Tournament shows evidence of increasing parity around league

Clay Cosby, Sports Editor

Gonzaga beats St. Johns 86 – 71 in the round of 64.
Final four pick out.
Bracket Busted.
In a year when there are five teams in the sweet sixteen with an 8 seed or higher I went with the underdog. It was just the wrong one. Sixth seeded St. Johns went down in their first game to an eleven seed and it was never even close.
Last year’s national championship was between a Cinderella story and a perennial powerhouse. The team with the tradition of excellence, Duke ended up cutting down the nets, and this year those same teams have made an impact on the tournament. Duke was again a one seed with high expectations and Butler returned with another low seed and with everyone outside of Indianapolis believing last year was a fluke. However the team that fittingly plays home games in a gym that appeared in Hoosiers, Butler, is the one that has advanced to the elite eight while their nemesis will not have a chance to defend their crown after blowing a six point halftime lead against  fifth seeded (coincidentally the same seed Butler had last year) Arizona. And Butler is not alone, tonight they will be joined in the elite eight by one to three teams with seeds lower than their own.
With parity increasing around the league in college basketball among both major and mid-major conferences it’s no longer as much of a long shot for teams from places like Richmond to reach the final four. In fact as many teams reached the sweet sixteen from Richmond, Virginia as did teams from the “elite” Big East conference which touted an impressive but rather undeserving eleven bids. So underdogs advancing are becoming more common. Does that mean it’s a good idea to place less of a value on seeding when filling out your bracket? Maybe. But proceed with caution. Or else you may end up picking St. Johns instead of Richmond, Virginia Commonwealth, Butler, Florida State or Marquette.