Sometimes, strange occurrences cause people to believe in concepts like the supernatural, divine intervention, extradimensional realms and bipartisan politics. But then there are occasions that simply defy logic and make one question the existence of our own reality. That is exactly what’s transpired throughout the crazy events of this current college basketball season.
In fact, it has seemingly created a world so utterly nonsensical, it is eerily reminiscent of the mythical “Bizzaro” world popularized in comics, Seinfeld and other forms of pop culture as an alien dimension that mirrors our conventional reality in an often-disturbing manner.
This Bizzaro basketball season of 2020 already has given us several perplexing anomalies that will keep the most engaged fans scratching their heads and contemplating their perceptions. But before can even approach the event known as “March Madness,” it’s only fitting that we take a closer look at some of these preposterous events:
Parity to the Extreme
The level of parity in today’s college hoops landscape is simply mind-boggling. Upsets are so commonplace that fans are numb to the mere mention of the word. There are no clear-cut dominant teams in this year’s field. When teams like Kentucky and Duke who regularly rank among the elite in recruiting and performance are picked apart by the likes of Evansville and Stephen F. Austin, it points to a playing field more level than any in the history of the game. The top spot in the polls even changed seven times before current #1 Baylor settled in weeks ago. Oh, and the only team to beat Baylor during that span? Washington, currently in last place in the Pac 12.
Madness of the New Three-Point Line
When the NCAA extended the three-point arc to the international distance of 22 feet, 1¾ inches, it was expected that shooting percentages would drop, and they have. But what is uncanny is the fact that most coaches —including those of top-rated teams—failed to adjust their offenses to compensate. In nearly every upset suffered by AP Top 10 teams this season, the higher-ranked team shot well below reasonable three-point norms, averaging a combined 26.3 percent. Have these coaches not figured out how to get more efficient offense from their players? When do you bench players for continually chucking up threes rather than working it in for higher-percentage shots? Why are unranked teams figuring this out faster than their higher-ranked opponents?
Unexplained Talent Void in Chapel Hill
When was the last time a UNC team had a losing record in February? Clearly, there is a mysterious lack of talent in Chapel Hill and nobody knows how it happened. The Tar Heels’ shortcomings became evident once star guard Cole Anthony went down with a knee injury in December, and Roy Williams said as much, claiming this is the “least gifted” team he’s ever coached. Did all of Roy’s players suddenly forget how to play basketball? Or did he listen to the wrong scouting reports when he recruited them? It boggles the mind.
In what world would Coach Mike Krzyzewski turn on the Cameron Crazies fan base? In Duke’s Jan. 28 win over Pittsburgh, Coach K suddenly blew up at the fans for their chanting directed at Pitt coach Jeff Capel. This is so out-of-character for a coach that has so willingly supported the Cameron culture over the years. It’s not like they weren’t doing anything they haven’t done over the years in taunting and inappropriately ridiculing opposing players and coaches. Has Coach K finally had it with these kids? Have they just gotten under his skin like they have with every other human in close proximity? What’s next? The razing of Krzyzewskiville?
The Scarlet Kniggits
When Rutgers was first accepted into the Big Ten conference in 2014, it was widely assumed that it was mainly for football exposure and that basketball would be lucky to draw anything beyond a high school-size crowd. But fate has determined that Rutgers basketball has reached a level of relevance that could propel the program into the NCAA Tournament in March. Yes, the running joke and basement dweller of the toughest, most inappropriately named conference has reached the AP Top 25 poll for the first time since 1979 and is currently on pace to secure its first NCAA bid since 1991. If that doesn’t qualify as lunacy, I don’t know what would.