Beating the No. 1 ranked college basketball team should be a big deal. In 2016 it’s becoming the norm.
Xavier’s home win over top ranked Villanova on Wednesday was the SEVENTH time the No. 1 team in the nation has fallen this season (and the sixth different team to lose while ranked No. 1).
In other words, all six teams that have held the crown, cracked shortly after receiving it.
North Carolina, Kentucky, Michigan State, Kansas, Oklahoma and now ‘Nova have all been unable to hold on. No team has sat atop the rankings for more than four consecutive weeks — and a couple scenarios have taken as little as two weeks for the No. 1 team to collapse.
UNC has lost to the likes of Northern Iowa. Tom Izzo’s Spartans dropped one to Nebraska. The list goes on and on. I mean, Kentucky saw its first loss in the Final Four last season … This year they’ve already been beat by SIX unranked teams!
So what does this all mean?
Well, we’re going to see some great theatre in March, that’s for sure. Has there been a season you can remember where the difference between a 1-seed and a 4-seed in the tournament will be this razor thin? Hell, we may have a couple 4-seeds in the mix that are previous No. 1 overall teams …
But doesn’t it also mean that this year likely provides as great a chance as any for the heralded, yet never before seen 16-seed over 1-seed upset? I cant think of a better year for it, so I’m calling it now.
When the committee sits down in March, this isn’t going to be a year where three, or maybe even all four 1-seeds are etched in stone because of their resumes. No matter what four teams land top seeds, they’re weaker than any four in previous years.
Seven 15-seeds have upset 2-seeds in the past. It’s even happened three times since 2012. This season’s 1-seeds, in the eyes of many, are no better than the Georgetown, Duke or Missouri teams that fell as 2-seeds in 2013 and 2012.
Winthrop, North Florida, Wagner or Bucknell (four of the teams listed as 16-seeds in ESPN’s latest Bracketology) have the potential to become one of the most exciting storylines we’ve even seen in college Basketball. Let’s hope one of those small schools out there is ready to start dancing on the big stage. 2016 is going to be the year we see a first we’ve been waiting a long time for in college hoops.