NCAA Tournament: Remember the Mid-Majors

Andrew LangeContributor IMarch 31, 2008

Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers – Congratulations on winning the play in game. Congratulations on getting to the big dance. However, a 16 seed has never upset a 1 seed, so work for that 14 seed next year and good luck.

Texas Arlington Mavericks – Congrats on making it to the tournament, but again bad luck with the 16 seed.  

Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils – Congratulations on making it to the tournament

Portland State Vikings – Congratulations on making it to the tournament.

It’s a hard place to be, the 16 seed, but someone’s got to do it. Not only has a 16 seed never beaten a No. 1 seed, but this year all 1 seeds made it to the final four, so these teams really had their work cut out for them.

Thank you for your hard work, and I hope you enjoyed your experience.

American Eagles – No, this team is not a major clothing store. (Well, it is…but you know what I mean) Congratulations on making the tournament and getting a 15 seed.

Now you have to play Tennessee, a team many thought deserved a 1 seed. Wow, this game was a thrill to watch. I made a bet with my brother before this game started that Tennessee would score 100 points. (I got odds) The score at halftime was 22 to 29. You kept it close and worked hard, great game boys.

UMBC Retrievers – Congratulations on making it to the tournament and earning a 15 seed.

Belmont Bruins – This team deserves quite possibly the most props in this entire list. You boys played an incredible game against one of the most intimidating teams in the NCAA (intimidating, not good).

This game had me out of my chair yelling at the TV. I won’t lie, I can’t name a player on your team, but you almost upset No. 2 seed, Duke and that is worth major props any day of the week. Thank you for your season, and good luck in the future.

Austin Peay Governors – Congratulations on making the tournament.

Only 4 number 15 seeds have upset 2 seeds in the history of the seeding process in this tournament. It is an incredibly hard place to be, and yet Belmont almost made it 5. It’s rare that a 15 vs. 2 is even a game, and this year we got two close ones.

Cal-State Fullerton Titans – I learned a lot about this team since they played Wisconsin in the first round, and I’m a die hard Wisconsin fan. They had the highest scoring average in their conference, and one of the better defenses. Great job reaching the tournament, I’m just not sad you lost.

Cornell Big Red – How is it playing against two twin giants? That’s a tough draw having to play Stanford in the first round. Congratulations on reaching the big dance, better luck next year.

The chance of winning as a 14 seed is considerably better then winning as a 15 seed. It goes from roughly 4% to 16%. Sorry, this year none of the 14 seeds pulled that crazy upset.

Siena Saints – Wow, that’s about the only word that can describe that victory. In the first round Siena beat the hot Vanderbilt ruining many of my friend’s brackets. (haha) Great win boys, and good luck in the future.

San Diego Toreros – Let’s follow one huge upset up with another upset. San Diego took down the heavily favored UConn in the first round. Many ESPN ‘expert’ analysts had UConn going to the sweet 16, and even going to the final four! Well, the San Diego Toreros took care of that. Congrats on the great season, and the huge upset. Good luck next year.

Oral Roberts Golden Eagles – Well, you made it to the tournament. Congratulations you have to play the Big East champions, Pittsburgh. That’s really not fair as a 13 seed. You guys had a great season, and good luck in the future.

Winthrop Eagles – Congratulations on making it to the tournament. You boys kept it close in the first half, having it tied 29 to 29 at half. Unfortunately keeping up with Washington State’s hot 3 pt. shooting isn’t even something that Notre Dame could do, so don’t feel too bad. Great season boys.

13 seeds only have an 18% chance of winning in the first round. That’s just 2% better then 14 seeds. This percentage should go up a little this year after 2 of the 4 pulled the big upset.

Saint Mary’s Gaels – Saint Mary’s fell to Miami (Florida) in the first round as a 10 seed. Congratulations on your excellent season, and even being ranked in the AP poll at one point this year. Good luck in the future.

George Mason – George Mason fell to Notre Dame in the first round as a 12 seed. Thank you for your season this year, and thank you for reminding everyone 2 years ago why we fill out our brackets (so that they can completely ruined by amazing runs like yours).  

