Last night I was delighted to be a Kansas Jayhawk fan and wear my KU shirt. I would say I’m proud to be a Kansas fan, but it’s kind of hard to be too proud when you’re blowing out the number 16 seed. Of course – you’re supposed to. No number one seed has ever lost to a 16 seed. (I also enjoyed the PhogBlog’s pre-game reads, which allowed me to know the current players a little. It’s so hard to keep up with the Jayhawks when they’re never on TV here – and when I’m paying attention to another sport during fantasy football season :)
But this game wasn’t even close. (Watch some video highlights under “Related Links” here and photos here – very cool!) I do feel a little bad for Niagara. They must have been excited to make it into the tournament (although I understand they were not real happy about having to play their way in; I believe they thought they should have been in automatically). But coming off the euphoria of beating Florida A&M Tuesday evening and getting to play in the big dance – only to lose by 40 points? I mean, how can you keep playing when it’s like that? Kansas had scored almost double Niagara’s points at half time (52-27). Barring some unimaginable circumstance, there was no way to win at that point.
From a wider perspective, I don’t understand the logic and rationale as to who makes it into the Big Dance. It seems to me that the strongest teams should make it in; we’re trying to crown the best team in the country. I understand it is nice to give some potential Cinderella teams a chance, and that the winners of the smaller conferences deserve a shot. But I don’t understand why we have teams in the Tournament so woeful when a number of the bubble teams such as Kansas State and Syracuse would undoubtedly have played a much tougher game than Niagara.