Saturday, March 31, 2012

March Madness: Upsets

    A few weeks ago in class we had some mini debates about NCAA basketballs March Madness. We talked about many different topics that relate to the tournament; from a basketball and cultural aspect. I found many of the debates were very interesting and everyone in class did a good job coming up with great arguments. One debate topic that really interests me is whether or not the NCAA tourney is the best way to pick a champion. Some complained that it is new easy with the current tournament set-up for a good team to get upset and that it should possibly be changed to a series set-up where a team has to win two out of three or three out of five games to advance. The opposition for this debate had a good debate about why the system is good the way it is, but I would like to make my own since it is a subject that very much interests me. 
    Some people were upset this year when there were some major upsets in the first round of the NCAA tournament; most notably 15 seed Norfolk State defeating Missouri and 15 seed Lehigh beating Duke. I for one do not understand how someone could be upset with such entertaining events. What else could someone ask for in such a great tournament. We all got to see two huge underdogs win in the national spotlight. This was probably the first time both of the teams had played on National TV all year and they got to show what they were made of.
     The tournament gives teams like these a great opportunity to show off all their hard work from the season. It also puts the Madness in March Madness. These are the stories everyone will remember. When looking back on this years tournament a few years from now nobody will remember the 15 seeds that Ohio St and Kansas defeated in the first round. However almost all college basketball fans will remember Lehigh and Norfolk State. Much like people remember Northern Iowas sweet 16 run in 2010 as a 9 seed. Or George Masons final four run as an 11 seed in 2006. These memorable moments are what give us great stories and images like this...
    Its these images that we all love to see. This is Kyle O Quinn shortly after Norfolk State beat Missouri. Who cant love a reaction like this? Anyway fans love these stories and this is what makes the NCAA tourney special, guys playing on a stage they have only dreamed about playing on and beating Goliath. Even if there are major upsets the best team always comes through and wins the tournament in the long run. If you still think this is not the right set-up to crown a champion because of the chance of upset well I think we can both agree its still way better than the BCS....


  1. I completely agree with you on the whole BCS ordeal and the fact that the NCAA Tournament is the best way to determine a champion. Another reason I think that tournament is so great is how many aspects of a team's game that it challenges,
    the mental aspect of always having to be prepared for a low seed to come out and shock,
    the stamina to be able to play 2 games in 3 days,
    and just the overall ability to go out and win games
    To have teams play a best of 3 series would be a poor decision, because I feel a lot of people forget that these kids playing in the tournament are college students too, and to ask them to double the amount of games they play towards the end of the year on top of their schoolwork is just Machiavellian.
    Overall the current system may not be perfect but it's the best I can think of.
    Michael Scheible

  2. I completely agree with everything this post is talking about. I think that upsets are what make the tournament the most watched basketball tournament in the country. Every year people gather around their TV's and watch as teams they have never heard of (like Norfolk St. and Lehigh) upset powerhouses (like Missouri and Duke). Someone who says that the NCAA tournament is not a good determiner of a national championship is basically saying that they disagree with playoffs in general. The fact is, upsets are a part of sports, and nothing will ever stop them from happening. So I say, start appreciating the hard work of the athletes on these underdog teams, instead of just rooting for the powerhouses that we are all so used to seeing year after year.

  3. I completely agree with Sam's comment that upsets are what keep things interesting, yet it is a shame when a team that should move far in a tournament gets knocked out so quickly and unexpectedly. While I agree with playoffs and teams getting the chance to move up in rankings towards the championship, it is games where one of the lowest seeds defeats one of the highest seeds that gets to you. However, I also look at it as equal opportunity. Sometimes, teams have a bad night and that is unfortunate. But, it is not unfortunate for a big upset when the underdog was not looked at as real competition. It is so cliche for teams with all bets in their favor to stop working hard because they believe it will be easy. While the higher ranked team hangs around, the underdogs are working vigorously to rise to the challenge. I remember my senior year of high school, my soccer team made the playoffs. We weren't ranked extremely high and so we were set to play the number 2 seed. Everyone laughed off the game saying it was a joke and we had no chance. They were all wrong. Those last few practices before the game were the hardest I have ever experienced. We went out against one of the top teams and beat them. They played well but maybe if they had practiced harder as opposed to laughing off the game as an easy win they might have won. This is something all teams should think about. Teams should never think "it's in the bag" because you never know what the other team is doing.