VCU Makes Final Four, but Magical Run Doesn't Justify NCAA Bracket System
VCU went from the First Four to the Final Four with a shocking upset win over No. 1 Kansas last night, putting the finishing touches on an unbelievable run that was never even supposed to start.
Most college basketball pundits had VCU narrowly missing the tournament altogether because of a lackluster resume that included losses to such teams as Northeastern and Georgia State. But the NCAA Tournament selection committee felt differently and gave the Rams a first-round match-up with USC and the opportunity to play into the round of 64.
VCU beat USC, and then Georgetown, and then Purdue, and then Florida State and now Kansas. They've made it further than everybody believed they could, including their coach, Shaka Smart, who didn't even let his team watch the selection show for fear of not getting in.
But does their remarkable performance in the NCAA Tournament prove the selection committee right? Did the committee see something in this team that nobody else did?
The answer to both questions is a resounding no. The NCAA Tournament is reserved exclusively for the teams that performed at a high level during the regular season, not teams that might do well if given the chance. They already had their chance.
The UAB's and Colorado's of the world may not have made it anywhere near the Final Four, but they still deserved to be in the NCAA Tournament over VCU. The only thing that VCU's run has proven is that parity still exists in college basketball and that any team can beat any other team on a given day.
The 68-team experiment seems to have worked thus far, but the NCAA also got very lucky. They'll need to establish a more structured selection process if they want it to keep working.
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