Friday, March 31, 2006

Why the NCAA Tournament is Great

There is one thing that the NCAA men's basketball tournament brings to the fans that no other major sporting event does--the realistic hope of a Cinderella team.

Think about it--there are surprise champions in other sports, and a team that had a fairly non-descript regular season can get hot and win the NBA or NHL (is that still considered major) championship, but that hardly qualifies them to be considered a Cinderella story. College football does not allow for this phenomenon either

George Mason--now THERE's a Cinderella story. The fact that they actually made it to the Final Four is historic, but there are other teams at or near that level that got close. How many of you had ever heard of Gonzaga before they nearly beat eventual champion UConn in the 1999 Elite Eight? How about Kent State's recent trip to the Elite Eight? Throughout the years, there are teams from nowhere that have won two or three games in the big dance and screwed up a lot of brackets.

The REALISTIC hope of a team from nowhere beating powerhouse programs like George Mason has done this year is what makes the NCAA basketball tournament the best sporting event in the country. Sports Illustrated senior writer Frank Deford waxes philosophic about that topic in the column I've linked below.


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