NCAA Tournament Closes In: March Madness Can Be Cruel

Todd ParmeleeSenior Analyst IMarch 4, 2008

Weeks ago you were walking around with confidence, a new blow-out hair cut, and a popped collar—you were ready to go to the Big Dance.

Now with Selection Sunday less than two weeks away, you want to return that new shirt—unless you are a Cornell Big Red fan.  

Cornell is currently brimming with confidence.  So far, they are the only team invited to that Big Dance.

It’s March, the time of year to debate bubbles, brackets, and seeds.  Should the Big East earn seven bids?  Why is the ACC getting only three this year?

Last season the whining began in Syracuse when the Orangemen—I mean Orange—were seemingly the last team left out of the NCAA Tournament.  Old Dominion, Stanford, Arkansas, and Illinois were the last teams in, earning No. 12 seeds.

But this year their will be no anxiety for Orange fans, as their team at 7-9 in conference—losers of five out of their last six games—have punched their ticket to the NIT.

Would you rather have a team such as Syracuse in the field, or Illinois State?  After all, it is March Madness and some of the greatest memories that come to mind include Santa Clara defeating Arizona (1993), Old Dominion knocking off Villanova (1995), Valparaiso over Mississippi (1998), and Vermont over Syracuse (2005).

Nothing is worse, though, than when your squad loses to a Cinderella team.   In the opening round of the 2005 NCAA Tournament in Worcester, MA, fourth seeded Syracuse fell to Vermont.

I would have expected Taylor Coppenrath or T.J. Sorrentine play hero for Vermont, but Germaine Mopa Njila?  Njila shot nine for ten from the floor and finished with 20 points.  He averaged only 5.8 points per game that year.

The hour and forty minute drive back to Connecticut that day was dominated by expletives, complaints, and hate.

A year later, UConn lost to George Mason 84-86 in the Elite Eight (2006).  The 2006 UConn team featured four players that would be drafted in the first round (Gay, Boone, Armstrong, and Williams).  

George Mason had one player, Jai Lewis, who was invited to play in the NFL—not the NBA.  

March can be the cruelest month.