There are a lot of storylines in college basketball this season, but one, it seems, is dominating more than any other. It’s not that we have a Goliath that looks poised to cut down the nets in Houston. It’s that, well, we have the exact opposite.
“It’s got to be the fact that who the heck knows what’s going to happen this year?” CBS Sports college basketball analyst Steve Lappas said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “We kind of say it a little bit every year (that it’s wide open), but this year we’re talking about six No. 1 teams have lost. It’s already a record for how many have lost that were ranked No. 1. So this is as crazy a year as there’s going to be. I think usually you can pick two teams (that are clearly better than everyone else). Last year you had Kentucky going undefeated, you had Wisconsin, you had Duke – you had three teams that were definitely better than everybody else. Now you have probably 30 teams that can make the Final Four. You probably have 20 different teams that can win the title. This is as crazy and as wide open as it’s ever been.”
Does that mean, then, that the regular season doesn’t matter a whole lot this year? College basketball, according to many, has one of the least meaningful regular seasons in all of sports. Why? Because either you’re in the tournament or you’re not, and if you are, you have to run the table.
So, does the regular season matter? Especially this year?
“Well, it means a lot for the teams that are on the bubble,” Lappas said. “In a way, it doesn’t mean a lot for the whole country. You have these mid-major teams that it’s all about what they do in their conference tournament, but they play all year for seeding. So I’m not going to tell you that the regular season doesn’t matter because seeding matters and that’s what the regular season is going to get you. And again, you got those last eight or 10 teams that aren’t going to get in if they don’t have good regular seasons. So the regular season matters and I think it always matters.
“Now, does it matter for the top seeds?” Lappas continued. “Well, in a year like this, it definitely does. Because who would have thought Villanova before the season started could be a 1-seed? So it’s a crazy year. I think the regular season definitely matters. Does it matter as much to the great teams? Probably not.”