armchair cultural observation since 1995

Missing Cinderella

So was it just bad luck that the little guys fell shy of knocking off Goliath this year? Or is there something different about this year’s tournament that made an upset less likely? Watching the Siena and East Tennessee games, it was hard not to wonder whether the endlessly hyped mythology of the Cinderella has started to affect the players as well as the fans. Today’s players know that draining a 3-pointer to drop a top seed, a la Bryce Drew, will be better remembered than nearly anything in college basketball except winning it all—a goal realistic for only a handful of teams each year. So perhaps it isn’t surprising that when faced with a moment that has the potential for repeated replays every March, some kids ditch the disciplined play that brought them to the brink of upset. Had one or two of the teams just kept their focus late in the game, no one would be labeling this tournament ‘boring.’

Robert Weintraub

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