Two people don’t have terrible brackets
In the ESPN bracket competition, two people have the Final Four correct. Two out of 5.9 million. And one of the guys with a perfect Final Four isn’t even in the top 6,000. That’ll change if Kentucky beats Butler in the championship.
Finally, Obama is done, too. After Kansas lost to VCU, his national champion was eliminated. He has no Final Four teams left. So now his bracket is just as bad as yours and mine.
Babies like to dance
With Butler’s overtime win against Florida, Brad Stevens became the youngest coach to take a team to two Final Fours. He’s also the record holder for every less-impressive age-based stat.
Stevens is 34. Shaka Smart of VCU is 33. Jim Calhoun of UConn is 68. Calhoun has been a head coach for 39 years.
He’s really old, and they’re really young.
And on the other side …
Two of the most corrupt coaches in college basketball!
Jim Calhoun is already suspended for the first three Big East games of next season because of violations with a recruit who never even came to the school.
Calipari is bringing his third team to the Final Four. That would be impressive, except both of those Final Four runs were vacated when both UMass and Memphis were charged with NCAA violations after Calipari had already skipped town.
If Kentucky beats UConn, the winner of the Butler-VCU game should be allowed to celebrate like they won the national title. Even if they lose to Kentucky, they’ll technically become national champs when Kentucky inevitably has to give everything back in a few years, right?
Also, Calhoun and Calipari may or may not hate each other, which is great if you’re a fan of awkward post-game handshakes between men in suits.
The regular season means absolutely nothing
Seriously, it doesn’t. None of the Final Four teams had particularly good regular seasons. They all lost at least eight games. Sure, Kentucky won the SEC tournament, but the other three struggled in their conferences and finished with less-than-impressive records.
Really, the goal isn’t to be number one any more. The goal is to be within the top 68. Where you fall on the seed line is meaningless. VCU came in with 821 to one odds of making the Final Four. Based on the regular season, it’s one of the most improbable achievements in sports history.
As long as you’re just barely good enough to get in, you’ve got a shot.
Is this a problem? Right now, it’s hard to say it is. A tournament that’s giving the little guys a chance to win is what we want, isn’t it? Try to give me a better story than VCU’s record-breaking, history-defying run.
This has been a great tournament, not because we’ve seen particularly great basketball, but because something unexpected has happened at every turn. If all the one seeds turned out to be great teams, and they all made it to Houston by playing great basketball, we wouldn’t be feeling the same way. That’s what basketball purists want, but I’ll take the better story every time.
College football falls at the other end of the spectrum; their regular season might matter too much. But which problem would you rather have?
Michael Kruse of the St. Petersburg Times put it best last night:
The message of college football is: Don’t fuck up. The message of college basketball is: Don’t give up.
That’s an easy choice.