When you think college basketball, you typically think, Duke, Kentucky, Kansas, North Carolina, but what if I told you that the most exciting brand of basketball happened across the country at the mid-major level.
College basketball is the only sport where no matter how big your budget is or the type of talent you have, everybody is on the same playing field. Sure, you might get lucky and win the National Championship, but usually, a mid-major is there to ruin your day. These are the programs that have very little extra money to spend on building, but they're also the same teams that bust brackets and destroy seasons.
Mid-major basketball started captivating the hearts of college basketball fans across the country back in 1979, where the Indiana State Sycamores and the Penn Quakers advanced to the Final Four, where the Sycamores eventually lost in the National Championship to Michigan State, but love had been born.
Since that Final Four in 1979, America has become obsessed with basketball at the mid-major level. Since that Final Four, college basketball has seen a total of fifteen final four teams, and the first-ever 16 seed over a one seed.
This season has seen complete dominance from three mid-majors ranked within the top six in the country, including an undefeated San Diego State team, a high flying Dayton Flyers team, and a household name in the Gonzaga Bulldogs. All three teams have a legitimate shot at winning the National Championship this year, which in turn could send shockwaves through the college basketball world.
This season alone, it was two mid-majors pulling off this season's biggest upsets.
First, it was the Evansville Purple Aces going into Lexington, Kentucky and, pulling off the complete shocker defeating the top-ranked Wildcats 67-64.
A few days later, it was the Lumberjacks of Stephen F Austin going into Cameron Indoor Stadium and pulling off the stunner over the top-ranked Duke Blue Devils 85-83.
In a season full of the unexpected, basketball at the mid-major level has reminded all of us what makes college basketball so pure and amazing. Sure, these teams aren't the money maker that drives the business, but they are what makes the sport so great. Every game matters to these teams, with one bad bounce each one of these teams could miss out on the NCAA Tournament and that alone, should excite even the novice of fans, as you get yourself ready for March don't forget to tune into basketball at the mid-major level.