As we pass what would've been the Elite 8 weekend of the NCAA tournament, let's take some time to reflect on this college basketball season.
In my opinion, this season was one of the worst college basketball seasons I've ever watched. What I mean by that is the quality of play was lacking leading to a bunch of bad basketball play. Now that could just be me being bias, as both a Tennessee and Memphis fan, seeing as both teams had struggling seasons for a multitude of unforeseen circumstances, especially for Memphis. As you all know, the James Wiseman (projected top 3 NBA draft pick) saga that ended with him leaving for the draft in mid-December and DJ Jeffries' (3rd leading scorer) injury led Memphis to the point where winning the conference tournament or at least making it to the championship game only would've gotten them into the tournament. As for Tennessee, the lost of Senior starting Point Guard Lamonte Turner due to shoulder surgery in late December left Tennessee in the same boat as Memphis in what was considered a retooling year anyway with the loss of Grant Williams, Admiral Schofield, and Jordan Bone, the 3 leading scorers from last year's Sweet 16 team. But as I said earlier, it could be my bias but honestly every game I watched left a lot to be desired. This was a random year where teams like San Diego St. and Dayton (normal tournament teams but not top seeded) were consistently ranked in the top 5. This was also the year where the #1 ranking was a constant turnover (the most ever). Even when thinking of draft prospects, the top projected player, Anthony Edwards, played on a bad Georgia team and 4 of the top 6 projected draft picks aren't playing collegiately. After all of this, I was still excited for the tournament altohugh I had absolutely no idea who was going to win it this year. Normally we have a specific set of teams that are projected and probably going to win no matter how many upsets occur but this year was totally unpredictable. So unpredictable that the term upset should've been thrown out the window for this year's tournament. You have to feel for those smaller schools like a Dayton or San Diego St., power 5 teams like Baylor who’s traditionally not a powerhouse, or even the blue bloods like a Kansas that only has one national championship since 1989 and was the current #1 ranked team and probably the consensus national championship favorites going into the tournament. This opportunity may not present itself again, as this season was very unprecedented and a lot of the teams that had a shot to win it all this year may not have that luxury again.
The tournament this year would've taken the term "March Madness" to new heights yet we're left wondering what could've been.
-Parish Sharkey, Host