RE: AP poll out
Stever, who cares what the preseason rankings are? Do you remember what they were last year at this time? Let me refresh your memory. Villanova was ranked 12th, but finished as a No.1 seed. Of the 51 teams receiving votes, the only other BE team mentioned was Georgetown at No. 43. That would have barely gotten them in the tournament as what, a 12 seed? They did much better. So did Butler, Xavier, Providence and St. Johns. The league got one 1, two 4's, two 6's, and a 9 in the tournament. So much for the preseason AP poll.
Your obsession with tournament results is distorted. As fans, of course that's what we focus on when reflecting on the overall success or failure of a season. But knowledgeable basketball people, such as coaches, realize that the entire body of work is more reflective of a teams overall stature. When Duke lost 2 out of 3 years in the first round to a 14 and 15 seed, were you sounding the alarm? Of course not. In fact, it's entirely possible that had they won those games, they could have been off and running to another final four appearance. Strange and unexpected things happen in the tournament, that's what makes it so much fun. As disappointing as it is to be on the short end of one of those games, it doesn't diminish the body of work from the previous 30 games.
Let me give you another example, this one concerning UCONN's championship in 2014. Do you remember their first game in the tournament. They were a 7 seed playing a 10 seed St. Josephs and trailing by 3 with 38 seconds to go. Napier went up for a shot that was off target. The ball fell off the rim just right where Brimah rebounded it, put a shot back up and was fouled. Then he made the free throw, no sure thing as he was a 57% free throw shooter. St. Joes had a chance for the last shot, but didn't convert. Then there was the 5 minute overtime, and UCONN prevailed. A lot of things had to go right in the final 38 seconds for UCONN to pull it out, a game they trailed almost the entire time. UCONN proved to be a worthy champion by beating Villanova, Iowa St. Mich St, Florida and Kentucky. No argument here, that they earned it on the court and deserved to be champions. However, think how close the narrative came to being completely different. A 7 seed UCONN team (bad by their standards) losing in the first round to a 10 seed St Joes. Then the next year not making the tournament at all. Had that happened Ollie's seat might even be warm right now. Instead he's justifiably a hero. That's how thin the margin can be between the ultimate success and failure when it comes to the NCAA tournament. In fact, I doubt you denigrate Kentucky or Florida for losing to UCONN that year, since they were the champions, but you have no problem labeling Villanova a disappointment for losing to the same team.
Again as a fan, I hope to see more victories in the NCAA tournament this year. Last year Butler lost to ACC champ Notre Dame in overtime, and Xavier gave Arizona all they could handler in a game that was anyone's with a couple of minutes to go. But losing those games doesn't lessen the accomplishments of the conference, and the amazing OOC record that earned it it's No. 2 or 3 ranking last year. At some point though, it would be nice if you'd realize the glass isn't always half empty, as you're always happy to shout, to anyone that will listen.