armchair cultural observation since 1995

College basketball oligarchy

The dynastic UCLA period that ended that weekend had not been good for the tournament. The Bruins even managed to win two championships in the Sidney Wicks-Steve Patterson interregnum between the lordly reigns of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Walton. There was a sense, always, of forgone conclusion to the proceedings. Once UCLA finally lost, though, and its 1975 championship notwithstanding, the tournament cracked wide open. The next five champions were, in order, Indiana, Marquette, Kentucky, Michigan State, and Louisville. There wasn’t another repeat winner until Duke went back to back in 1991 and 1992. Why, then, did this year’s tournament—which has been one of the most boring on record with one, count it, memorable game, the Villanova-Pittsburgh East Regional final—seem to have about it the musty, fusty aroma of those days when UCLA won it every year? Because instead of UCLA winning it every year, there are now between five and nine UCLAs that can win it every year. It’s just as sterile and dynastic as it used to be.

Charles Pierce

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1 Response »

  1. Wow! This guy was thinking the same exact thing that I was thinking.

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