Five reasons why the NCAA Tournament is batty
blog by Ben Tsujimoto • March 19, 2012 @ 11:07am
I’ll never forget Harold “The Show” Arceneaux. When some school named “Weber State” stunned #3 seed and perennial power North Carolina in the first round of the 1999 NCAA Tournament—behind Arceneaux’s unreal 36-point performance—the crazy nature of the college basketball post-season really hit home. Nothing is guaranteed, and UNC guard Ed Cota’s quote after that game speaks volumes, “We’re definitely the better team,” North Carolina’s Ed Cota said. “But in this tournament, the best team doesn’t always win.”
1) The Norfolk State story was unfathomable: Looking back at 2010-11’s financial numbers, Missouri spent over $5.3 million on men’s basketball. Norfolk State? Just over $800,000. The Spartans lost to obscure Division II school Elizabeth City State in late November and mustered only 36 points in a loss to Illinois State. Did any of that really matter in the #15 seed’s 86-84 win over #2 seed Missouri? Nope. Could you even script the exploits of a fellow with the surname “O’Quinn” on St. Patrick’s Day weekend? What about the hash-tags of #Norfolked and #Norfolkingway?
2) So much luck is involved: Ohio is a very good basketball team, but fortune has smiled upon John Groce’s Bobcats. The Mid-American Conference’s tournament representative, which beat the University at Buffalo three times this year, trounced an over-seeded Michigan team, earned a favorable second round match-up against offensively-starved South Florida, and now finds itself facing a possibly Kendall Marshall-less North Carolina team in the Sweet 16. Don’t underestimate the value of good luck.
3) The referees are influential: St. Bonaventure’s first round loss to Florida State was maddening, and not just because Da’Quan Cook chose a bad moment for a mental lapse and Charlon Kloof couldn’t quite finish his dunk attempt. St. Bonaventure put itself in a position to win, and the final scenario would have been a little less frenetic had a fairly clear violation by the Seminoles’ Okaro White been noticed by the officials. Credit to Audio Buffalo’s Brad Riter for his screen-shot of the play (below):
While it’s true that the baseline official has a considerable amount of responsibility on that play—primarily determining a foul call as a result of the situation, it’s still frustrating to see something rather obvious slip through the cracks.
4) Cats still rule over dogs: Two of the remaining 16 teams have a nickname related to the feline species: the Kentucky Wildcats and Ohio Bobcats, while the dogs only have one remaining representative in the North Carolina State Wolfpack. In the last two Sweet 16s, the cat mascots also had one more team both times (each year was 3-2). After doing a little research, it appears that the Bearcats from Cincinnati do not belong in the cat family.
5) Best name remaining in the tournament: Since I’m not too authoritative when judging the quality of names, here’s a list of the bizarre player names left in the tournament:
— Vander Blue, Marquette
— Staats Battle, North Carolina State
— Cashmere Wright, Cincinnati
— Twany Beckham, Kentucky
— Deuce Bello, Baylor
Photo courtesy of Flickr / docentjoyce