2011 March Madness upsets not really upsets

TAGs: College Basketball, March Madness, Upsets

By now, most people who created brackets for the 2011 NCAA Men’s Div 1 Basketball Tournament have experienced exactly what March Madness is all about. In the first two rounds of the 2011 NCAA tournament there have been enough close games that came down to one call, one possession, one shot, or one shining moment, it’s enough to make college basketball fans and bettors cringe and lose their minds.

It’s never been more evident than in this year’s tournament that the seeding system is completely off base. To begin with, from what I’ve seen, there’s very little difference between teams seeded 2-12. I can’t say they don’t have the right teams in the tournament, the Selection Committee proved that when VCU dusted their way to the Sweet Sixteen after their selection was met with some criticism. But some of the upsets we have seen didn’t really look like upsets. After No. 1, is it almost time to start ignoring seed numbers in college basketball?

Upsets happen when a team on paper and in stature doesn’t match up to the lower seeded opponent, plays a spirited or perfect game and comes out with the surprise win. It usually involves the lower seed choking or not playing up to their standard for whatever reason. We haven’t seen a lot of that in this tournament.

When the 11 seed Marquette beat Syracuse, that wasn’t an upset, when the 12 seed Richmond beat Vanderbilt, that wasn’t an upset either, and when the 11 seed VCU dusted Georgetown and beat the breaks off Purdue, those weren’t upsets. Those were good teams, flat out beating their opponents.

That said, Louisville choked and so did Pittsburgh, those were huge upsets. Butler is a well coached team and they play solid basketball, they have sound offensive execution, an NBA caliber point guard they play text book defence. But Pittsburgh, the Big East division winners, and the No. 1 seed in the region, had no business losing to them in the second round.

I’m personally kicking myself for going with Pittsburgh and Georgetown as far as I did, both teams historically come up short, anyone else who picked them should have known better.

The first year the NCAA expanded the tournament to include 64 teams, Georgetown played victim to one of the biggest upsets in NCAA tournament history when they lost to the Villanova Wildcats in the 1985 National Championship game…They choked last year too when they were upset by the 14 seeded Ohio in the opening round.

As for Pittsburgh, excluding 2005 when they were the 9th seed, since 2002 the highest the team has ever been seeded was 5, and twice during that period Pitt earned the No. 1 seed. Yet, the team has never made the Final Four during that period and has just one Elite 8 appearance (2009) and only 5 Sweet Sixteen appearances during that 10 year span. The Panthers have become notorious for busting brackets. They pretty much get upset every year.

This year it looked like things would be different, but they found a way to make it happen…How? This time they had to be creative… How about missing a free throw to win the game, and fouling 92 feet away from basket in a tie game, with no time left on the clock, that should do it.

As far as I see it, with the remaining teams left, there’s only two teams that if they lose it can be called an upset. If Kansas loses to anyone before they reach the Final Four it’s an upset. If BYU beats Florida it’s a little bit of an upset, but not a huge one, they do have The Jimmer.


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