Is the NCAA Tournament a flawed way to determine a champion?

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  1. #1

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    Is the NCAA Tournament a flawed way to determine a champion?

    This debate has been raging all week on SIRIUS Radio on ESPN and other sports channels. I have to admit, it is driving me nuts. I first heard Greenie bring it up on Mike & Mike with Golic agreeing, and then Colin Cowherd restated it. And, Steve Phillips on Mad Dog Radio has been saying it as well.

    The argument is that the "best" teams aren't playing for the title so its a flawed tournament. That is it in a nutshell.

    I've got so many thoughts on this that I don't know if I can organize them all.

    What say you? Is the tournament flawed?

    I'll give my thoughts in another post.
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    It's not perfect. The champion isn't always the "best" team, just a team that got hot and had the right matchups. One bad night and you can kiss the title goodbye. But, unfortunately, I can't think of a better way to do it.

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    Pure and simple, head to head competition is always the best way to determine who is superior. One thing all of these so called "experts" are not measuring and certainly underestimating is heart and desire. The teams remaining in the tournament have earned the right to be there. Let's not forget that these guys are also national radio hosts and need to create controversy for their shows to gain listener-ship. It got you fired up......right 5wide? If I had a radio show, I would create controversy all the time just for the sake of creating it. It's part of the business. Can't take them to seriously.

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    Flawed way to determine a champion? Absolutely not.


    Flawed way to determine the 'best team'? Yes.


    To determine the 'best team' a five game or 7 game series is needed like in the NBA and MLB, IMO.


    Any team that makes the field of 68 and defeats every team along the way has more than earned the right to be called the champion. That is what tournaments are for is to determine a champion not the best team.

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    Who'd have ever thought a tournament that allows its champion to be decided on the court would be deemed a bad way to determine a champion? Please. Suddenly because two cinderellas are in the Final Four, the system is broken. Give me a break.

    And, to take it to the height of absurdity, Greenburg pointed to college football and the fact that Auburn and Oregon played for the title as a system that "gets it right". Is there a smiley for beyond laughable?

    I don't need to rehash the unfairness, inequity and flaws of the BCS system in its fullness. But, seriously? A system that chooses two teams based on opinion and computers, that is significantly affected by pre-season expectations, and excludes all others is better than the college hoops system.

    In college basketball, no team has a right to complain. Every team has its chance to make the Big Show. Win your conference or conference tournament and you're in. Simple as that. Not to mention, you have a whole season to prove you're good enough. Then, you get to prove it on the court in a one-and-done scenario.

    (How is it different than the NFL? Were the Packers the "best team" in the NFL last year? The records and seeding would say no. They didn't even win their division.)

    And, the tournament is seeded with the pod system to favor the higher seeds. If they can't get it done, they didn't deserve. I thought Kentucky, Kansas and Syracuse were the best teams last year. Guess what, none of those three were in the Final Four. I didn't hear any complaints last season when Duke, who no one would have called the best team, cut the nets down. They earned it on the court. How do you argue against that?

    And, finally, this absurd argument that the regular season is devalued?

    Here's the deal. College hoops doesn't produce the drama and playoff atmosphere on a weekly basis during the season like football. However, it matters for the obvious reason that you have to play well to make the tournament. But, an overlooked point is that in college basketball you can enjoy watching your team grow, develop and improve...you can enjoy the ups and downs, knowing that if they come together and peak at the right time, they'll have a chance to show that they're the best when it matters. Not so much in football. Lose a game early and you're done. You might make a BCS bowl, but who cares? I would argue that the BCS system and the championship game have heightened the regular season, but have exponentially devalued all other bowl games. College football is essentially March Madness from the opening kickoff. It's a one-and-done proposition. There are a few teams from power conferences like the SEC that can maintain a sliver of hope if they lose early, but the majority are out of the picture at that point. It matters not that they could conceivably improve and develop to the point where they are the best team by season's end. They lost in Week 2. Game over.

    OK. I think that's all for now. I just had to get that rant off my chest. These guys are driving me nuts. Who, in their right mind, could criticize the NCAA Tournament as a way to determine a champion? It is decided on the court for goodness sake. What's the alternative? A BCS system for college basketball? Yeah, that sounds like a winner.

