Every March you hear the terms “The Big Dance” or “March Madness”, also known as the NCAA basketball tournament. Each year teams from the unknown look to upset the best teams in the nation. One of the most memorable runs in tournament history was Davidson’s run to the Elite 8 before falling to eventual champion Kansas Jayhawks. Teams like Davidson are often refereed to as the “Cinderella” story of the tournament, overcoming all odds to defeat the clearly superior team on paper. In recent history there have been a number of teams who have made themselves household names because of their performance on the big stage. Do the teams Dayton, Florida Gulf Coast, Butler, Davidson, and Wichita State ring a bell?
Gordon Hayward’s half court heave that rang in and out may have been a hard pill to swallow but it actually helped put Butler on the map. If you look across the NBA today, many stars are from mid-major or unknown schools. Some examples of this are two time league MVP and NBA champion Stephen Curry from Davidson, Kawhi Leonard from San Diego State, Damian Lillard from Weber State, Paul George from Fresno State and C.J McCollum from Lehigh just to name a few. If these small schools can produce this type of talent, then isn’t it about time mid-major teams like where these players come from get more television time? March Madness is like no other sporting event in the world and people love the thrill of a 11 or 12 seed upsetting a 5 or 6 seed.
The real question here is why wait until March to see these teams play? Why not have lower tier schools get more air time then the constant beat downs that Duke, North Carolina an others alike give to clearly weaker opponents? If you ask most basketball fans they’d like to see a close contested game then the constant blowouts. Sure every year you have a top 25 team lose unexpectedly, but why can’t those games be on the ESPN3 or ESPNews channels and not give ESPN or CBS to some of the Dayton’s of the world? Each year these “Cinderella” teams feed off being the underdog and produce at a high level so why not reward them with more air time. March Madness may only occur once a year but the Cinderella story occurs all year long and it’s time they’re more respected.