Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Midwest Region – Rodney Dangerfield Region

Perhaps we should introduce a new adjective in the English language named after the late, great, comedian Rodney Dangerfield termed “Rodneyed” and meaning ‘no respect’ as it seems to come up when discussing sports quite often, and specifically during March Madness. From bubbles bursting to shafty seeding although no longer with us his presence seems ubiquitous, particularly in the Midwest region of the tourney. Since their Final Four run of last year the Wichita State Shockers have been written off as one-hit wonders and not given a whole lot of respect, and one would think being the first school to go undefeated since the 91’ UNLV Runnin’ Rebels would answer those critics but that hasn’t been the case. Despite going unbeaten and really not being challenged, the Shockers have been afflicted with “Mid-Major disease” where the symptoms are, lack of acknowledgment regardless of your record, unless you beat the best in the nation AND cut down the nets in April. Well, they will certainly get their chance as most pundits have labeled the Midwest Region the “group of death” if there was one, where they will have to beat such prestigious universities as Kentucky, Louisville, and Michigan if they were to get back to the Final Four. That would and should be enough to silence the critics even if they don’t walk away with the nets. Rodneyed. As much as Rodney would be relating to Wichita St. if he was still with us (God rest his soul), the defending champs also would want to throw a couple back with Rappin’ Rodney and swap stories. Despite winning the American Athletic Conference(which obviously gets less respect than Conference USA) and boasting 29-win season, Rick Patino’s gang could only garner a 4-seed. Now I may have failed bracketology in high school but if you’re number 5 in country in the final poll, then the worst seed you should mathematically get would be a 2 (putting you and best 5 and worst an 8 meaning you would actually drop 3 spots in the polls even though you won your conference regular season and tourney championship) especially if you’re the defending champ and you even resemble the team you were last season, let alone almost winning freakin’ 30 games then you should be on one of the top two lines. Rodneyed. There seems to be a lot more emphasis on the Conference Tournaments this year as illustrated by Michigan getting demoted from a top seed going into selection Sunday to a number 2-seed after getting whacked by rival Michigan State in the B-10 Tourney Final. Alright then shouldn’t have Arizona suffered the same fate after losing to unranked UCLA in the Pac-12 tourney final? Rodneyed? Lastly, how bout’ the pre-season top-ranked team that won 24 games in the SEC despite being perpetual organ donors for the NBA draft? Kentucky fell all the way to the 8th seed (that makes them no better than 32nd in the nation despite being the top 10 for most of the year an finishing at 22? Rodneyed. See it fits! Now of course the antidote to being “Rodneyed” is simply to win on the court. So despite and in spite of people or process you can make a closing argument that you were better than everyone thought and apologies are in order. And that’s what make this the greatest event in American sports, at the end of the day there will be one school singing one shining moment with their coach dancing very badly in front of 50 million people, and able to say that they’re undisputedly the best the country, and not you or their affiliation with the late, great, Rodney Dangerfield can take that away from them. View the complete tournament bracket here......

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