Upsets make NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament special

Story by Kyle Davis

The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament bracket can go from being your best friend to something you wish was heavier so you could throw it at your TV in a matter of minutes.

Just when your bracket is looking foolproof, a top-seeded team falls at the hands of the opponent seeded higher.

Who was that Davidson team?

George Mason was in the Final Four, really?

Historic programs, upsets, underdogs and double-digit hours of basketball a day makes the three weeks of the NCAA Tournament the greatest period of time for any sport.

Unpredictability has become more rare in sports, and it is the unpredictability of the NCAA Tournament that increases the mystique of the tournament. This just can’t be found, at least to this extent, in other sports.

It would not be outrageous to guess either the Los Angeles Lakers or Boston Celtics will be in the NBA Finals this year, considering the Lakers are the two-time defending champions and Boston was the runner-up last year and won it all in 2008. You don’t see the Oakland Athletics or Cleveland Indians coming out of nowhere to make a run in the MLB playoffs or the little guys of college football, aka TCU or Boise State, getting an invitation to the BCS National Championship game.

Exceptions can always be found, but no other sport is known for producing the drama and excitement of the Cinderella squads shining bright on the biggest stage more than college basketball. When filling out a bracket, the question is not will there be an upset, but rather who is going to get upset?

While it can be devastating to be a fan of an elite team that has been sent home early, you can’t help but love the underdogs. That is, other than the one that crushed your team’s hopes and dreams.

These mid-major teams do not get much respect, not to mention a second glance, during the regular season and a ticket to the big dance may be the only one some of these players experience during their collegiate careers. So, to see a team beat the odds to keep their season alive makes the tournament that much more special.

The gap between the great teams and the rest of the pack is even smaller this year, so I have to expect several teams seeded seventh or higher will advance to at least the Sweet 16.

The question fans are already thinking about, and will make them guess and second-guess themselves while filling out the bracket, is who will put on the slipper?

No one is certain of the answer, and I wouldn’t have it any other way, because that’s why it is called March Madness.