Does a Cinderella ever really win in the NCAA tourney?
Throughout the history of Division I Basketball, it’s always been the juggernauts who were raising up that trophy in April. Sure, we’ve seen buzzer beaters and clutch free throws from fair competitors like VCU, Butler, George Mason, and BYU. But when it came down to the big game – when there were millions of dollars in ad revenue, merchandising, and TV rights to be made – it’s always been 1 basketball powerhouse against another. [NC State is probably the lone exception] It’s almost as if the final game is by design too overwhelming for Cinderella teams. Their players either crumble under the pressure of attention the program has never fully received before. Or they just get exposed for what they were all along; well-timed talented players. There’s a difference between a basketball player and a basketball athlete. We saw that once again last night in the Florida vs. FGCU match.
Don’t get me wrong, FGCU put on a fantastic audition against Georgetown and SDSU. But the pressure of being the underdog clearly got to them last night. As the 1st #15 to be in the sweet 16, they lacked what the rest of the teams that have advanced had; basketball IQ. Statistically, they were able to keep up with the Gators. The guards on both teams took some terrible shots and had problems at the line. Much like the Syr-Indiana game, it came down to 1 team just took care of the ball better than the other. I mean, 9 turnovers from a guard is deplorable!
At any rate, Dunk City was fun while it lasted. But always remember, Cinderellas are unintentional built-in hype machines (I know that sounds ironic). So don’t ever let yourself get too pumped if you pick them as upset early on. They will disappoint.