Do We Really Need to Decide a Conference Championship Twice?
Congratulations, Missouri. Congratulations, USC. Advance congratulations to the winner of the ACC Tournament Championship as well as the winner of the SEC Tournament Championship and the Big Ten Tournament Championship.
You guys fought hard through tough conference (SEC excluded) seasons. Not quite as hard as some other teams in your leagues, but you all prevailed!
You decided to pull it together just in time to win a few games in a few days while the better teams in your league sat on the sidelines, no doubt worn out from working harder than you all season.
Yes, you got to celebrate a "championship" that was stripped from more deserving teams and awarded to you.
Congratulations, also, on the millions in ad revenue you helped make the big TV networks in deciding a championship that was also supposedly awarded less than a week ago.
But now I'm confused.
Who am I supposed to call the Big 12 champion? Not to take anything away from Missouri. That was a great run they put together, knocking off 11th-seeded Texas Tech, seventh-seeded Oklahoma State, and then finally ninth-seeded Baylor to grab your first-ever Big 12 "championship" in men's basketball. Man, that must have been tough.
But didn't we just award Kansas a conference championship last week because they finished two games ahead of you and one ahead of Oklahoma in the regular season standings?
The Pac-10 is another one that has me confused.
Washington finished three and a half games ahead of USC in the conference standings, but now they are both the Pac-10 champions.
Okay, maybe I'm a little put off.
I'm all for the craziness of this month and the upsets and excitement that it brings. But at the same time, I do not understand the need to award two championships in conference play. What does it prove?
Sure, Kansas choked in the Big 12 tourney. And sure, Michigan State choked in the Big Ten. Washington choked. Tennessee choked. North Carolina choked.
But do you know what all of those teams had in common? They all won their conferences outright in the regular season and therefore had to face a team with much more to prove than they did.
And, by the way, a sincere kudos to the Louisville Cardinals who became the only regular season champion from the six major conferences to win their conference tourney as well. But you already proved you were the Big East champions, why did you have to do it again?
Because too many people make too much money from these things. The athletic departments, the conferences, the shoe companies and various other tournament sponsors, and most importantly, the TV networks.
I know it will never change, but I for one would rather see an off-week than these bogus tournaments. Or at the very least, a smaller tournament among the schools who are on the proverbial "bubble."
But it will never happen.
I guess I'll just have to keep wondering who is the true champion in these leagues. The team who worked hard and put together a great season, or the team that worked hard for a few days?
I guess that's what March is all about. Love it or hate it, you have to appreciate it.
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