Sunday, March 26, 2006

Patriot Games

Denham Brown's last second shot glanced off the rim giving George Mason an overtime victory over the heavily favored Connecticut Huskies.

Like every year, the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament will see sixty-four games tip-off and sixty-four buzzers signalling the end of each of those games.

So what makes this particular game so special? Since the explosion in popularity of the sport, college basketball has seen hundreds of millions of dollars pour into the NCAA. That money is not split evenly among the member schools, but rather the "major conferences" tend to get the vast majority of the proceeds and are then able to invest that money into better facilities, better training and better recruitment.

Since this windfall, these "Major" schools have dominated the tournament, gained the vast majority of the invites and ALL of the visits to the Final Four of the tournament. This has also been reflected in the coverage by the media, which tend to assume the utter superiority of the teams from the major conferences.

This year, several teams from the minor conference received invites to the tournament and were mocked by the major analysis for CBS sports who have been covering the tournament.
Packer complained that three extra teams were chosen from the Missouri Valley Conference and George Mason was chosen from the Colonial Athletic Association instead of team number eight from the Big East.

He whipped out some nonsensical statistics about how teams from their conferences had won so many fewer games in the tournament than those from the major conferences. Of course, the reason for those statistics had far more to do with the low seedings and lack of invitations given to teams from those conferences as anything else.

You see every year teams with far less resources win far more games in these smaller conferences than the teams they are being compared to from the power conferences. They win all year and are never given a chance to prove themselves on the court.

This year, George Mason finally was given that chance and did something that only one team from any conference had ever done. They reached the Final Four on a tough, tough road as an 11 seed. They accomplished something unbelievable that many, given their way, would have never given them the opportunity.

Billy Packer laughed it off, and said he didn't know why people took it so helpful. Next year, another Final Four team like George Mason might not get the chance to play their way down that treacherous path. In this unfair sports world, they will never see any glory, but they will at least be a team that did their best against tough odds.

And Billy Packer will still be an asshole.


Blogger Gar said...

Pshhht, UConn only got my past my UW Huskies because of a miracle 3 and a pretty crappy officiating job by the refs ((such as the disproportionate amount of fouls called on UW - Calhoun was working the refs).

Glad to see a Cinderella team like George Mason smackdown UConn and prove that yes, every once inawhile David can still kick Golaith's ass.

3:00 AM  
Blogger xian said...

Don't get me started on the U of I Dancing Whiteys vs. U of W Huskies...

You outplayed us badly in the last fifteen minutes, but from a non-partisan perspective, it always sucks when the refs call touch fouls and it turns into a free-throw shooting competition...

4:18 AM  

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