March Madness Creates Underdog Double-Standard

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March Madness Creates Underdog Double-Standard
(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

For 37 minutes of yesterday's first-round game between the Memphis Tigers and the Cal State-Northridge Matadors, Tyreke Evans and company were in danger of becoming the latest madness casualty.

There are plenty of cases for unknown teams to make Cinderella runs in the NCAA tournament. From George Mason to Bucknell to Western Kentucky, there are stories of double-digit seeds beating the invincible teams ranging from Kansas, Duke, and Kentucky.

As sports fans, we've come to expect 13 and 14-seeds to pull off a major upset every year. As this article shows, we even get a little disappointed when these upsets don't happen, and people start to lose interest in the tournament.

"What a boring tournament," we say. "Where are the upsets?"

My question is, why do we need to have upsets in the NCAA tournament every year? Aren't the higher seeds seeded higher because they're supposed to win?

I also wonder why this love of the underdog doesn't translate to other leagues, such as the NFL or MLB.

We celebrate when double-digit seeds make the Sweet 16 or Elite Eight, yet we cry foul when a 9-7 division leader in the NFL advances to the Super Bowl. It devalues everything a 12-4 team did during the regular season, people say.

When a wild card team wins the pennant, people line up to discredit that team because it wasn't great all year and simply got hot at the right time.

Additionally, if we love the Cinderella teams so much in college basketball, why not give a potential Cinderella in college football the same crack at the "elite" programs?  

Who knows if Utah would've been able to hang with Florida last season?

The answer is you never know. We didn't know in basketball until Villanova got its shot at Georgetown in 1985, and we won't know in football until teams like Boise State, Utah, Hawaii, or Fresno State get their shot at Florida, Texas, and USC.

I don't know if there's a way to change this double-standard or why it even exists. The best I can do is make people conscious of this dichotomy and ask for a little consistency one way or another.

Note: I am a supporter of upsets no matter what sport they happen in. If a team is supposed to be better than another, they better prove it on the field or court.

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