The “left side” of the 2018 NCAA Tournament bracket is utter chaos. Loyola-Chicago reached the Elite Eight as a No. 11 seed after winning three games by four points combined. Kansas State upended Kentucky in stunning (and bizarre) fashion. Michigan needed a high-profile escape against Houston to even reach the second weekend. Finally, Florida State took advantage of an untimely injury to Gonzaga’s Killian Tillie and navigated the field as a No. 9 seed.
In short, storylines abound from the South and West regions, and in some ways, that is what March Madness is all about. However, the East and Midwest regions finished with essentially chalk on Friday evening, and while “boring” from some angles, there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. In fact, television executives and casual fans are probably thrilled to see top seeds in Villanova, Kansas, Duke and Texas Tech.
Yes, Cinderella stories are exceedingly memorable, and this tournament has them all over the place. In addition to Loyola-Chicago (and Sister Jean), UMBC made history, and No. 13 seeds like Buffalo and Marshall made a dent during the opening hours of the frenzy. At the end of the process, though, fans actually want to see big-name programs in the mix, and television ratings, since the beginning of time, drive that point across.