Oh, so you were bold enough to put SMU into the Elite Eight? Really caught up in that Vermont hype and had the Catamounts mount a Sweet 16 run? Were you the one person who actually thought Miami could beat two of the 10 greatest college basketball programs ever in a single weekend?
Nah. We don’t believe you.
Now look, maybe you really were sold on Minnesota or Maryland. And if that’s the case, our best advice is: do more research next time. The Golden Gophers were the most over-seeded team in the tournament, and the Terrapins have flopped since February began.
But here’s the thing, pal: The first round of this NCAA tournament was – well, we’re not calling it March Madness quite yet. Ten of the 16 second-round matchups are “chalk,” as in both higher seeds won. At least four of the supposed seeding “upsets” – No. 9 Michigan State beating No. 8 Miami, No. 10 Wichita State knocking off No. 7 Dayton, No. 11 Rhode Island dropping No. 6 Creighton and No. 12 Middle Tennessee stunning No. 5 Minnesota – were favored by oddsmakers.
The biggest actual surprise of Round 1, by far, was SMU losing to Southern California. USC had to win a play-in game, which pretty much guarantees most people won’t pick them to win on their bracket. Who really waits until after the First Four games to fill everything out?
SMU forward Semi Ojeleye after the loss. (Brett Rojo, USA TODAY Sports)
So we’ll hear you out, Mustangs faithful. Maybe SMU really would have knocked off Baylor, which hasn’t played well over the past six weeks. Maybe the 30-4 sixth seed could have even put a scare into No. 2 Duke, even though we all know the Blue Devils are going to win it all as much as we hate to admit it.
By the same token, you were trusting a head coach and most of a roster that had never been to the tournament before. That came to roost when Tim Jankovich failed to call a timeout, trusting his sophomore point guard as Shake Milton missed what would have been the game-winning buzzer-beating layup.
So yeah, SMU people, even if you thought this team had some juice, how much? I mean, look at this bracket. Now look at your own bracket. You’ve probably got your whole Final Four. Either seven or all eight of your Elite Eight teams. How many Sweet 16-ers? Twelve, at least. And if you don’t, you were trying too hard. Or not enough.
And no one wants to hear it.
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