The Byrd Cage

Bracket Bust

In Game Posts on February 5, 2013 at 5:30 pm

Bracket Bummer

When the Bracket Busters matchups were announced on Monday night, there was much weeping and gnashing of teeth among the ByrdCage crew. One Cager, who shall remain anonymous, even resorted to an all-caps email. It was intense.

I was upset. I still am. The best possible matchup for Belmont would have been Creighton. A win over Creighton would have greatly bolstered Belmont’s case for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. A loss to Creighton would not have been so detrimental as to unseat the Bruins from their position comfortably atop the OVC.

But ESPN owns the show and ESPN doesn’t care about Belmont’s RPI. Frankly, ESPN could not care less whether Belmont comes close to the NCAA Tournament. Let’s be honest about who ESPN is. The Big Four Letter is an entertainment company. ESPN’s goal is to get viewers, listeners, page views, clicks, shares, likes, etc. The more they get of all those things, the more they can charge advertisers. ESPN has no obligation to us or any other fan of any other team to provide the best sports matchup (see: the BCS).

A couple weeks ago, Belmont faithful were elated about the possibility of a Bracket Busters matchup with Creighton. The Twitterverse of media members in the know in mid-major basketball foresaw the matchup as the hands-down best Bracket Busters game. However, almost overnight, the mood changed. The sentiment went from hopeful to almost decidedly bitter. Matt Norlander, college basketball writer for CBS Sports shared in this negative outlook. (you’ll have to click it – sorry)

Twitter 1

Should we be mad at ESPN for the snub? Should we boycott a tip off set for 9 PM on a Saturday night? No. Regardless of who Belmont plays (or when or on what cable channel) the need to win hasn’t changed.

Since the 2006 season, the expectations of fans of Belmont’s basketball program have risen dramatically. Ten years ago, Belmont would not have been considered for a weekend primetime game on ESPN. Belmont would not have been featured in multiple national news stories in late January and early February. Belmont would not be on a nine-game conference win streak. So much has changed about this program and for those of us who have been along for the ride it’s hard to see those shifts.

But one thing still hasn’t changed and probably never will: Belmont has to win. It’s that simple. Belmont has to win to move from the Atlantic Sun to the OVC. Belmont has to win to get into the NCAA Tournament. Belmont has to win to get better players. Belmont has to win to get more media coverage. Belmont has to win to get more butts in seats at the Curb. Belmont has to win and for the past seven years has been winning. But winning doesn’t earn Belmont a seat at the big boy table. Belmont has to win all the time. Belmont has to win regardless of what name is on the jersey of the players at the other end. Be it Creighton, Ohio, Murray State, Wisconsin, or Georgetown: Belmont has to win.

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  1. WE SHOULD BE MAD AT ESPN – what are you talking about?

  2. […] Needless to say, we’re upset.  We deserve better.  Matt Sherrill did a brilliant job summing up how heartbreaking this whole situation is in his article yesterday. […]

  3. They just got upended by Tennessee State tonight, Belmont sucks. Ohio and St. Mary’s have won in the NCAA Tournament, Belmont haven’t. Quit crying about your overrated, one-dimensional team.

  4. […] honest – its hard –  and for a number of reasons. The first is obvious and on record: we wanted Creighton.  This is no knock on Ohio but we wanted to throw the best team available into the Curb so we […]

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