Are you a fan or alumni of a team that is constantly on the bubble year in and year out? Or are you a fan of one of the so called “Blue Bloods” of college basketball? Even better, are you an alumni of the hopeless 16 seed? With all that being said, whether you are a fan of Big Blue Nation or The Mount or anywhere in between, I am going to breakdown for you the 3 tiers of what to expect from your favorite college basketball teams.
- The Blue Bloods, The Power Houses, The Hall of Fame Coaches: Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky, Kansas, UCLA, Indiana to name a few. Yes, since I’m a raging Blue Devil fan, I admit that I do expect a National Championship or Final Four appearance every single year. However, let’s be realistic with this group, besides Indiana, who has become completely irrelevant since grumpy old man retired years ago. The bare minimum for these fans is an Elite 8 berth year in and year out. Although most of them will tell you its “Final Four or Bust”. Attracting one-and-done talent, like these programs do, can be a double edged sword at times. Yes, you get the best of the best high school kids, so expectations are always high. Yet, these kids are young, playing on a big stage in March, and all it takes is one bad game, and you might be looking at a first weekend exit. Coaches like Bill Self feel the pressure to win now with a talent like Josh Jackson, because he essentially signed a one-year scholarship, and then it’s reload for next year.
- The New Kids on the Block, Mid Major Powers, Strong Tradition: Gonzaga, Oregon, Wichita State, Xavier, Butler, Virginia, Villanova, teams along those lines. The teams that fit into this category are usually pretty solid year in and year out and locks for the Big Dance. The problem with these programs is that they usually do not attract the one and done lottery talent that the previous tier of schools possess. However, the positive can be the ability to develop a strong roster filled with experienced upper classmen come tournament time. These program’s expectations are usually a Sweet 16 appearance and an occasional magical Final Four. Lacking the ELITE talent is what holds these programs back from jumping into the upper echelon of college basketball.
- Finally, there are the one bid leagues – teams just happy punch their ticket to the dance. Let’s be honest, these teams, usually the 15 and 16 seeds, should just be grateful the committee still allows automatic bids for the low-major conferences. Outside of the rare 15 over 2 upset and the never before seen 16 over 1 upset, any fans or alumni of these schools should be in therapy if they think their school has a legit shot of the glass slipper fitting. For many, the clock strikes midnight on them in Dayton in a First Four game. Success for these programs is measured by a tournament berth, as that meant they won their conference tournament. Anything that follows is house money. Let’s keep it real, these schools show up for the first 5-10 minutes of game action and maybe even a half. By the second half, they are typically left in a cloud of dust while their bus is warming up outside the arena.
If you’re still upset or depressed because your beloved team isn’t playing in Phoenix this weekend, just use this guide as a coping mechanism to gauge whether or not your program succeeded or failed this year. And remember its called the Final Four, so you are not alone as you watch at home depressed your program didn’t make it…
Written By: Nyck Young