Mon Mar 23 03:38pm EDT
Over the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament there were no major upsets, no classic buzzer beaters and very little fodder for "One Shining Moment". This begs the question, are we in the midst of the worst NCAA tournament ever?
The question is a little hyperbolic; as the first tournament I remember actively watching was in 1988. But looking back at some old brackets, I think it's safe to say that the first two rounds were the worst in recent memory.
There wasn't one first-weekend game that will be instantly memorable one year from now. The Siena-Ohio State and Gonzaga-Western Kentucky finishes were great, but not classics. The biggest upset (Cleveland State over Wake Forest) was a snoozer. A few No. 1 seeds were challenged (Pittsburgh, Louisville) in the second half of their second round games, but each pulled away by the last TV timeout.
The only other recent tournament with as little early excitement was in 2004. But, in that year, two No. 1 seeds were upset in the second round (Kentucky and Stanford), which made for a more interesting weekend. Not that chalk can't be exciting, but it hasn't been this year.
More than 75 percent of the tournament games have been played so far, but there's still plenty of time for 2009 to redeem itself. A couple of good Sweet 16 games and a memorable regional final will wash away all memory of the yawner we had this weekend.
The natural follow-up question is whether this is symptomatic of a larger problem with NCAA basketball? I don't think so. Odds are, there's going to be a stinker every few years. Plus, a lame NCAA tournament is still better than almost anything else.