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Final Four: Men’s Basketball Soundly Defeats Parity, Too

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So all that jazz about men's basketball having more upsets than their female counterparts? Feel free to redact that entire sentiment.

Your Final Four for the 2008 NCAA basketball tournament: Kansas, Memphis, North Carolina, and UCLA. All one seeds. Oddly, enough, this is the first time all No. 1s have made advanced through their respective regions. Every year, even so much as a scrawny 2nd-seeded powerhouse ekes through the bracket.

This is about as exciting as cheering for record profits from Wal-Mart, Exxon, Halliburton, and Microsoft. One would imagine at least one, perhaps two or three, of those companies would excel in the first quarter, but imagine if all four conglomerates concurrently hit the corporate jackpot. There's really no course of action except to delay one's faith in capitalism for another year.

Because it's the Final Four. We need an underdog. One doesn't exist, unless you count Memphis. And we shouldn't, because even though they're the lone representative from the mediocre Conference USA, they obliterated everyone in their path — including 2nd-seeded Texas and 5th-seeded Michigan State in their past two games — losing only at in-state rival Tennessee, who was a No. 2 seed this year.

Last year, we had a couple of No. 2s slip through to the Final Four, those teams being Georgetown and UCLA. And two years ago was the year of George Mason. A freakin' 11 seed in the Final Four. Moreover, not a single No. 1 seed was in the 2007 Final Four. Those were the days.

But we don't have anything close to a seeded underdog. Instead it's Memphis and three other oil tycoons. Kansas has been one of the favorites all year. North Carolina is the media darling's favorite, coming from the underrepresented ACC. And UCLA … well, they're just so freakin' experienced, the seniors on the team already have experience in a championship game and two Final Fours.

Tenth-seeded Davidson had their chance to become this year's Final Four surprise, but they fell two points shy to Kansas, 59-57. The de facto Cinderella of the team, the tiny school from Charlotte, was the only team who came remotely close to winning a game in the Round of Eight. Louisville, Xavier, and Texas all went down with about as much resistance as the wind emanating from a referee's whistle when a UCLA player charges into a defender. (Which is none. Get it?)

But on the other side, most of the tournament games have been a sudden cure for insomnia, with the close ones coming in the first few rounds. Perhaps this means that four great teams, when in the same venue, will produce three equally amazing games. And if you were cheering for one of the Duke brothers to win that one-dollar bet in Trading Spaces, then this year's Final Four might be right up your alley.

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