This year the Final 4 will be made up with 4 schools from traditional major-conferences. We have College Basketball BlueBloods Kentucky, Louisville, Kansas and Ohio State. There is not a George Mason, Butler or VCU this year. In fact there weren’t any mid-majors in the Elite 8, and only 2 (Ohio and Xavier) in the Sweet 16.
After years of folks predicting a mid-major revolution in college basketball, one of the storylines of this year’s tournament will be the lack of mid-major success this season. Do you miss the mid-majors in this year’s Final 4 or for that matter most of this year’s NCAAs?
One of the things that make the NCAA tournament so great is that it’s not an exclusive major conference event. Are you listening BCS? A school like Butler can play for back to back National Titles… They get their shot, but this year there will none of that, and you know what I’m ok with it. I love a George Mason run as much as the next guy, but there’s something to be said about having 4 schools go at it that are traditional basketball powers, have next level talent playing for them and have future Hall of Fame coaches on the sidelines. Only That Matta is currently not a lock for the Hall of Fame, but he’s getting close having already been to the Final 4 twice.
Kentucky boasts a roster full of NBA talent led by freshmen Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Do you realize how hard it is for me to be complimentary of Kentucky? Real hard especially since John Calipari is coaching them, but Calipari has put his 3rd team into the Final 4. That’s impressive stuff, and the guy can flat out coach.
Kansas has Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor. Ohio State arrives with the best on the ball defender in the country Aaron Craft and the Big Man Jared Sullinger. Louisville may not have the raw talent of the others, but they have Rick Pitino on the sidelines. He already has a national title, and so does the Jayhawks coach Bill Self. Self is on the short list of best college basketball coaches in America, and I still don’t think he gets the credit he deserves. Too bad he doesn’t have ACC pedigree, because he’s just the type of coach UNC or Duke would covet once Roy Williams and Mike Krzyzewski retire. He’s a Big 12 guy though through and through. Is 2012 a precursor to future years?
I don’t think this is the beginning of any kind of trend like when we went from 1997-2004 and had only 2 Mid-Major final 4 entrants (Utah ,WAC-1 998) and (Marquette, Conf USA-2004) or when we went from 1991-2010 with only 1 Mid-Major team (Utah, WAC-1998) in the Title game. This is especially true when mid-major coaches like VCU’s Shaka Smart and Butler’s Brad Stevens are electing to stay at their respective schools. Also with the current one and done system, fewer major conference teams are able to build teams that are together 3-4 years. The NBA lockout probably kept some of the country’s best freshman from 2011 like Sullinger from turning pro too.
That said for this year I’m fine that that there are no mid-majors in the Final 4. There’s nothing wrong with 4 heavyweights. I expect Cinderella to be back in a year or two… By the way I’m picking Ohio State in this years Final 4 and you reserve that Hall of Fame spot for Thad Matta.