Duke and Missouri Early Upsets Will Hurt General Interest in 2012 NCAA Tourney

Mick AkersAnalyst IMarch 17, 2012

GREENSBORO, NC - MARCH 16:  (R-L) Mackey McKnight #11 and John Adams #4 of the Lehigh Mountain Hawks celebrate after a basket in the second half against the Duke Blue Devils during the second round of the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Greensboro Coliseum on March 16, 2012 in Greensboro, North Carolina.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The emergence of an underdog is one of the best occurrences in sports. As the moment is happening there is a huge buzz surrounding the event. This was the case when No.2 seeds Missouri and Duke both lost within hours of each other yesterday.

The world could not believe that not just one No.2 seed in the 2012 NCAA tournament lost so early, but two No. 2 seeds were dropped in the round of 64, marking only the fifth and sixth times this has ever happened in the tourney and the first time ever that two No.2's lost on the same day.

This will be great for the tourney for now, but as more and more teams drop and Lehigh and Norfolk State—the Davids to Missouri and Duke's Goliaths—possibly move further, the non-core sports fan who wants to watch the bigger name teams play may not tune in.

The college basketball diehards will love every win either Lehigh or Norfolk State get in the tourney, but this demographic will have watched each game in the tourney no matter who is playing. The only rounds that ratings will see a boost is if either Lehigh or Norfolk State or both can manage to make the Final Four, or best case scenario, the title game. Then ratings could spike at that point.

Otherwise, people who tune in to see how their brackets are fairing won't have much interest, because let's face it, most had Duke and Missouri advancing at least into the Elite 8. Now that two of the favorites of the possible eight teams that could have made a run are out, again people will lose interest.

For me and the rest of the diehard college basketball fans watching to see how far this year's Cinderellas can go will be must see T.V.

As for the rest of the world, keeping tabs on the games via SportsCenter is likely, as they only re-tune in if Lehigh or Norfolk State can keep their glass slippers on long enough to make it to the Final Four..