March 22, 2018
By: Steve Degler
In a perfect world, I mean bracket, the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament would be the top four seeds in each region. In case you have noticed, March Madness this year has been anything but perfect. Of the 16 teams still competing for the national title, just seven are top four seeds in their respective regions. None of the top four survived the first weekend in the South Region.
Syracuse and Loyola-Chicago are two 11 seeds still standing while top seeds Virginia and Xavier are nowhere to be found. I'm a little shocked UMBC toppled Virginia but the bigger surprise for me was that it took a 16 seed this long to take out a number one seed. A pair of nine seeds and two seven seeds are still alive. It has been an entertaining start to the tourney.
There are all kinds of theories as to why the higher rated teams seem to be getting upset on a more regular basis. I don't know if all the "one and done" guys hurt the elite programs who attract those kinds of players. I do believe the mid-majors get a boost because their players almost always stay for four years. There is a continuity to the team and those guys tend to be more mature physically and mentally.
We already know at least one Cinderella will be in the Elite 8 because 11th seeded Loyola meets #7 Nevada in Atlanta this weekend. Can one of them eventually reach San Antonio? Absolutely. Especially if nine seed Kansas State knocks off #5 Kentucky in the other half of that bracket.
College basketball's reputation has taken a big hit this season with all the investigations into improper payments and other illegal benefits. That's the shady side of the game we don't get to witness. Hopefully it gets cleaned up but it may take a long time. What we can see? That has been fantastic. The action on the court and the upsets make it a great game to watch.