There have been a lot of good games this NCAA Tournament. We’ve even had monumental upsets like Norfolk State and Lehigh toppling Missouri and Duke respectively. A #7 seed nearly made the Final Four and we’ll have an in-state rivalry in the 1st semifinal (Louisville/Kentucky) for the first time in 50 years!
And yet, this tournament is lacking something. It’s lacking drama and excitement and it’s showing. We’ve had just one overtime game (UNC vs. Ohio) so far and it’s the lowest total in the field of 65/68 era. Even more shocking is the lack of game-winning shots in the closing seconds. Do you want to count the number of buzzer-beaters? You don’t need to. We’re currently at ZERO. That’s right, ZERO game-winning shots and zero game-tying shots in the final 5 seconds of every basketball game played thus far.
It’s just not entertaining. And the end-of-game situations have been abysmal. Wisconsin and NC State both inexplicably fired away three-pointers down just 1 with time winding down. Their seasons unsurprisingly ended. NC State in particular against Kansas managed a failed cross-court pass down by 3, only to get a 2nd chance off a missed FT and not even get a proper shot off in 3 seconds. Louisville in a winning effort had a mindless turnover up by 2 against Florida only for the Gators to immediately travel not even a second later.
I guess the opening game between Mississippi Valley State and Western Kentucky was a preview of what we were going to get in the few down to the wire finishes we’ve had. The Delta Devils ended the game airballing a wide-open three from the corner, capping off a collapse for the ages. While blown leads have not been a big issue, late game situation failures have been. Maybe the most prominent foul-up was when Notre Dame committed a lane violation down just 73-70 against Xavier, and promptly lost by 5 as a result.
Is it me or is this tournament just lacking that special moment? I’m not advocating another Butler story, but in general the quality of games has gone down in my view and the late-game drama that makes March Madness great has really been a disappointment.