Days of the Dog in March

The ultimate underdogs were the Villanova Wildcats in 1985, the only No. 8 seed to win the NCAA Tournament.    FILE PHOTO
The ultimate underdogs were the Villanova Wildcats in 1985, the only No. 8 seed to win the NCAA Tournament.    FILE PHOTO
Posted: March 24, 2013

March Madness has taken over. Work has ground to a halt in most offices in

America. Brackets dominate talk at the watercooler, and the office pool is fated to be won by someone who thinks Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is an al Qaeda terrorist. Over the last decade, March Madness has become romanticized and certain myths about it seem to have taken hold.

Two of these myths are that the tournament is dominated by stunning upsets, which shatter brackets with regularity, and that underdogs rule.

Well, anyone who knows me knows that I love dogs. I have two wonderful golden retrievers, Ginger and Maggie, who we rescued. They are the apple of my eye. While underdogs might have a day or two, in the end the chalk usually prevails.

Consider that since 1979, when the NCAA began seeding teams, no 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th or 16th seed has made it to the Final Four. Only three No. 11s (VCU in 2011, George Mason in 2006 and LSU in 1986) have; no No. 10s have, and only one ninth seed made it to the Final Four (the Penn Quakers in 1979).

That's pretty amazing, considering there have been 34 Final Fours since seeding began. The 1985 Villanova Wildcats are the lowest seed ever to win the tournament (No. 8), and no fifth or seventh seed has ever become champion. Nineteen of the 34 champions have been No. 1 seeds and 30 winners came from the top three seeds. So it's pretty clear that "Chalk Rules!"

Of course, there are always exceptions. There were 4 years when the "Madness" made it to the Final Four. In 1980, the four teams in the semifinals were a No. 8 seed (UCLA), a No. 6 (Purdue), a No. 5 (Iowa) and a No. 2, eventual winner Louisville. In 2000, there were two eights (Wisconsin and North Carolina) and a five (Florida) who joined the eventual winner, the top-seeded Michigan State Spartans. In 2006, 11th-seeded George Mason was the Cinderella, surrounded by three high seeds - Florida (3), UCLA (2) and LSU (4). But the most amazing year of the dog occurred in 2011, when, if you totaled up the four semifinalists' seeds, it was 26 - by far the highest of any of the 34 Final Fours. One semifinal game matched an 11th seed, VCU, against an eighth seed, Butler. That game paired the two lowest seeds of any game in the 34 Final Fours. It simply is untrue that the fans were chanting "Alpo, Alpo" during the battle won by, yes, the Butler "Bulldogs."

As you're reading this, the field has been reduced to 32. Are there any eights or below that you think can make it to the Final Four? Any that might win it all?

For teams seeded sixth or lower that remain, tell me your pick to make it to the Final Four. The person whose choice goes the farthest wins lunch for two at the Palm with or without me (your choice) and an autographed copy of my book, A Nation of Wusses.

If there are multiple winners, we pick the winner's name out of a Liberty U hat. Email your entry to asktheguv@gmail.com.

All I can say is good luck and woof, woof!


Email: asktheguv@gmail.com

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