It seems that every year in the NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament, the results get crazier and crazier.
For example, this year, the Dayton Flyers beat not only Ohio State, a perennial basketball powerhouse, but also Stanford and then Syracuse, another elite program. However, the Flyers came into the tourney as a No. 11 seed.
Honestly, the seedings for the field of 68 should just be eliminated. So many mid-major schools nowadays are competing with the major universities and actually winning. For example, in this year’s edition of March Madness, No. 14 seed Mercer beat No. 3 seed Duke. North Dakota State had a No. 16 seed and beat No. 5 seed Oklahoma. See a trend?
Heading into the Final Four, almost all top-seeded teams are out this year, including Iowa State, Wichita State, Kansas, Syracuse, Duke, Ohio State, Villanova, and so on. Once the field of 64 is selected, the selection committee should draw two teams at random out of a hat, pair them together until all the teams are matched up, and let the tournament play on from there. I think what you will find is that more and smaller schools are going to win a national championship.
Let’s look at a team that didn’t make it into the tournament this year – the Wisconsin-Green Bay Phoenix. According to Joseph Zucker, a featured columnist for Bleacher Report, “The Phoenix beat Virginia at home earlier in the season and more than held their own against Wisconsin, losing by three points. Beating Conference USA tournament champion Tulsa also looks good on Green Bay’s resume.”
Now, those games were against tough opponents. Virginia was a No. 1 seed in the tournament this year, Wisconsin was a No. 2 seed, and although Tulsa was only a No. 13 seed, they still won the Conference USA tournament. So, this just goes to prove that the NCAA is not just a David vs. Goliath world anymore, it is more like a Goliath vs. Goliath universe.
This is a recurring thing. In 2012, No. 12 seed Virginia Commonwealth beat No. 5 seed Wichita State. No. 15 seed Lehigh beat No. 2 seed Duke. No. 15 seed Norfolk State beat No. 2 seed Missouri, which most Mizzou fans would prefer to forget. No. 13 seed Ohio beat No. 4 seed Michigan. Lastly, No. 12 seed South Florida beat No.5 seed Temple. If it is not yet clear, it soon will be. Lots of double-digit seeds are beating single-digit seeds.
Let’s also take a look at the 2013 March Madness upsets. In 2013, No. 12 seed Oregon beat No. 5 seed Oklahoma State. No. 12 seed Mississippi beat No. 5 seed Wisconsin. No. 14 seed Harvard beat No. 3 seed New Mexico. No. 12 seed California beat No. 5 seed UNLV. No. 15 seed Florida Gulf Coast beat No. 2 seed Georgetown. The pattern has continued for many years, and I don’t think it will stop.What I see happening is more 12, 13, or even 14 or lower seeded teams winning more and more, and even winning a national championship.
In the end, you still have to win six games in a row to win the national championship. Teams have a 1-in-68 chance at doing this, so what does it matter what seeding a team has? A national championship team has to beat everyone anyway, so why not beat all the good teams first? With the random game selections, the tournament will not be as controversial as it is with the seedings, and that will provide better tournament results.