Well, it is March my friends, and you know what that means……..
Yes, this is the time when 64..err………68 NCAA basketball teams test their mettle against each other.
And out of those 68 teams, 67 will walk away with tears in their eyes and the feeling of failure in their heart.
I know, I know, this tournament is fun as heck and I’ll watch as much of it as I possibly can; the same way I did when the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985. But there is no way of avoiding it; this is an unfair way of deciding who truly the best team in the land is.
You see, any tournament that distills their entire championship tournament to something as simple as 1-and-done while including many many teams that clearly did not merit any consideration for actually being the best team in the land increases the likelihood of some randomly bizarre results. Add into the mix a game fraught with bad refereeing (which can directly determine a game more than any other sport) a three-point line that makes each game even more hit-miss, and you have a highly random, very unpredictable product. Great for entertainment? Yes. Wonderful for the casual viewer? Absolutely. A logical way to decided who really is the best team? Not so much.
I like to think pretty much every University of Arizona would agree with this, if not at least offer a ton of sympathy for those teams that prove over 35ish games they are one of the best teams yet to only fall tragically unexpectedly.
We Arizona fans remember our three best teams: 1988, 1989, and 1998. All three of those teams were either the best team in the nation, or very close to being the best. And all three did not win the title with only one of those teams reaching the Final Four. Yes, UA even had some other Nation Championship-ish teams in 1993, 2001, and 2014. No titles on that group either; only 1 finals appearance with one of those seasons losing to a damn 15 seed.
Yes, in 1997 the Wildcats won the championship; a journey that every UA fan will never forget and cherish forever. But that championship team was a 4 seed and finished 5th in their own conference! That undeserved yet surprising title does not make up for the heartache and feeling of loss for all of those other better more deserving teams.
And now here we are with this year’s UA team; 28-3 and a 1 seed. This team is about as good as any team we have seen from Tucson since 1998; comparable to the 2001 and 2014 teams. How will they do? Let’s find out. This team is fun as hell and I loved watching them play every game (they won) this season.
But knowing the history of this tournament, let’s just say I am bracing myself.