CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Before you trash those busted brackets, let's take one last look at the NCAA men's basketball tournament.
With all the upsets and calamity that ensued over the past month as Louisville stormed to the championship, very few things were considered "givens.''
One of those was the almost-universal condemnation of Gonzaga as the surprise No. 1 seed in the West Region, especially after the Bulldogs lost to Wichita State in the round of 32 (aka the second round to most fans).
The Zags were the first No. 1 seed to fall, but were quickly followed by Kansas and Indiana in the Sweet 16. Louisville was the only No. 1 to reach the Final Four, and the lone team to bring sanity to a group in Atlanta that included two No. 4 seeds and a No. 9.
So was Gonzaga really that much of a bust? Remember, Wichita State ultimately made believers out of a lot of people, storming past No. 2 seed Ohio State in the regional final to get to the Final Four and, once there, narrowly losing to Louisville 72-68.
Or were the Bulldogs unworthy of a top seed since, as their detractors claimed, they played in a weak league - the mid-major West Coast Conference? Well, the pickings there might not seem as easy when you look at what other WCC teams did in the postseason.
So maybe those WCC teams Gonzaga beat up on all season weren't pushovers after all.
But the thing everyone overlooks when throwing the Zags under the bus - what about all those No. 2 seeds, teams that many felt should have been rated No. 1 instead of Gonzaga? None of them made the Final Four, either.
Georgetown, in fact, didn't even win a game, losing to Cinderella Florida Gulf Coast in the round of 64. Miami lost in the Sweet 16, and Ohio State and Duke fell in the Elite Eight.
If you discount Louisville's imperviousness to March Madness, the other No. 1 seeds and all the No. 2s went a modest 13-7 in the tournament. If you include the No. 3 seeds, it's a pedestrian 21-11. Not exactly domination by the best programs in the country.
So piling on the Zags seems a bit much. Let's just chalk it up to increasing parity in Division I. The Zags may not be poster children for underachieving, but at least they had a lot of company in their misery.