I keep hearing college basketball commentators talk about this Final Four being about the underdogs. I don’t buy that. Just because a certain team didn’t make the Final Four, doesn’t mean the team that made it in its place is an underdog.
Did you know…
- The final AP ranking for the Final Four teams was #3 (Duke), #6 (West Virginia), #11 (Butler), #13 (Michigan St).
- The average rank? #8
- All the Final Four teams were in preseason AP Top 25. In fact, they were all ranked in the Top #11 at #2 (Michigan St), #8 (West Virginia), #9 (Duke), #11 (Butler).
- Three of the four Final Four coaches have all coached a team to the Final Four before.
What makes this Final Four seem like a group of underdogs? Butler, and that’s just because of national perception. If you follow college basketball, outside of March Madness, you know this is a good program. They may not have the national following of some teams, or the large student enrollment of other schools, but they do have a great men’s college basketball program.
So while there isn’t a top NBA prospect in the Final Four, or Kansas and Kentucky aren’t there, you have four great teams. They may not be the teams people picked, because they aren’t known nationally by the average sports fan, but they aren’t a collection of underdogs.
The AP voters knew better than the selection committee about Butler and Michigan St. And, I’m sure when people filled out their brackets they had Butler and Micigan St getting upset in the first round because they were #5 seeds. (Their usually is a #12 seed that upsets a #5 seed.) So, its another element that adds to the perception of Butler and Micighan St being underdogs.
I mean, Michigan St. was ONLY in the National Championship Game last year. And, in the words of former coach Pete Gillen, “Duke is Duke”.
Just because it’s not the coronation of Kansas or Kentucky doesn’t mean it’s a bad Final Four. I haven’t followed college basketball closely this year, but I have enough sense to know this Final Four isn’t a collection of scrappy underdogs. All it did was force many in the media to rewrite their stories.
Thankfully, the games don’t go according to the media’s plan.