“Pitt is a really good team,” Biedenbach said of his team’s upcoming opponent. “We’re 145th in the RPI. They’re in the top 10. They’re that good. If they go out there and play a great game, make shots and we play well, we’ll try to make a game of it.”
Somehow, in all the great motivational speeches in history, the line “we’ll try to make a game of it” has never popped up, and you can forgive his players for failing to be inspired by such a statement.
Yet, not all 16 seeds are as accepting of their fate as losers.
At Boston University, a school that’s perhaps never once been known for its basketball, the players and coaches are taking a “why not us?” approach to their first-round meeting with Kansas.
“It’s going to have to happen eventually, so you never know,” senior John Holland told the Boston Herald, regarding a 16 seed topping a 1 seed. “I don’t think it has anything to do with being intimidated. It’s just a matter of executing.”
Of course, it’s not that simple. The Terriers could execute at 135 percent and still lose to Kansas, even if the Jayhawks were operating at 80 percent. To a certain degree, it is execution, and to a certain degree, it is luck, but there’s also the degree of inevitability. As Holland said, at some point, this is going to have to happen.
Trying to predict when it’ll happen is a fool’s game, but it’s equally as foolish to say it’ll never happen. The people who will dismiss your argument by saying “It’s never happened before!” are the same people who fill out terrible brackets and lose their money every year. The only certain thing in March is that uncertainty runs wild, and the best way to look bad is to try to act like you know what you’re talking about.
History works against any argument of logic. Aside from the “never happened before” refrain you’ve heard dozens of times in the past 24 hours alone, the games aren’t often close. There hasn’t been a 1-16 matchup that was decided by five points or less since 1996. However, it was just two years ago that the top-seeded Pitt Panthers sputtered against East Tennessee State. The Panthers led by just three at the half, and they led by just two points with less than four minutes in the game. Had Eastern Tennessee hit one more 3-pointer, committed one fewer turnover or made one more defensive stop, history would have been made right there. To say it can’t ever happen because it’s never happened is just too simplistic.
Is it logical to believe that BU, Hampton, UNC-Asheville or the winner of Wednesday night’s game has a good chance to beat a top-ranked opponent? No, of course not. You just better be ready for when it happens.
Will a 16 seed ever beat a 1 seed? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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