By Edouard Boulat
No, and you shouldn’t either. Which isn’t to say that the winner of the national championship is never the best team in college basketball – a lot of years it can be. In fact, the University of North Carolina in ’09 is the most recent example that comes to mind, after finishing 28-4 in the regular season and winning their 6 tournament games by an average of 20.2 points. However, no sane person will tell you that UConn was clearly the best team in the country this season. Did they have the best player in college basketball? Absolutely (sorry, Jimmer). Were they playing the best ball out of anybody heading into and during the tournament? That’s a stronger argument that you could definitely agree with it. If they played Ohio State, Duke, Kansas or even a handful of college basketball’s “second-tier” teams (Florida, Kentucky, Pittsburgh) 10 times each, would they win more than they would lose? Who really knows? The point is that it takes an awful lot to crown a national champion, and, as history shows us, having the best team in the country is certainly no guarantee that you’ll be cutting down the nets when it’s all said and done. After all, that’s why the play the games, right?
By Rebecca Silberman
At this point, it is no longer a question of best. The Huskies are national champions, enough said. We could sit here for days, trying to predict the outcome of every imaginable game, lining up top scorers and defensive stars, vetting coaches and measuring cheerleaders. But this is all academic – the tournament’s over guys, UConn wins, Butler doesn’t. While I won’t pretend that I am deeply surprised that Ohio State didn’t take the title, UConn’s gritty play against Butler in this admmitedly low-scoring game was impressive. Conversely, I was completely gob-smacked by the Notre Dame versus Texas A&M women’s championship. Not that the teams didn’t deserve to be there or that A&M didn’t put in a stellar performance for the win, but I had picked a UConn-Stanford final. Oh well, I guess I’ll have to console myself by starting to compile next year’s brackets early. How about this May?
By Adam Settle
Does the single-elimination NCAA championship provide viewers with weeks of spectacular games and entertainment? Absolutely. But should the final team standing in this single-elimination format be automatically crowned the “best in the country?” I’ll believe that Colgate men’s basketball will reach the Final Four before I will believe that idea (no offense, guys). This year’s Connecticut Huskies are the not the worst champion to be crowned from the pile of junk of teams competing this year, but their body of work compared to other schools does not show them to be the top team. The Huskies lost nine games within their own conference, six games back of Big East champion Pittsburgh. Kemba Walker carried them through the Big East tourney and the best team they faced in the entire tournament was tourney rookie San Diego State. In 1985, Villanova only made the tournament because of an expanded field as a No. 8 seed. Against juggernaut Georgetown, who had defeated the Wildcats twice during the regular season handily, ‘Nova used the lack of a shot clock and shot nearly 80 percent from the field to finish the upset. Should the Wildcats have been declared the best team in the nation? There is a reason why the NBA has four, seven-game series to determine the best team in the league.
By Charlie Balk
It is undeniable that the March Madness tournament is a complete, utter crapshoot. To suggest that we could rewind history and have the same teams play out this year’s tournament again, and that UConn would win, is absurd. But, the problem is, we cannot replay the tournament. We do not have a time machine to decide which team is best once and for all. We also don’t have any better method for figuring out the best team in college hoops. So, for lack of a better determinant, we must accept the Huskies as the No. 1 team and do so absolutely. No one is more deserving…right? To the victor, the spoils.