So, once again we have "March Madness." Most people think that this has something to do with the tournament games. But in fact, it has to do with choosing the teams, then seeing how politically savvy teams can be in getting themselves worked into the best possible way to play through a field.
The fakery here is why we can call this truly madness. But the ones who are truly mad? The ones who believe that this is done with every bit of propriety and kindness for all.
There are so many examples of clearly improperly ranked 15th seeds that it is no longer funny. The major conferences are better, but not so noticeably that you can't tell who is zooming whom.
Yes, the small conferences get the shaft. Just look at football to see what a joke the alleged "athletes" make to the mix. More coaching than athletes.
But you say that this is not the situation with major conferences in basketball. And you justify this by talking about how good a given conference is "top to bottom."
Ok. Let's see.
What about that very BIG EAST? Yes, their media centers deserve that huge lettering. For what is absolutely clear is that any conference that can be conquered by Louisville is nowhere as close as you thought to great.
But competitive it is. The real question is why odds makers have the BIG EAST so far down, especially CONNECTICUT, where its head coach can say that he needs his millions every year so he can retire. I wonder who is going to be playing that tape when recruits come calling. Imagine, paid by the state $1.5 million, leaving aside his wealth from other sources. Calhoun is certainly a pathetic reminder that some college coaches are not very proper after all. Or at least, they are Republican to the core.
Then you have the wonder of Pittsburgh, the one school that might break through come tournament time.
But the problem with these BIG EAST teams is that they cannot score more than 70 points or so against their "I crush you, you crush me" zone defenses. What will happen when they get shredded by the first team that can shoot threes, like the occasionally hot streaking Villanova and Providence? The answer? BIG EAST goes largely wanting again.
Sure, you can see that some of the seeds will undoubtedly go their way. Forget their generally ridiculously soft out of conference schedules. Ever looked at Connecticut's schedule?
Because when you get that great East Coast media blitz going, the BIG EAST is very BIG indeed. After all, most of those Catholic schools were absolutely incensed by the horrible ACC, which stole one Catholic school (Boston College) and others from the league formerly known as the BIG EAST. And that means that we have to get the ACC down and the BIG EAST up in bold and all caps.
In the end, this could all result in nothing much. The BIG EAST, deemed worthy by those EAST COAST media outlets to have at least NINE teams in the tournament, will get their share of "GREAT TEAMS" who play in the BEST CONFERENCE." Their numbers almost guarantee that some will emerge in the Final Eight.
The BIG EAST will be joined by that GREAT CONFERENCE the BIG TEN who are not so bad after all, especially given the inclination of the other HUGE MEDIA in Chicago and Milwaukee and Minneapolis and Cleveland and Indianapolis to beat their drums for the BIG TEN.
So how many teams from the ACC will end up in the tournament? Who will end up way out West, from which two of the five best North Carolina teams have won NCAA Championships?
Just where will the ACC have to play, given the ways in which the other conferences beat against their odds every March? I do not have to look at where the regionals are playing, much less the other games. Just remember. The Finals are in Detroit. This is BIG TEN country. Where the BIG EAST can also pile their teams in the door. Just think about Michigan, Michigan State, Indiana, Ohio State, Indiana, Louisville, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, De Paul, and so many other teams six hours or less drive from Detroit.
Sure, this should not matter. After all, the ACC plays in largely hostile environments whenever on the road. And the Pac10 and so many other conferences have trouble getting fans on the road.
But remember what we started with. The small conferences are the ones really getting screwed. When you step into the niceties of seeding the bigger conferences, you have leeway. Well, the BIG EAST is the best. Well, the ACC does not deserve seven teams.
But when you consider the way the BIG EAST has played all year, with most teams unable to score more than 70 points you wonder. Is it possible that there will be no BIG EAST teams in Detroit?
We will see.