There have been boring days in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.
Then there was March 20, 2009.
Out of 16 first-round games today, only three were still competitive in the final minute. While there were technically four upsets, only Western Kentucky's 12-5 upset over Illinois was anywhere near earth-shattering (even though Western Kentucky led the entire game).
VCU, American, and Cal State Northridge all put up valiant fights, but ultimately came away empty-handed.
Barak Obama's bracket is still mostly together, and the tournament selection committee is definitely pleased with itself.
They have effectively sucked all of the flavor out of the NCAA Tournament in a renewed attempt to get rid of those icky mid-majors that clutter the proceedings with their plucky three-pointers.
With an astronomically low four at-large bids going to mid-major conferences, the selection committee has issued a salvo to college basketball fans, saying that you better start liking the Pac 10 and the Big 10.
Because you are going to be seeing a few more mediocre teams from those conferences from here on out.
Nobody cares whether a middling Michigan team can out-zone a poorly coached Clemson team. And certainly no one can call that disgrace of a game an intriguing "upset."
With Stephen Curry and Patty Mills left out of the tourney this year, VCU's Eric Maynor had to try to reignite some mid-major dramatics against UCLA, but even he couldn't give the country what it was looking for (and thankfully too, as it turns out, he definitely went over and back on the last play anyway.)
Many fans are looking forward to Friday holding a bit more drama and some more plucky small schools to knock off a giant. But, thanks to the selection committee, they won't be getting that this year.
Instead, tomorrow holds some more intriguing 12-5 games with Arizona-Utah and Wisconsin-Florida State. Ooooh. And don't forget BC-USC, two great basketball stories if there ever were some.
Anyone can tell you that USC or Arizona or Clemson have better numbers and raw talent than all of those schools like San Diego State or St. Mary's or Davidson, and who knows, maybe those schools would make this week just as boring.
But I highly doubt it.
And at the end of the day, this whole thing really is supposed to be about our entertainment, right? Jay Bilas might lay out some sort of judicial form by which a legitimate national champion must be determined technically, but ultimately, this tournament is about flavor and drama.
Don't worry, though. We made sure to weed that out at the door.
We'll see you in the Sweet 16. Don't forget to bring your chalk.
And maybe a good book, too.
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