Sunday, March 15, 2009

Who cares?

Watching Duke win the ACC championship is nauseating. The only thing making it easier is the fact that everyone knows that the team is a joke and won't last in the NCAA tourney. I'm not just coming up with this because North Carolina didn't win the conference championship that it obviously deserved, despite the fact that it may seem to be my primary motivation.

Instead, I took a look at various top seeds from the other power conferences and how they did in what has honestly become a meaningless exhibition prior to the NCAA tournament. I understand that teams can use the platform to get on a roll heading into the field of 64, much like Duke has. The Blue Devils were a team that desperately needed some cohesion if it had any hope of navigating to the latter stages of the championship chase. But the fact of the matter remains - Duke is not a title contender. Missouri isn't a title contender. Syracuse isn't a title contender. Neither are many of the teams that used their respective conference tournaments to either get in the NCAAs or to perhaps crawl up a spot in the upcoming seeding.

The way I see it, there are seven possible champions: North Carolina, Louisville, Memphis, Pittsburgh, Oklahoma, Connecticut and maybe Michigan State. Memphis and Louisville are the only two of those teams who won their conference tournaments (and Memphis might as well be the only team in C-USA), and the only two to even compete for that matter. You can't tell me that five of the seven bona fide title contenders weren't good enough even get to the conference finals. The truth of the matter is that no one cares about conference championships as much as they used to. None of these teams had anything to gain from winning their respective conferences and it showed in their play. With the exception of the two winners and UConn, which lost what may have been the greatest college basketball game of all time, no one really seemed to have any fire. Even Huskies players were saying the presser after the game that they didn't care; at a certain point, they just wanted somebody to win so that they could go home.

More and more, conference tournaments are becoming isolated NITs. That's why Duke's win of the ACC doesn't amount to a hill of beans to me.

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