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Wednesday, Feb. 21
The Indiana Daily Student

sports men's basketball

Column: Problems with the 2012 NCAA Tournament

I saw an analogy the other day I found rather clever.

Yahoo! Sports columnist Pat Forde compared the NCAA Tournament to a pizza: It is never awful but sometimes merely passable compared to others.

That has rarely rung more true than this year. Apart from a few fleeting moments, March Madness just felt a little tame this year.

So what exactly makes for a good tournament? What was missing this year? What needs to happen for next year to be better?

Problem There were no upsets of consequence. Yes, I watched both 15-over-2 first round games. They were thrilling, sure, but neither 15 seed made it past the next round, and each of the No. 2 seeds might not have survived much longer anyway.

Solution Again, it goes back to the seeding. Mid-major teams are the best bets for upsets, but if those teams are not under-seeded as they long have been, the opportunities are not there.

Problem  This tournament had no true Cinderella squad. Only one team lower than a 4-seed made the Elite Eight, and 7-seed Florida can hardly be considered a Cinderella with its recent track record.

Solution This is just a matter of luck. Some years, there are clearly lower-seeded squads that have the tools to win games. This just was not one of those years.

Problem The games were often rather boring. Defense ruled college basketball this year, and the tournament epitomized that with a number of fairly low-scoring contests.

Solution This will likely take care of itself. The catalysts for many of these low-scoring games, defensive stalwarts such as Kentucky freshman Anthony Davis and Ohio State sophomore Aaron Craft, will be gone to either graduation or the professional ranks.

Problem Buzzer beaters, often the defining moments of the tournament, were conspicuously absent this year. Sophomore guard Will Sheehey’s jumper against VCU was about as close as we got this year.

Solution Games often ended with monotonous strings of fouls and free throws. If next year’s college game is more offense-oriented and the referees adopt a sort of “let them play” mindset, the chances for thrilling final shots will be there. Then the players just need to make them.

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