According to Wikipedia, "parity" (in sports) is achieved when all participating teams enjoy roughly equivalent levels of talent. In such a league, the "best" team is not significantly better than the "worst" team. In theory, this leads to more competitive contests where the winner cannot be easily predicted in advance. All the wikies need to do is simply embed the Pac-10 men's basketball standings as an insert to exemplify this concept. This begs the obvious question: "What does this mean for the good guys in one of their worst seasons in modern recorded history?"
This morning's Sagarin ratings only have two Pac-10 teams in the top 64 (Cal is 31st and ASU is 42nd, and we have beaten them both even though we are ranked 144th ahead of only the Beavers at 178th). See Jeff Sagarin NCAA basketball ratings for a nice chuckle. Anyhoo, I bring this up because it is becoming evermore likely that the Pac-10 may only get one seed to the Big Dance . . . and, of course, that boils down to whomever is fortunate enough to win the Pac-10 . . . err . . . Pac-9 SUC-less Tourney. Yes, even our guys can get into the Show despite losing the rest of their games this year if they can beat three other also-rans in the Small Dance.
Should UCLA be that team, we'd likely get a 13 seed and have the joy of facing North Carolina in Charlotte or something, but most of us would clearly take that over nothing. We aren't getting Title #12 anytime soon, but I still want to see UCLA in my brackets come March. So if the Small Dance is going to determine our fate, how does SUC's absence therefrom this season play into our hands? Has the Pac-10 released the 2010 seeding adjustments to account for a 9-team field? If they simply put a hole where SUC would have been seeded, giving some lucky team like us a first round buy, does that mean we only need to beat two other equally crummy teams to punch our ticket this year? Or, does the buy go to the top seed . . . and, if so, how does that affect the play-in games for the teams seeded 7-10? And if SUC is only of those teams, does their would-be opponent get the buy?
Needless to say, if UCLA had to pick a year to take a sabbatical, this year was the one to do it. And should the heavens part and the devine light leads our guys to the promise land, would you really want to be Carolina?