As Syracuse Orange fans are well aware at this point, there's a lot of folks out there who simply don't like the fact that the Orange have made it to the Final Four. They've got a lot of different reasons for this, most of which boil down to "I don't like Jim Boeheim, " I don't like Syracuse," and "They got lucky."
Fair enough. Everyone can have their opinion, even if they're wrong.
However, there's one prevailing feeling I've been sensing out there that I hadn't heard articulated until Thursday morning. ESPN Radio's Mike Greenberg was discussing how he felt if Syracuse were to win the National Title this season and he came to the conclusion that "If Syracuse wins the championship...then the whole season's a joke."
Greenberg then went on to explain that he feels that the National Championship should not be one game but a best two-out-of-three series.
"If Syracuse wins a championship in one game or Syracuse wins a championship in two out of three games, what's the difference?"
"It will feel a little more real," Greenberg said. "No, no it won't" Golic responded.
Where do we begin?
First of all, why didn't you need a best two-out-of-three when it was 1-seed Wisconsin vs. 1-seed Duke last year? Why was one game sufficient for that and every other championship game before it? Suddenly it's not because a high seed wins fives games to get there?
Second of all, if you don't like the idea of a 10-seed making it to the Final Four and potentially winning the National Championship, don't have an NCAA Tournament. Problem solved. Just do it the way college football does it. You know, that system everyone loves so much... Just take the four best teams and call it a day.
Third of all, once again, all Syracuse did was beat the teams in front of them. Your implication, that Syracuse doesn't belong to be in the Final Four, assumes that they somehow made 2-seed Michigan State's lose to Middle Tennessee State, 6-seed Seton Hall lose to 11-seed Gonzaga and 3-seed Utah lose to 11-seed Gonzaga. If Michigan State should have been there, they should have beaten their 15-seed opponent. If 1-seed Virginia was supposed to be here, they should have beaten Syracuse and not folded like a house of cards as soon Syracuse started pressing.
The entire point of the NCAA Tournament, whether you like it or not, is that it democratizes college basketball's race to the National Championship. A 16-seed from a conference you've never heard of has a chance just as much as the 1-seed they're playing. All you have to do is qualify and once you do that you've got a shot. It's the most American sporting event there is.
"But it de-legitimizes the regular season!" Guess what? So does every other playoff in every other sport. I hate to break it to you but if your sport has a playoff then the point of a regular season, ultimately, is to determine playoff seeding. That's true of the NFL, where Wild Card teams routinely make it to the Super Bowl, the MLB, where Wild Card teams routinely make it to the World Series, and college basketball, where 10-seeded Syracuse has a shot to make it to the Final Four.
There's a reason no one remembers who won what in the regular season. And there's a reason we only remember who made it to the Final Four and who won the National Championship. Because the NCAA Tournament is what matters. You want credit for winning your conference? Here's a sticker. I'll take the National Title.
So cry like a baby if Syracuse wins but that's your trade-off for the most exciting four days in American sports. If you want the Cinderellas and the upsets and the amazing games and the thrilling moments, the flip side is that a team that didn't win 28 games might get hot and win it all. It doesn't happen often, in fact this Syracuse team is one hell of an outlier, but every once in a while it does happen. Isn't that what makes it all so exciting and unpredictable.
My advice? Get the f*** over it and send me your t-shirt size and an address.