Kent State Golden Flashes – Kent State got off to a slow start against UNLV and couldn’t mount enough for a comeback. They fell as a 9 seed in the first round. You had a good season Golden Flashes. (How can you not love a team called the Flashes?)

And now for the part of the tournament where the selection committee decided to rob us of an excellent tournament filled with even more upsets. If they hate the mid-majors so much why do they give automatic bids? Seriously, this could not be a bigger GET OUT sign on the NCAA tournament. The 6 best mid-majors got matched up against each other in the first round. This lowers the 6 best to the 3 best automatically. Basically there are 3 chances of a George Mason happening again, and guess what it did against all odds…

Butler Bulldogs (7) vs. South Alabama Jaguars (10) – I did a fair amount of whining about Wisconsin getting a 3 seed. (THEY TOTALLY DESERVED A 2 SEED) If I was from Butler I don’t know what I would have done.

Butler was ranked 11th in the AP poll and 10th in the Coaches poll. So if you think about that, Butler should be a 4 seed or maybe a 5 seed. They received a 7 seed basically so that they could play South Alabama in the first round.

South Alabama was hot coming into the tournament and people thought they could do some damage until they got matched up against Butler. Butler took 2 seed Tennessee to Overtime and lost (to my dismay as I had picked Butler over Tennessee) showing the tournament that just because you’re a 7 seed doesn’t mean you can’t win big games.

Both these teams had excellent seasons, and I hope you have great future seasons and more favorable seeds and match ups.

Drake Bulldogs vs. Western Kentucky Hilltoppers – Drake was thought to be the best and most dangerous of all the mid-majors. Western Kentucky had a great season and took teams like Tennessee and Gonzaga down to the wire.

Not enough congratulations can be given to either of these teams, I’m sure everyone had heard the stories behind Drake’s first tournament birth in so many years. These two great teams gave us an amazing game. In overtime Drake hit free throws to go up 1 with just seconds left, when Western Kentucky took the ball down court and hit a 3 pointer from 15 feet behind the line with 3 defenders in his face. One of the most amazing shots of the tournament and with no doubt ruined many people’s brackets in those few seconds.

Western Kentucky went on to beat San Diego in the 2nd round, and then they gave UCLA a run for their money in the Sweet 16. Congrats on your seasons boys, and good luck in the future.  

And Last, but certainly not least, Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. Davidson Wildcats – Gonzaga has a tremendous history in the NCAA tournament. They were one of the first mid-majors to have good runs in the tournament, and consistent runs at that.

Davidson, well I’m sure everyone knows exactly this team’s story. Stephen Curry, son of pro Dell Curry, has been labeled the most exciting player in this tournament. Davidson, who was down to Gonzaga, rallied late to win the first round game.  From there, Davidson knocked off 2 seed Georgetown. Then they knocked off 3 seed Wisconsin. *cries* And then, Davidson lost by 2 to number 1 seeded Kansas.

Not enough can be said about this improbable run, other then thank you for catapulting me into first place in my brackets. Great season for both teams, and I wish you good luck in the future. Stephen Curry announced he was returning for his Jr. season, so I doubt you’ll need the luck.

Xavier – A team that is not technically a mid-major, but they come from a weaker conference and I myself lump them into that category. Xavier along with Davidson made it to the Elite 8 this year. They were forced to play SEC champions Georgia in the first round, which many people picked Georgia to win. In the second round the

y had to play a very hot Purdue team that took 2nd in the Big 10. In the Sweet 16 they had to play a very hot West Virginia team that had just taken down 2 seeded Duke. They beat all 3 of these teams and gave us some nail biting games in the process. I just wanted to congratulate Xavier’s great season and run to the Elite 8.

Yes the tournament is about the powerhouses who make it there every year, this year more so then most years with UNC, UCLA, Memphis and Kansas in the final four.

But let’s not all forget the teams that build the tournament up and give us some breathtaking upsets. Remember the mid-majors when filling out your brackets next year and remember Davidson, George Mason, and Gonzaga from years past.


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