It hasn’t even been 48 hours, and the dust has settled. What’s left is not a pretty picture.
Michigan State to win it all? Gone after 40 minutes of basketball. West Virginia and Purdue to be “Always reppin'” in the Elite Eight? They’ll be watching from their couches. So what went wrong (for me)?
Some lessons have been learned, undoubtedly. They’ve actually been learned in years past, just never applied.
One of my biggest takeaways (yet again) is that seeding means nothing. It’s based on a falsehood that doesn’t accurately reflect teams’ ability or experience. Records are distorted because smaller schools play smaller competition and, thus, are not as battle-tested. Teams coming in with baggage are often weighed down by that.
Take Syracuse, for example. Head coach Jim Boeheim was suspended for nine games on the heels of a self-imposed postseason ban in 2015. The Orange went 19-13 and were supposed to fold against Dayton in the opening round; if not then, it would be a quick exit against Michigan State in round two.
Instead, the Orange will be facing the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders, favored to advance to the Sweet 16. A team that is a staple in the NCAA Tournament is making yet another run, even though they are disguised as a “No. 10 seed.” And not far down the road, the “No. 9 seed” UConn Huskies are in the Round of 32, after rallying to beat Colorado on Thursday. No surprise there.
It’s a one-and-done scenario, meaning one bad day spells the end of your season and millions of brackets. There will be a Cinderella story, we just don’t know which one. There are simply too many to choose from. It doesn’t even have to be a low seed, maybe just a team that is thought of as a second-tier squad in comparison to the big dogs like Kansas, UNC, Duke, and Kentucky.
My bracket is done. I’m sure yours isn’t far behind. Still, in fits of rage and torn up sheets of paper, there is the fun of seeing how it all plays out. March Madness isn’t all that crazy. It’s just maddening.