The overwhelming reaction to the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament has been that having 14 of the top 16 seeds still in the mix is a bad thing. It's being called the Stale 16 and the most boring tournament ever, because there's been a noticable lack of the chaos and unpredictability that made March Madness a trademarked phrase.
There's no argument to be made with that last point. It is the chalkiest tournament ever, and anyone looking for a Cinderella is going to go home with an unfilled glass slipper. It wasn't a weekend of stirring moments and upsets, instead it was chock-full of the best teams in the nation making their way forward. It wasn't always easy, see Villanova-American, nor pretty, both Pittsburgh games, but, one by one, the little guys fell by the wayside.
Somewhere along the line, the NCAA Tournament became about the upsets and the unlikely heroes than it did about the basketball itself. And who could argue with how great that has been? Those players and teams that came out of nowhere have elevated the tournament into an Event with a capital E.
You know what, though, so was Kentucky against Duke in the 1992 East Regional Finals. And dozens of other matchups between top seeds in the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight that featured great teams and players playing close, exciting games with their seasons on the line. This year we don't have to hope for those matchups, we're practically guaranteed them.
Who isn't itching to see how Blake Griffin fares against the Syracuse zone or isn't stoked to watch Kansas try to continue their defense against Tom Izzo and Michigan State? And, looking forward, the thought of Connecticut against Memphis for a spot in the Final Four should make every basketball lover very happy. Sometimes the games themselves can be more than enough story to carry the day, even if familiar faces like Rick Pitino and Roy Williams are doing the telling.
The cream has risen to the top when it matters most which is what athletic competition is all about in the first place. No one wants Cinderella exiled from the tournament for good. For one year, though, isn't it enough to just enjoy the fact that there's a full slate of killer basketball on tap?