Welcome to the weirdest tournament ever. For the first time ever we have no No. 1 seeds in the Elite Eight. Even when you talk about parity it's still insane that one didn't make it. Felt like this was going to be what we tend to see. A crazy first weekend and most of the top teams showing up the second weekend where you get a bunch of top 2 seeds in the Final Four and maybe one Cinderella.
Except, the Sweet 16 was the day of mayhem. Two 1 seeds lose. 2 seed UCLA loses. That's how you end with this eight left for a title which still doesn't make a ton of sense:
FAU, Kansas State, Texas, Miami, UConn, Gonzaga, San Diego State and Creighton.
Or these coaches:
Vecenie is right. We're getting a first time winner from the coaching ranks. You have an interim coach in Rodney Terry. You have a first year coach in Jerome Tang. You have Brian Dutcher who never seemed to be able to get past the first weekend. You have the mid-major star in Dusty May. You have Greg McDermott who finally got past a Sweet 16. You have Dan Hurley who rebuilt UConn in a couple years. You have Jim Larranaga who is an elite coach and finally getting all the respect he deserves. Then you have Mark Few. The guy who has been to a title game. The guy who needs a title to stop the cliche Gonzaga statements.
Now this isn't to say teams like Texas, Gonzaga and UConn are surprises to be here. UConn was viewed as the best team in the country for November and December. Gonzaga is still Gonzaga and has Timme. Texas, despite going through the Chris Beard saga, always had the makings of a top-10 team. But everyone else? Yeah, I'd say it's surprising even without looking at seeds.
But this sort of sums up this college basketball season and the new normal in the sport. The gap from top to middle tier isn't what it used to be. Yes, it's the NCAA Tournament. The single best event in all of sports because it's one game to win or go home. It doesn't show who the best team is, never has. But we're getting more of these sort of stories. These historical stats of like no No. 1 seeds in the Elite Eight for the first time ever.
I always thought it'd be tough to beat the 2014 Tournament in terms of weirdness. But it got topped. That at least had 2 1 seeds in the Elite Eight and a 1-2 matchup. I don't care what happens during the season. This tournament just always, always delivers.