And it’s not even close.
Kevin Pelton over at Basketball Prospectus updated his graph that best illustrates how out of whack this year’s Final Four is in comparison to previous years.
The other spikes are from 2000 (two 8 seeds made the Final Four) and 2006 (George Mason crashed it), but it can’t compete with this year’s 3, 4, 8 and 11 seeds. Heck, even when 11 seed LSU made the Final Four in 1986, it couldn’t throw it off completely with two 1s and a 2 joining it.
For more on this, read Pelton’s chalk “obit” from last year. It’s written for a different field, but many of the same conclusions apply.
Now I’m wondering how long all this lasts. As more and more talent is spread out among mid-major schools and the major schools continue to incorporate one-and-done talent, the continued likelihood of more non-chalk Final Four seems pretty high.
Especially if teams are going to make 43 percent of their 3-pointers in five NCAA tournament games or recover from a poor start and spend the last seven weeks playing absurdly good basketball. When the Butlers and VCUs of the aren’t among the teams to beat, it sets up a tournament that’s ripe for upsets.
The same is true of teams such as Notre Dame or Louisville overperform during the season, grab a high seed then catch a few bad breaks in the tournament. Everything’s wide open.
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