College basketball is known for having an aura of chaos surrounding the sport. (Hence the term, “March Madness”) Upsets fill the month of March and David is often seen having the upper hand over Goliath. This is what makes college basketball so great.
Take a look at the NCAA tournaments of the last decade and you’ll see this is the case. Notice this season’s headlines so far, and you’ll see the craziness and imbalance that is currently dominating the sport more than it ever has.
Today is January 19th, 2016 – not quite a month into conference play. To this date, we have seen five No. 1 teams lose. That’s five No. 1’s going down before February. Last time that happened? 1949. At that point the NCAA Tournament was a mere ten years old.
The latest Top 25 AP Poll (released every Monday around 1:30pm) has Oklahoma as the current unanimous number one. This is the first time Oklahoma has been ranked atop the poll since the 1989-1990 season. Everything is hunky-dory for the Sooners! Just kidding. They lost 7 hours after the poll was released to No. 19 Iowa State. No one is safe. Except Duke, right? Duke is always a safe bet.
Wrong. Duke is currently on their first three game losing streak (all to unranked opponents) since 1968 and is on the verge of falling out of the top 25. Last time Duke was unranked? 166 weeks ago. That’s the sixth longest streak in the history of college basketball. Not even the perennial powers can take charge in this insanely entertaining free for all.
The current top ten includes West Virginia, Xavier, Texas A&M, SMU, and Iowa. None of those five teams were ranked in the AP Top 25 to begin the season. Two of the current top ten have never been to a Final Four, while three others have only been to one. This past week, the AP Top 25 had 16 losses. If these numbers don’t scream chaos, I don’t what does.
One final point. Iowa. The Hawkeye State has quickly become known as the place where college basketball team’s hopes go to die. Three of the five number ones that have fallen have done so in the state of Iowa. North Carolina to Northern Iowa, Michigan State to Iowa, and Oklahoma to Iowa State. Unless your trying to win a caucus, I highly suggest you (and your favorite college basketball team) stay away from the Hawkeye State.
The rest of this season should be, in the words of Dick Vitale, “super sensational”, and March certainly will be as well. Enjoy this college basketball season. We’ve never seen anything like it, and who knows when we will again.
Also meet the Monmouth bench mob. They’re a group of players who never touch the court but have managed to become the greatest cheerleaders of all time. College basketball is fun.