You could see this coming a month ago.
The relative lack of strength of the mid-major conferences this season has left the NCAA Tournament with just one double-digit seed in the round of 16: No. 12 Arizona, a program which hasn't missed the Big Dance in my lifetime.
The talk amongst the national media (if I hear the word "chalk" one more time, I swear to god...) and guy at your work who "loves" college basketball but thinks two wins sends a team to the Final Four is that this tournament has been boring. Debate has raged since play ended Sunday night about the best way to keep the Tournament exciting and interesting.
Let's go ahead and clear this up: No. 2 Duke pounding No. 14 American tonight is not interesting. No. 2 Duke taking on red-hot No. 3 Villanova in a year when Blue Devil head coach Mike Krzyzewski openly challenged the notion that the Big East is a better conference than the ACC is extremely interesting.
Sure, I would have chosen to start my night with Connecticut/Northern Iowa over Pitt/Xavier had the two been paired against one another, but it's also extremely likely that I would have spent the bulk of the 8-9 p.m. hour watching the Panthers and Musketeers because of UConn's 25-point lead.
Cinderellas are fantastic, and the little guy having the opportunity to make a miracle run is the main thing that makes college basketball's postseason so superior to college football's. That said, in years where the power conferences are so visibly stronger than the non-power conferences, lady luck permitting one or two underdogs to sneak into the Tournament's second weekend really dilutes the level of play.
Conference strength and superiority have been debated as hotly during this season as any I can remember. With that being the case, how terrific is it that the college basketball world is getting to see matchups like Duke/'Nova, UConn/Purdue, Kansas/Michigan State and Syracuse/Okahoma in the span of two days?
The talk all year has been that there was a significant drop-off once you got beyond the top eight or nine teams in the country. If that's true, then four 1 vs. 2 or 1 vs. 3 Regional finals should make for one of the most competitive and exciting Elite Eights any of us have ever seen.
Duke/Kentucky in '92 wasn't boring, neither was Illinois/Arizona in '05.
College basketball fans should enjoy what has the potential to be a very special weekend of hoops.