Mad Final Four lacks Kansas or Ohio State? Tough

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Anyone complaining that the Final Four is lacking because the “best teams” aren’t still playing, Michael Ventre has news for you.

They are still playing.

His weekly Trash Talk feature for us focuses on the surprise additions of VCU and Butler to the Final Four and that Kansas and Ohio State, the top two contenders, didn’t make it. The Jayhawks and Buckeyes may have been the better teams during the season, but faltered when it matters because another team played the game of its life.. That’s a deal-breaker for Ventre.

The most often mentioned example of this argument is the 1985 title game, in which Villanova upset Georgetown. Many pundits marginalize it by saying that the Wildcats happened to shoot out of their minds on one given day against a more powerful team. But the fact is that it was a winner-take-all situation, Villanova rose to the occasion mentally, and Georgetown didn’t. Period.

The “anything can happen in one game” argument doesn’t fly either. Everybody involved knows what the format is going in. Your team is advised at the beginning that it has to play a regular season, and do well enough to qualify for the NCAA tournament, which is single elimination. You know that. So if your team doesn’t bring it when called upon, it can’t possibly be the better team, or the best team.

Win when it matters. I’ll buy that. There’s a certain amount of luck involved – sometimes, those shots just don’t fall – but that’s the breaks of the game.

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