What’s better … the post-season for college football (bowl games) or that of college basketball (bracketed tournament play)?
I love both and spend my time enjoying the games rather than complaining about the systems.
One of the arguments made by those who prefer the bracket format is that the tournament determines the “best team” on the court. No computer rankings to pick the national title game contestants like football.
That argument never resonated with me. First, computers do have a role in helping assemble the basketball field. Secondly, the “best team” is in the eyes of the beholder. The champion is the winner of the tournament, but it isn’t always the best team.
Butler, UConn, VCU or Kentucky will be crowned 2011 national men’s basketball champion in a week. It’s doubtful that team is going to be recognized as the “best team”.
Everyone remembers NC State (upsetting Houston’s “Phi Slamma Jamma” in 1983) and Duke (beating undefeated UNLV in 1991) overcoming the odds to win national championships. Today, those champions aren’t considered to be better than Olajuwon’s crew at UH or Larry Johnson’s UNLV team.
You likely have a personal preference for post-season format. Both provide good theatre for sports fans and isn’t that the bottom line?
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Random thoughts on several weeks of great hoops entertainment.
Apparently, winning a league regular-season championship isn’t a key indicator of Final Four potential. Yes, Butler did tie for the Horizon League title with two other schools. But, VCU placed third in the Colonial, Kentucky had the fourth-best record in the SEC and UConn tied for ninth in the Big East. Good regular-season marks generally lead to good seeds. But, the 2011 tournament showed that tourney seeds are great on Selection Sunday and useless, thereafter.
The criticism about VCU’s inclusion in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament field was overwhelming. I joined that chorus because it was hard to accept Colorado’s snub. It would appear that the Rams used the criticism pretty effectively in winning FIVE games – including its "First Four" game – to make the "Final Four". Colorado made the final four as well, but it was in the NIT.
Connecticut played in a BCS bowl game last fall, advanced to the Men’s Basketball Final Four last weekend and awaits Tuesday’s women’s basketball game and another possible Final Four berth. An amazing performance by the Huskies. Kemba Walker, Maya Moore and Big East football MVP Jordan Todman got many of the headlines this year. The trio reminds me of Oklahoma’s Blake Griffin, Courtney Paris and Sam Bradford in 2008-09.
ESPN.com’s NCAA Tournament bracket game generated more than 5.9 million entries this year. That is more people than live in Denmark and Finland. The percentage of people who predicted the Final Four schools are as follows: Kentucky (3.3%), UConn (9.3%), Butler (0.2%) and VCU (0%). That unpredictability is what creates the buzz every spring.
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