3. Lack of Upsets
RCS: Last year, all four No. 1 seeds advanced to the Final Four. This season, 14 of the top 16 seeds made it to the Sweet 16. These recent "chalky" tournaments have sports fans and columnists alike crying about a lack of upsets and Cinderella’s. In his column on Sunday, Michael Wilbon said that he was "bored to tears," and wondered if this was good for the NCAA Tournament, writing, "The wild popularity of this tournament, after all, was built on upsets…[it] grew from nice little niche sporting event to a cultural festival because people were drawn to upsets…"
So, is a lack of upsets that bad for the tournament?
Wetzel: I think overall, yeah, it’s bad for the tournament. It’s probably good for TV ratings, because the bigger the program the more fans it has. But, in terms of the fun of the event, yeah, it’s not as good.
The one and done rule is why the upsets aren’t there. The upsets went crazy when the best players were going straight to the NBA, and big time programs missed out on guys. If you have the best players, you’re going to win a basketball game almost all the time.
The best players, the one and done types, were losses for the major programs. Those kinds of players go to Kentucky, not Western Kentucky. The smaller programs were unchanged though. They still had four or five good seniors. But they didn’t have to compete with the LeBron James’ of the world. LeBron James wouldn’t have been upset in the NCAA tournament. Without him, the playing field leveled. Now it’s uneven again. You bring the one-and-done in, and I don’t care how good your guys are, they’re not beating Greg Oden. They’re not going to beat that great talent on a regular basis. So there goes your upsets. There’s still a couple, but not in the numbers we saw before.