The madness hasn’t ceased since the start of the NCAA tournament last Thursday and shows no signs of stopping. Brackets have been thrashed and destroyed as the underdogs and upsets keep on coming. The biggest surprises of the tournament so far have been schools like Duke and Wichita State getting knocked out so soon. These schools did really well in the regular season and even won their conference titles, but didn’t have quite what it took to hold on during March Madness….which got me thinking. What does it matter to have a successful regular season if you can’t produce in the tournament?
This is not to discredit the team’s regular season records. After all, Wichita State’s undefeated season is impressive no matter what conference you’re in. And, I’m sure Coach K doesn’t mind having another ACC title under his belt. But with all that in mind, I’d be willing to bet they’d take a loss or two if that meant they would be able to get to the NCAA championship game.
The interesting thing is that there are schools like Baylor, who were 2-8 to start Big 12 play, that are now on their way to the Sweet 16. The Bears had a rough start, but somewhere along the way, put the jets in gear and not only made the Big 12 Championship and NCAA tournament, but avoided early elimination. So what can we make of a school with a last-minute burst of energy outlasted a school with a winning regular season record? Of course, it’s always nice to win games, but maybe there’s too much of an emphasis put on a team’s performance too early. This happens in the NBA as well (refer to the Pacers’ and Warriors’ seasons thus far). A team does well to start, but fall short in the postseason. Then, the team few people paid attention to suddenly gets it together and makes a deep run. What’s up with that?!
I’m not saying the regular season isn’t important because it is. Florida won the SEC championship and is headed to the Sweet 16, along with other top-performing schools like Louisville, Arizona and Virginia. My point is that it’s important to look at the talent of the players and the strength of the team’s schedule over a team’s record before saying whether the team is good or bad. Not always does the record say everything one needs to know about a team. Sometimes it takes a deeper look to see what a team is really about.
We’ll be seeing what the remaining 16 teams are about when the Sweet 16 begins Thursday. And to those of you with an in-tact bracket: may the college basketball odds be ever in your favor.
For all things March Madness, visit http://www.ncaa.com/march-madness.
- http://www.sbnation.com/college-basketball/2014/3/23/5540004/wichita-state-kentucky-score-ncaa-tournament-2014-results (SB Nation)
- http://www.cbsnews.com/news/ncaa-march-madness-lots-of-favorites-in-sweet-16/ (CBS Sports)
- http://www.boston.com/sports/colleges/mens-basketball/2014/03/21/another-early-exit-for-mike-krzyzewski-and-duke/Jd99I9dH6Mukig1PJ51ZFI/story.html (Boston.com)