Tuesday, March 12, 2013

NCAA Conference Tournament Viewing: Why You Should Root for the Favorites

For many of you, this will be the first time you have watched college hoops since last year.  For others, sadly, that time has not yet arisen.

So here is my advice for you all:  as you watch these smaller Tournaments, root for the favorite.  Every favorite.

This goes against the grain of the natural instinct we all have as fans:  seeing the Cinderella story, the impossible dream, the buzzer beater that gets the ugly kid into the big dance.  But the fact is that if every regular season conference champion won their tournament, the four play-in games would all feature 20+win teams (as opposed to the 20 LOSS Liberty team that has already qualified this year), and the back-end of the field would be much, much deeper.  And we’d still consider them Cinderellas, as who would expect a team from the Atlantic Sun or Big South to do anything anyways?

To me, this is the logical path towards a 16 beating a 1:  when a senior-laden squad from some tiny school that would typically be a 15 or 14 seed gets shoved back to 16, because the upsets by lower ranked teams in conference tourneys don’t happen.

My final point:  we don’t remember the thrilling conference tourney buzzer-beaters from years.  We do remember Tournament buzzer-beaters.

There are some exceptions, obviously.  Seeing chaos in the larger tournaments is a lot of fun, especially as upsets of the bigger teams does not take them out of a bid.  And if you have a rooting interest in a smaller school; self-interest wins out, obviously.

But in all other cases:  in one-bid leagues, hope the better seed wins.  It’ll make the real Tourney that much better, and Cinderella will still be attending in any case.  She'll just be tougher to get into the carriage at the end of the night.

- Snilch

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