Cinderella Stayed Home: Small Upsets Not Enough to Engender Real Excitement

Oliver VanDervoortCorrespondent IMarch 27, 2009

MINNEAPOLIS - MARCH 22:  Chris Wright #33 of the Dayton Flyers goes up for a rebound against Cole Aldrich #45 and Markieff Morris #21 of the Kansas Jayhawks during the second round of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on March 22, 2009 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Kansas won 60-43.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

For many a sports fan, this is the best time of the sporting world.  Spring is in the air, Spring Training baseball is in full swing, and fans are starting to see their individual teams take shape; and most importantly March Madness is in effect.

However, for the second year in a row, the underlying principal of the "Madness" is absent.  There is no Cinderella.  No George Mason, no Bucknell, even Gonzaga, which used to be the quintessential Cinderella has turned into one of the big boys; one of the teams that you just expect to go deep into the tournament.

Sure there were the usual lower seed upsets, three of the four twelve seeds upended their fifth seeded opponents, but only Western Kentucky wasn't from one of the major conferences. 

Dayton pulled off a nice first round win over West Virginia, and then promptly shot 22 percent from the field in their second round game against Kansas. 

After a year in which all four No.1 seeds made the final four, the lowest seed still remaining in the tournament is four seed, Gonzaga.  With Xavier's loss to Pittsburgh and Memphis' loss to Missouri last night, Gonzaga also remains the only team not from a major conference still playing. Their run faces a high probability of being ended tonight, when they take on North Carolina.

While certainly the fans of these major teams have something to cheer about, fans of the Madness have little to look forward to. 

Louisville, Michigan State, North Carolina, Villanova, Syracuse, Oklahoma, Missouri, UCONN, Kansas, Gonzaga, Arizona and Pittsburgh.  None of those teams generate the kind of universal excitement that a Dayton, Western Kentucky, or a Cleveland State would have.

If this trend continues, the Madness of March will be no more.