What makes the NCAA Men’s basketball tournament so fascinating? Easy question. It’s hard to win the thing. It is not watered down like the high school state tournaments are. With very few exceptions-- specifically most  #16 seeds—the teams are relatively even.  The on the floor differences between Louisville, Kentucky, Ohio State and Kansas and most of the other teams granted bids is pretty slim. The Final Four got to New Orleans because they have been the best at playing good to excellent basketball over extended periods. Consistent, smart, sound basketball pays off. That’s what got the Final Four to New Orleans.  Winning the national title means winning six games against the best competition available.

Illinois and Indiana used to have similar events when they had one and two classes of high school basketball. Going to four classes fewer wins are needed to win a big trophy.  Adding the classes in Illinois took two games off the tough end of the tournament. Those tournaments are watered down. The NCAA isn’t.