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    Who cares if the winner isn't the "best" team? The team that wins the most deserving of the title if they go all the way. Teams know what they're getting into prior to entering the tournament. If you think you're the best team and think you deserve the title then don't lose! It's simple. Did I think UK was the best elite 8 team remaining last year? Yes. Did I complain about the system after getting beat? Absolutely not. It was their fault for not winning, not the tournament's setup.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PurplePride92 View Post
    Flawed way to determine a champion? Absolutely not.


    Flawed way to determine the 'best team'? Yes.


    To determine the 'best team' a five game or 7 game series is needed like in the NBA and MLB, IMO.


    Any team that makes the field of 68 and defeats every team along the way has more than earned the right to be called the champion. That is what tournaments are for is to determine a champion not the best team.
    Bingo. I am not even sure a best of 5 or 7 always determines the best team. When the Cardinals won the WS a few years ago I wouldn't say they were the best team in baseball that year. They got hot at the right time. I think it does alot better job in basketball of getting the best team though.

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    In the old days you had the conference winners and some at large teams get invited. I remember far back as the Cats in 1966 and have followed this tourney every year since then. there are too many teams. Go back to 32 teams taking the Conference winners and the runner ups. Do away with the conference tourneys. Take a few At Large to fill the 32 team field.

    Then hold an NIT tourney and fill in teams that get to play at home and advance to New York. Actually the NIT is a more serious tourney this year. (Just messing around).

    This way the season games really mean something more than just a "seeding" kinda like football. You make it you are in.

    Also do away with the NCAA people who are allowed to pick the field of teams and go to Sportswriters/ex coaches/ex players to decide on the at large field.

    But my theory gets blown away due to Butler/VCU making it to the Final Four. Hey, they wouldn't even had gotten a sniff in the NCAA/NIT this year.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zoot Soup View Post
    It's not perfect. The champion isn't always the "best" team, just a team that got hot and had the right matchups. One bad night and you can kiss the title goodbye. But, unfortunately, I can't think of a better way to do it.
    The champion isn't always the perceived "best" team in all sports. It's decided on the court. That's all you can ask for. And, if we want to crown the "best" team, why even have a tournament? We know Ohio State was the most impressive team this season. Just give them a trophy at the end of the year.

    The Patriots were the best team in 2007 and 2010. The Giants and Packers won the Super Bowls. I haven't heard anyone say the NFL system is flawed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RomanEmpire View Post
    Pure and simple, head to head competition is always the best way to determine who is superior. One thing all of these so called "experts" are not measuring and certainly underestimating is heart and desire. The teams remaining in the tournament have earned the right to be there. Let's not forget that these guys are also national radio hosts and need to create controversy for their shows to gain listener-ship. It got you fired up......right 5wide? If I had a radio show, I would create controversy all the time just for the sake of creating it. It's part of the business. Can't take them to seriously.
    I think that is certainly driving some of it now, but I'm not convinced that it was the motivation when Mike & Mike initially brought it up. Gotta talk about something, and I kinda like this topic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PurplePride92 View Post
    Flawed way to determine a champion? Absolutely not.


    Flawed way to determine the 'best team'? Yes.


    To determine the 'best team' a five game or 7 game series is needed like in the NBA and MLB, IMO.


    Any team that makes the field of 68 and defeats every team along the way has more than earned the right to be called the champion. That is what tournaments are for is to determine a champion not the best team.
    That is another good point. And, I would add, we don't need a tournament to tell us who the best team is. We watched it for 5 months. That's what a #1 overall seed is. That's your prize for being the best team. But, it is also over the course of a season. It's very possible that the team with the best regular season isn't the best by season's end. A team that improved through a few ups and downs could be better in March. But, of course, they'll be rated a little lower. That's something else we need to remember and keep in mind.

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    I heard guys on ESPN saying they "didn't love" the way the basketball playoff was set, which is a crock of crap. When all 4 number one seeds made it to the final 4 a few years ago, there were people saying that that wasn't good for the tournament. Now that there are two "Cinderellas" in the final 4, you hear idiots like Skip Bayless saying that he "didn't love" the setup. Just shut up and enjoy the upsets. That's most of the beauty of the NCAA tournament. It sucks for the "better" teams that end up losing, but it's no one's fault but their own if they're that much of a "better" team.

