VCU has done it. They beat No.1 Kansas. They also killed the NCAA tournament in the process. So hooray! Thanks VCU! Thanks for ruining the the best tournament in sports.
Forgive me if I don't sound too thrilled, but the tournament that we all love and cherish may be a thing of the past.
Is VCU a giant-killer for beating Purdue and Kansas? Try a murderer of fun. A slayer of the best two weeks of the year.
You a fan of underdogs? Pick Butler. Cheering for VCU? Stop. The Rams just changed the NCAA tournament forever and in a horribly sad and terrible way.
Now, I am not blaming VCU. It is not their fault that the NCAA expanded to this weird format. They don't mean any harm. VCU is only pursuing the same goal everyone else is. Still, VCU's run will unintentionally change the NCAAs.
Even if VCU gets knocked out in the next round, VCU has already given those who support expanding the tournament to 128 teams enough ammunition to make it happen. It's a done deal.
How can purists stop them? What can we say? By ripping of five straight (one more than it usually takes to make the Final 4), VCU is proving that everyone and every team deserves a shot.
In theory, I'd be happy for them. I love good underdog story. If VCU were a true 11 seed I would be wild with excitement (especially since I don't much care for Kansas). But they aren't. VCU shouldn't have even been in the tournament in the first place.They weren't deserving.
The NCAA tournament is supposed to be the best 64 teams in the country. Not 68. Who makes brackets of 68?
I was rooting for all four lucky losers to go down, to prove that they didn't belong, that the tournament was better off without them.
Then the Rams beat USC.
It was only one game. No NCAA tournament committee could make a decision to expand based on one game right? Unfortunately it wasn't just one game.
VCU backed up their opening round win by beating my alma matter Georgetown. Heartbreaking? Of course, but that's not why I am cheering against VCU. The Rams demolished my Hoyas. Bravo, the win was convincing. No hard feelings.
Rather, with each higher seed that VCU has taken out, my purist old-school alarm bells reverberate louder and louder. The voices of Syracuse Coach Jim Boeheim, Depaul's head man Oliver Purnell and others fill my brain driving me insane.
Make them stop.
But they won't. They want 128 games and that is what they are going to get. How can we deny teams after VCU's shocking run?
Even I agree, it's no longer right. They broke through and proved us wrong. VCU is not a fluke. I just wish they weren't here in the first place.
VCU really should never have made the tournament to begin with. Their best regular season win was against George Mason. Their second? Maybe Old Dominion? Maybe Drexel?
What happened to rewarding teams based on their difficulty of schedule or quality of wins?
It doesn't matter anymore. VCU snuck in and has since made the most of it. Good for them.
Just wait until next year when the tournament committee decides to expand the tournament based on VCU's success. You'll be sorry you cheered for the underdog then.
Why, because a 128 game schedule won't just ruin the tournament. It will destroy college basketball.
For one, the NCAA tournament will have opening games like Fairfield against Colorado State, a contest that couldn't get me to switch channels any faster.
Maybe instead, you can flip over and watch Long Beach St. against Washington State? YAWN.
Worse, teams will have no incentive to play tough schedules. Outside of conference games will become boring as games will lose meaning.
For all intents and purposes, expanding the tournament may eventually drive the Maui Classic and the Coaches against Cancer Classic out of business all together. Teams won't sign up because their will be no RPI ranking urging them to do so.
As Jay Bilas said, "If you expand the Tourney, you devalue the regular season even more and you devalue the results of conference tournaments. Making the NCAA Tournament is no longer as special as it was."
Coach Boeheim and others who are leading the expansionist charge feel that too many "deserving" teams are left out.
Maybe VCU proves that. But guess what? In a field with 34 at-large bids, if you didn't make it in, you're not all that deserving to begin with.
On that theory, should the NFL playoffs expand to 32 teams?
The Arizona Cardinals are surely deserving, no? They did beat a playoff New Orleans Saints team. What about a Pirates against Yankees MLB first round series? Don't the Pirates deserve a shot too?
So enjoy it while it lasts because the tournament will never be the same.
Thanks VCU, but while you are at it you might as well make the most of it. Why stop here?
I guess if you are going to ruin the tournament for years to come, you might as well make this one memorable.