Steve McGrain, Sports Writer
The idea of an upset should be thrown out the window when discussing March Madness.
If the top-ranked men’s Kentucky Wildcats were defeated in the first round by a 16-seed from a small college, it should not be considered an upset. The underdog was just making the most of their opportunity and wanted to win more.
March Madness is a 68-team single-elimination tournament for Division I men’s and women’s basketball. The event occurs over the span of six weekends. All 68 teams are broken up into four different regions: west, Midwest, south and east.
It begins with the First and Second Round, then Sweet Sixteen, Elite 8 and at the conclusion of the tournament is the Final Four. Ultimately, the two best teams in the tournament play for the National Championship.
At this point, the Cinderella aspect of March Madness needs to be forgotten. The universities who have been given this title in previous years cannot be labeled with this character’s forename anymore because they are invited to the dance every year.
Mid-major teams are considered any school not associated with the five main conferences: Big 12, Pacific-12, Big Ten, Southeastern Conference (SEC) and Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). Any team not involved with these conferences has less of a chance to win the National Championship.
Gonzaga is not part of any of those conferences but has been in the tournament on a consistent basis ever since Dan Dickau transferred from the University of Washington in 2001.
Similarly, the Butler University Bulldogs were described as a “sleeper team,” but this does not make any sense considering they were ranked 11th in the country. The entire season, they went unnoticed by most people because of their conference, the Horizon League, has no big name schools.
Was it because their roster was not full of household names? Gordon Hayward, Shelvin Mack and Matt Howard were well known in their region.
This Bulldog team ended up making it to the National Championship where they fell to Duke University.
Furthermore, if this Cinderella dance session for Butler was just a one-time occurrence, then they should not have made it in the following year (2011), but they did, losing in the National Championship game to Connecticut in 2013. Butler is projected at a #6 seed for this year’s tournament.
College basketball fans are filling out numerous brackets. When inking in what team should win it all, look at the body of work by these schools throughout the year, the experience, how they play and then make your choice.
Do not choose by color of their uniforms, mascot, mascot’s name, flipping a coin or what your pets’ name is, but by actually doing the homework on each team.
Then, like everyone else, you’ll realize there are no Cinderellas, just elite basketball teams playing for a National Championship. 🅼