By John Ventola
The NCAA hung the popular moniker on the annual March event, Garth Brooks sings a song so titled. Today The Dance is down to sixteen teams. By tomorrow night it will dwindle to the Elite Eight. Sunday nigh there will only be four teams left to dance in next weekend’s Final Four.
In one of the most unusual basketball tournaments in collegiate history, there have
been athletic, ballet-type moves around the basket, ballroom-type steps by various coaches working their bench areas, some plain old folk dancing by the two remaining No. 1s, and an unusual amount of boogaloo to celebrate last-second, winning shots.
When action started today, 52 participants had been eliminated, and there were as many No. 7, 8, and 9 seeds as No. 1, 2, and 3 seeds still vying for the title. Those six seeded positions have two teams each still in the hunt along with one No. 4 seed and three No. 5 seeds. Two No. 1 seeds, Virginia (South) and Xavier (West) were eliminated during last weekend’s opening action.
People, and so-called sports analysts, often talk about parity in sports. Multiple upsets in the first 52 games, including four play-in tilts, shows this to be true this year. For the first time in NCAA tournament history a No. 16 seed (University of Maryland, Baltimore County) defeated a No. 1 seed (Virginia), the Cavaliers even designated the top seed for the entire tournament.
College basketball, no doubt, has some annual roundball “Blue Bloods”, North Carolina, Duke, Kentucky, Louisville, Connecticut and most recently, Villanova, but the one-and-done rule (where players only play one season of college basketball before turning
professional) has hurt the sport overall. This blogger senses it is hard to mold a winning team when so many freshmen phenoms are not completely focused on titles, but personal achievements, and their draft status.
Sure, Duke won in 2015 with three freshman stars, but the Villanovas and Virginias have athletes that are committed for longer collegiate stints. Even North Carolina, the 2017 champion, had upperclassmen return for its title run after losing in the 2016 final to Villanova, 77-74. Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski put off going the one-and done route as long as possible, but he, UNC’s Roy Williams, and others had to adjust in order to keep up with the chief frosh and done recruiter, Kentucky’s John Calipari. No truth Kentucky is a “farm system team” for the professional New Orleans Pelicans—former Wildcats Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, Rajon Rando, Darius Miller, DeAndre Liggins are all on the Pels current roster.
What has caught my eye thus far? Well, how underdogs have taken the fight to more talented, higher-seeded teams!
UMBC’s unbelievable upset of Virginia, Davidson going toe-to-toe with Kentucky,
Buffalo blowing out Arizona and staying with Kentucky for almost three quarters of its game. Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt, the 98-year-old chaplain of Loyola of Chicago, clicking off her rosary and celebrating with Rambler players after its two last-second victories over Miami and Tennessee. Nevada’s comeback and eventual win over No. 2 seed Cincinnati. Florida State’s elimination of Xavier, Bucknell staying with Michigan State until the end, and giving Syracuse a blueprint to upset the Spartans. The Orangemen of Coach Jim Boeheim have won three tourney games, including the play-in win over Arizona State, TCU, and Michigan State.
What am I looking forward to this weekend? Two of the game’s greatest coaches,
Boeheim and Krzyzewski, facing off Friday, Loyola possibly continuing its magical journey, or Florida State, Clemson, Purdue, Kansas State, or Syracuse throwing their names in the pot as bracket busters, and causing havoc on Kentucky, Michigan, Villanova, Kansas, and Duke.
With upsets being in vogue, I am reminded of a couple of lines in Garth Brooks’ The Dance. “For a moment wasn’t I the king. But if I’d only known how the king would fall”.
Lyrics that describe a few higher seeds in this year’s Bracketology Blow Up!Thanks For Visiting JV Sport Shots .Com’s Website And Viewing Our Latest Blog(s) / Page(s). We Would Really Appreciate It If You Would Leave Us A Comment Or Remark Below. This Helps Us Provide Great Sports Content; You Would Like To See In Future Posts.
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