NEW YORK—The NCAA Tournament, one of America’s favorite sporting events, has become a past time of not just middle-aged men but also women. There’s something about guess-selecting teams because of their names, states or school colors. Then, waiting for the results after the games are played is fascinating. There have also been stories where people have selected certain teams because of their…mascot!
Needless to say, one wouldn’t have to be a pro to win a pool of this sort. But one has to wonder how the “experts” must feel when their choices have flamed out and some librarian who doesn’t even follow the sport regularly wins handily. Some of these NCAA pools are for money, but most are for bragging rights. To have both is even that much more of a special treat.
The selection committee each and every year has come under fire for the way they invite schools to the ‘big dance’ of the NCAA Tournament. This year the Big East Conference, which is said to be one of the biggest and strongest conferences in college sports, had an unparalleled 11 out of 16 member schools invited to play. Whereas some of the smaller and lesser-known conferences like the MEAC, SWAC and the Patriot League, for instance, got only one or at the most two. But it’s those schools such as the BYU (Brigham Young University) and VCU (Virginia Commonwealth University) that are still standing tall and have made it to the Sweet 16 while the other aforementioned big named schools are home.
There’s big money in the fact that you can bring in big time programs. Let’s face it, everybody loves a Cinderella but those same people wouldn’t be the first to support a tournament with ‘no names’ attached to it. It’s almost like bringing an ax to the forest to chop down a tree only to find that the tree you thought was there is nothing but a bush.
The selection committee probably backs the big name, and big money schools probably get knocked out. This gives the fans something to talk about, and that talk turns into more interest thus more revenue. If that’s the case, it’s an ingenious way to make money and, at the same time, procure new fan interest.
Follow Jerald Hoover on Twitter at JerryHoover65