No Love For The Little Man
Story provided by Abel Carrillo
A few days have past yet college basketball fans are still upset that their favorite mid-major school did not make the 2016 NCAA Tournament. Instead, had to settle for the next best thing (Plan-B) which also known as the NIT.
One school that didn’t see their name called during the selection show on Sunday was the Monmouth Hawks, a bubble team that had a rock star reputation and the greatest sideline celebrations ever. Many analyst viewed the Hawks as a team that had a resume, worthy for an at large bid.
Fans displayed anger all over social media, pleading their case why Monmouth was snubbed and how they didn’t get the respect they deserved. The interest level in this particular institution seemed more passionate than other mid majors in years past.
Folks who dedicate their time seeing college athletics always tend to fall in love with the underdog, especially during the month of March. The debate of small schools being left out of this year’s tourney was fueled by Facebook and Twitter.
But why all the outrage? Do teams that are not a part of The Big Five conferences get left out of the party? Can they even compete at an elite level with schools like Duke, North Carolina, Kansas and Michigan State?
The last 10 years show six mid-majors made it to the Final Four and three were at large bids. So yes they can be competitive against the top dogs.
But is a 15 percent Final Four success rate worth defending. It’s bad enough we have to 68 teams who have the opportunity to claim the title.
The reason for the expansion was to increase smaller schools entry into the tournament, so they say. Instead, it has just allowed more “big schools” the ability to put their dancing shoes on.
We are constantly reminded of the story how David took down Goliath. Nevertheless we have to be honest with ourselves, it is extremely unlikely we will see a small fry winning the sweepstakes ever again.
So why should the fans waste their breath, complaining about not getting a chance to see more mid-majors punching their ticket into the tourney?
Now there were cases when the cream of the crop schools didn’t win the national title. Which have explanation why the task will not be repeated.
Two examples where Cinderella was able to overcome all odds in the last 50 years are the only stints that could help a weak conference argument.
The UNLV “Runnin Rebels” came out of the Big West conference, a squad that captured the 1989 championship. They were led by the legendary coach Jerry Tarkanian along with four future NBA players, three drafted in the first round.
A couple of teams that almost imitated the act were the 2008 Memphis Tigers and 2010, 2011 Butler Bulldogs. Both teams lost the championship game, had NBA players [Derek Rose, Gordon Hayward] but would later lose their head coach [John Calipari, Brad Stevens].
This shows the unstableness small conference schools must deal with once a coach has gained reputation of being a winner. Almost guarantying a program to never continue its progression.
The 1966 Texas Western Miners who’d start five African Americans against powerhouse Kentucky and go on to win the National Title is an inspirational story not even Disney could pass up. Sadly this performance is something that could only happen once in a lifetime.
So when you take a look at this year’s bracket don’t complain about not seeing a Saint Mary’s or a Creighton, just remember they had no shot at winning it all. I mean that is the point of making to the NCAA Tournament, right?