Thursday, March 20, 2008

March Madness becoming March Cheating

I am not going to spend a long time continuing my rant about how stupid ESPN analysts are or how the mid-major conferences are getting cheated. I do just want to mention Jay Bilas saying that the mid major teams could not compete day in and day out in the big conferences. In other words Jay Bilas and Hubert Davis think that Arizona who is below .500 in the PAC 10 is a better team than South Alabama who got one of only 6 mid major at large bids. South Alabama beat Mississippi State on the road this year, but according to the ESPN crew, they would not be able to beat five more teams if they had a big school schedule. Ignore the fact that they would actually get to play these teams at home, and they have already shown they can win on the road. Stupidity thy name is ESPN.

Rather that moan, I would like to simply point out what is going on and where the NCAA is heading with the help of ESPN. Jay Bilas and Bob Knight (who is awful TV) both openly agreed that the small conferences should not get automatic bids, thus opening the way for all the teams in the big six conferences to make the tournament. Bilas, Knight, and ESPN would rather do a way with the small conferences in order to make the regular season pointless and turn March Madness into Power Conference money making time. As stupid as this sounds that is clearly where the NCAA is going. Remember just a few years ago (2006) when George Mason made the Final Four. That year also saw Wichita St., Gonzaga, Memphis, and Bradley all made the sweet sixteen. 25% of the Sweet Sixteen were mid-majors. Memphis and George Mason made the Elite Eight (again 25%) and George Mason made the Final Four (again 25%). It was a year where the Colonial got multiple bids and so did the Missouri Valley. That year also saw Bucknell, Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and Northwest St. all beat Major Conferences in the first round. Well, since then the mid-major bids have not gone up, but down. Last year of the 34 at large bids only 6 went to mid major conferences and the rest went to power conferences. The same thing happened this year. But, this year of the 6 mid-major at large bids, 3 of them went to teams that have been ranked in the top 25 all year. Last year we did not see a 5 versus 12 upset, and that was used by the ESPN jerks to point out that the mid-majors are not better. However, they failed to point out that last year that most of the 5 versus 12 games were two teams from the power conferences playing against each other. The upsets occurred every year when the 12 seed was from a small school, so the NCAA put a stop to that by making the 12 seeds major conferences. This year we have a Clemson versus Villinova game as a 5 v. 12 match up. The main thing the NCAA is doing to stop the mid-major teams is making the so called Bracket Busters play each other in the first round. One 5 v 12 match up is Drake versus Western Kentucky. We also have Gonzaga playing Davidson in the first round, UNLV playing Kent St in the first round and Butler playing South Alabama in the first round. That way the mid-major teams can be limited since they have to beat each other. Also by moving the mid majors away from the 5-12 game you can put them in the 7-10 game and make them have only 1 day to prepare for the second seed. This can help prevent a repeat of 2006 when Bradley beat a 4 and a 5 and George mason beat a 6 and 3. Davidson and Gonzaga have a week to prepare for each other and then only a day to prepare for Georgetown. The same is true for the UNLV/Kent St. game. It is clear that the small schools are being phased out. March Madness is officially ruined and I hope ratings are low. My ultimate hope is that a new sports channel drives ESPN out of business. I watch a lot more FOX Sports because of my hatred for ESPN.


Anonymous said...

Okay, Lee. I would really, really like to know what you really, really think about this. You're tip-toeing around the issues with way too much tact towards ESPN. You're being so wishy-washy that I can't for the life of me figure out what you are actually saying. Please clarify your position once and for all.