Consider me part of the “win ‘em all” group.
During the last few months of every season, the same discussion always arises. Would a team that’s rolling – this year it’s No. 1 Kentucky (30-1), which dispatched of everyone in the SEC without a loss – be better off to lose a game before the NCAA tournament game in order to stop, reflects and regain some focus?
That’s always seemed like a way to deflect pressure, but it never made much sense to me. Losing isn’t a good thing. It might help illustrate a few faults, but any coach that has a championship caliber team knows what that team’s faults are. The players know. They don’t need a loss to help them. (Especially not these top-ranked Wildcats.)
Why mess with a good thing?
Thankfully, Mike Rutherford over at Card Chronicle did some research and posted it for all to see that losing a conference tournament really has no bearing on how a team performs in the NCAA tournament.
This is a sentiment that I believe demands a rebuking.
While it’s certainly possible that there are teams out there that would benefit from a swift kick in the ass, far more often than not, those squads aren’t going to be winning championships anyway. The groups that need more than three days of rest to be 100 percent for a game and the ones that aren’t mature enough to approach each and every contest with the right mindset probably aren’t worthy of much faith in your office pool. If a team doesn’t have the focus to win in early March or the legs to win three games in three days, then it likely doesn’t have the focus to win in late March, or the legs to win six games in three weeks.
The point I’m trying to make isn’t necessarily that there’s a direct correlation between conference tournament success and NCAA Tournament success — the best teams in the country win games, that’s not one-handed brain surgery — I’m just trying to say that there is not a benefit to bowing out early in a conference tournament. “Good losses” are for Little League teams and politicians.
It’s quite an exhaustive list, as you can see here. Makes sense, too. In an event where an overwhelming favorite has essentially a 25-30 percent chance to win six straight games, an extra loss isn’t going to help them focus. It’s just a loss.
Go win ‘em all.
You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.