had followed the National Bracket or the "Pick-The-Higher-Seed" non-strategy, I would be in the 80th percentile.

The bracket-picking is fun, but every year, I find myself rooting for the upsets, even if they bust my bracket. Would you rather be right or entertained?

This year -- though the games are compelling -- we are less entertained than ever. All I ask for is a couple of unexpected teams crashing the Sweet 16. This year, that didn't happen.

More you'll find in today's column:
*Top 3 most shocking women's Tournament result ever.
*Team USA, predictably, ousted in the WBC.
*The Rockets could spoil the NBA playoffs.
*Matt Stafford scored a 38 on the Wonderlic?

Complete column here. More later.

-- D.S.


Brett said...

So the NCAA tournament is "broken" because chalk prevailed for one weekend out of a 20+ year history? It was bound to happen once. It's bound to happen that all 1 seed make the final four. It's bound to happen that a 16 seed beats a 1 seed.

I don't think you can say the tournament is broken based on one year of chalky results.

Unknown said...

The tournament is broken? C'mon Dan, leaving out a pretty lackluster thursday set of games, this tournament has provided some exciting moments and a bunch of entertaining and hard fought games. And the lack of major upsets makes for a lot of intriguing and evenly matched games for this weekend.
That's the dirty little secret about upsets in the first weekend, they usually make the sweet sixteen/elite eight games a bore.

But we have such games like Syracuse/Oklahoma, UNC/Zags, Duke/Nova, Memphis/Mizzou, Kansas/Michigan St...those are must see games across the board. I am pissed that the tourney has been chalk city so far(in terms of my bracket) but i've been happy with the decent number of tight/exciting games we've had to this point, and with the excellent matchups this weekend, i see no letup.

Trenchman003 said...

What has destroyed the odds of the would-be Cinderella is the very thing that was designed to breathe some life into the 1st and 2nd round--the pod system.
I was at the games in the Portland, OR pod. Great crowd. Electric atmosphere. Couldn't ask for a better first time host (and fan) experience. But what carried Gonzaga past WKU and brought UW within a bucket of Purdue at game's end (when they didn't play well enough to belong within a dozen points) was the home-court advantage that the two Washington state schools enjoyed by playing just down I-5. The crowd had maybe 400-500 supporters of the Boilermakers and Hilltoppers; the rest were in Zags Blue and Husky Purple.
That same home-court advantage carried Duke past Texas, Dayton over WVU, Villanova past American, and Michigan St over USC.
It's a tough problem--Philosophically I agree with rewarding top seeds with a shorter flight time. But in the quest to put a few more butts in the seats (and aside from Portland who had never hosted before, I saw a *lot* of good seats available), the NCAA threatens to take the madness out of March.