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    Quote Originally Posted by woodsrider View Post
    Bingo. I am not even sure a best of 5 or 7 always determines the best team. When the Cardinals won the WS a few years ago I wouldn't say they were the best team in baseball that year. They got hot at the right time. I think it does alot better job in basketball of getting the best team though.
    I agree with this also. The best team doesn't always win in any system, but the more times they have to play each other, the better the odds that the best team will win.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by 5wide View Post
    Who'd have ever thought a tournament that allows its champion to be decided on the court would be deemed a bad way to determine a champion? Please. Suddenly because two cinderellas are in the Final Four, the system is broken. Give me a break.

    And, to take it to the height of absurdity, Greenburg pointed to college football and the fact that Auburn and Oregon played for the title as a system that "gets it right". Is there a smiley for beyond laughable?

    I don't need to rehash the unfairness, inequity and flaws of the BCS system in its fullness. But, seriously? A system that chooses two teams based on opinion and computers, that is significantly affected by pre-season expectations, and excludes all others is better than the college hoops system.

    In college basketball, no team has a right to complain. Every team has its chance to make the Big Show. Win your conference or conference tournament and you're in. Simple as that. Not to mention, you have a whole season to prove you're good enough. Then, you get to prove it on the court in a one-and-done scenario.

    (How is it different than the NFL? Were the Packers the "best team" in the NFL last year? The records and seeding would say no. They didn't even win their division.)

    And, the tournament is seeded with the pod system to favor the higher seeds. If they can't get it done, they didn't deserve. I thought Kentucky, Kansas and Syracuse were the best teams last year. Guess what, none of those three were in the Final Four. I didn't hear any complaints last season when Duke, who no one would have called the best team, cut the nets down. They earned it on the court. How do you argue against that?

    And, finally, this absurd argument that the regular season is devalued?

    Here's the deal. College hoops doesn't produce the drama and playoff atmosphere on a weekly basis during the season like football. However, it matters for the obvious reason that you have to play well to make the tournament. But, an overlooked point is that in college basketball you can enjoy watching your team grow, develop and improve...you can enjoy the ups and downs, knowing that if they come together and peak at the right time, they'll have a chance to show that they're the best when it matters. Not so much in football. Lose a game early and you're done. You might make a BCS bowl, but who cares? I would argue that the BCS system and the championship game have heightened the regular season, but have exponentially devalued all other bowl games. College football is essentially March Madness from the opening kickoff. It's a one-and-done proposition. There are a few teams from power conferences like the SEC that can maintain a sliver of hope if they lose early, but the majority are out of the picture at that point. It matters not that they could conceivably improve and develop to the point where they are the best team by season's end. They lost in Week 2. Game over.

    OK. I think that's all for now. I just had to get that rant off my chest. These guys are driving me nuts. Who, in their right mind, could criticize the NCAA Tournament as a way to determine a champion? It is decided on the court for goodness sake. What's the alternative? A BCS system for college basketball? Yeah, that sounds like a winner.
    This is an awesome post. Well said and a great rant. I couldn't agree more. I'd love to hear what the talking heads would have to say after hearing you call in and stating this post.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by woodsrider View Post
    Bingo. I am not even sure a best of 5 or 7 always determines the best team. When the Cardinals won the WS a few years ago I wouldn't say they were the best team in baseball that year. They got hot at the right time. I think it does alot better job in basketball of getting the best team though.
    Quote Originally Posted by 5wide View Post
    I agree with this also. The best team doesn't always win in any system, but the more times they have to play each other, the better the odds that the best team will win.

    Very true. And sometimes an injury can still affect the outcome of one game in a 7 game series as the 2009-10 Celtics will tell you. Like you said though odds are the best team will win that series which is what I was alluding to. There isn't a theoretical way to make any kind of series work in college football or basketball. Football needs a playoff but I think basketball's tourney is the best way to end the season for college basketball whether the 'best team' wins or not.

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