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Could This Be The Worst Final Four In The NCAA Tournament’s History?

Submitted by on March 28, 2011 – 8:33 amOne Comment
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People love a good underdog story. It’s one of the reasons the NCAA Tournament is so great. Every year, one team that absolutely no one sees coming wins a couple of games and makes it to the Sweet Sixteen, the Elite Eight, or—just maybe!—the Final Four. Last year, Butler went all the way to the NCAA Tourney’s championship game and nearly knocked off the Duke Blue Devils, which surely would have been a sign that the apocalypse was upon us.

All of that considered, it’s no surprise that this year hasn’t been any different—with one small but very important exception. This year has literally turned into the year of the underdog with Butler making a run to the Final Four to meet up with fellow underdog Virginia Commonwealth in the first game next Saturday and Kentucky and UConn—two typically strong programs who weren’t expected to make much of a run this year—playing on the other side of the bracket. A sports’ fan dream come true, right?!

Not so fast. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing and this year’s Final Four demonstrates that. The key to a great underdog story is, of course, an underdog—but that underdog also needs a favorite to play in order to get the general public excited about possibly seeing the impossible happen. They need a Goliath to their David. Without out, they’re not really an underdog; they’re just another team that’s in the mix with a legitimate shot at taking home a title.

And that’s basically what happened over the weekend when both Butler and VCU advanced to make it to the Final Four. Now, there are two underdogs—and two teams used to playing the role of favorites who have actually been underdogs in recent weeks—battling for the title. So, who exactly are we supposed to root for?!? We can’t just go by seed numbers or Cinderella stories, because all four teams in this Final Four have them. All four have a chip on their shoulder and all four have been Vegas ‘dogs at some point, many points, during the tourney.

It’s something that could, unfortunately, make this year’s Final Four the weakest in years, if not of all-time. Diehard sports fans might love it and casual sports fans might try to watch it because of the underdog stories involved, but after a few minutes of action, it’s gonna be awfully hard to tell who to root for. It’s gonna be difficult to separate the good guys (the lowly ‘dogs!) from the bad guys (the major conference goons!). And it’s gonna end up hurting the Final Four to a degree.

I’m not saying I won’t get into it it. I’m just saying that all of the underdogs in this year’s tourney have made it tough to get too excited about the results of the tournament. I’m not sure who will win this year—and, frankly, I’m not sure if I care. And if I am saying that, then I can only imagine how casual NCAA fans are feeling. This is exactly what they wished for all tournament long. But, as they say, be careful what you wish for because you just might get it. And it might amount to a pretty forgettable Final Four at the end of the story.

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