The NCAA tournament is not a place for winners. It is not where the best teams fight it out to find out who’s the best of the best. This tournament is a tournament of losers, of unfulfilled hopes and dreams. It is a tournament of sadness and despair.
Sixty-four teams join the tournament in hopes that their team can win the national championship, but honestly, only a handful of teams actually have a chance. From 1985-2017, 296 teams have entered the tourney; 122 of those teams have never won a game, which is a staggering 41 percent.
Not only that, but the tournament’s bracket system is just odd. You get difficulty points for each team you face, so if the no. 9 seed beats the no. 8 seed they get nine difficulty points and then face and beat the no. 1 seed which is 16 points and so on.
If you put points on every seed, it goes as normal with the no. 1 seed getting the easiest, but as it turns out, the no. 15 and 16 seeds have easier roads than seeds no. 11-14. And it gets weirder. When looking at the winning percentages of all teams in the Sweet 16, no. 8 seeds have triple the winning percentage of no. 5 seeds, and no. 11 seeds have double the winning percentage of 5 seeds.
Looking more broadly, seeds 1-2 have a winning percentage of .766 while seeds 6-10 have a percentage of .382. Seeds 3-5 have a winning percentage of .350. Why? Because the NCAA Tournament is a tournament of chaos. On average, the good teams face the good teams while the bad teams face other bad teams. Meaning, on average, a 12 seed will constantly go farther than a 4 or 5 seed.
If we look at the different levels of the tournament, 75 percent of teams have never ever reached the Elite Eight, and 62 percent of teams have never been in the Sweet 16. And with that, the top four percent of schools make up for 58 percent of all Final Four berths.
This is why I think that they should reseed after every round, just like the Women’s National Basketball Association. The reseeding in the WNBA makes sense but that’s in an eight team tournament. It would make way more sense in a 64 team tournament.
Look at the recent Virginia loss. That’s the first time a 16 seed has beat a 1 seed. Think about that. The University of Maryland, Baltimore County is the first ever 16 seed to make it into the round of 32 ever. Not once, before this year, has a 16 seed won a game in the NCAA tournament. Also, look at the south. The four seeds still alive are the 5, 7, 9 and 11. There are two 11 seeds in the sweet 16 and there are four 4-6 seeds.
Looking into the east, why is no. 1 seed Kansas facing no. 5 seed Clemson, while the second seeded Duke faces 11 seeded Syracuse? A reseed would really help with having the good teams go forward so that we have better matchups down the road instead of one or two upsets to boost T.V. ratings.
There is some madness in March Madness, but that chaos is usually contained within the system and controlled. In theory, everyone gets a shot at the title, but in the end, there is only one winner and 63 losers.