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Parity

Ken Pomeroy, the man who coined the term "Doomsday Scenario" for four seeds in a Final Four, looks at the Final Four and sees, well, doom:

Second, it provides increasing evidence that we’ve entered an era of decreased parity. In 2005, the two best teams in the country met in the final game. Last season, we were just three games from realizing the Doomsday Scenario, while Florida completed a run of 12 consecutive tournament wins.

Conventional wisdom says that the increase of players leaving early for the NBA increases parity. I think it’s becoming clear that the opposite is true. If every player stayed four years, the top high school talent would be better dispersed, because blue-chippers are looking for playing time first. The way it is now, top talent is just as likely to find playing time at the traditional powers as anywhere else.

That’s the case this season. Keep in mind that three of the four teams still alive lost players to the NBA last season that had eligibility remaining, yet this group of four was the most dominant group of top seeds we’ve ever seen.

His partner, John Gasaway expands on the idea further, blaming the early exits to the pros and the new NBA requirement preventing players from jumping straight to the pros from high school. Frankly, they're both overreacting.

There's a simpler explanation for the preponderance of high seeds in the Final Four of late - the selection committee is getting better at seeding teams. Conferences have coagulated into larger and larger collections, there are more non-conference meetings of the upper eschelon teams, and it's all broadcasted to the entire country. You just can't be a flawed team and slip into a number one seed anymore; the big conferences throw too many high quality opponents at you.

This is not a bad thing. Really. Somewhere along the line, people started thinking the Madness part of March Madness was the only selling point, leading to absolute idiocy like, well, Matthew Yglesias. Upsets are a feature, but not the end-all be-all of the sport. Consider that in this, the chalkiest tournament ever, had two number two seeds dropped in the second round and a ten seed that came within a last second shot of being the second-lowest seed to ever make the final weekend.

Having the teams everyone consider ed the best fight it out for the championship is not a bad thing. You want to spend column inches arguing whether Kevin Love or Tyler Hansbrough should be player of the year? Now there's a decent chance you can see them match up against one another. The two most efficient offenses in the nation face off on Saturday. You get three of the top five defenses. It's good basketball. We like good basketball! Honest! That the top overall seed has made the Final Four three times in the last six years is not a cause for emergency. If the game survived UCLA winning every year for a millenium, it will survive this. Trust me.