First, congrats to the Villanova Wildcats, 2016 National college men's hoop champions. The Cats beat the Tar Heels fair and square. Go back one game to the semi-finals and Villanova had absolutely blistered Oklahoma. The Sooners were the last team left from west of the Mississippi.
Meanwhile, North Carolina had dispatched Syracuse -- both most definitely in the eastern reaches of the USA.
On the women's side, Syracuse had trashed Washington and UConn had steam-rolled Oregon State. Two west coast teams up, and two west coast teams got taken to the woodshed by beasts from the East.
Though Carolina was slightly favored against Nova (2-3 points), it wasn't exactly a huge upset the Cats were able to defeat them. But maybe there's another reason....
Villanova's from Philly, which is even more east than Chapel Hill, home of the Heels.
Conversely, it WOULD be considered a mammoth upset if the Syracuse ladies somehow found a way to derail the mighty Geno Bambino express that is UConn on Tuesday night.
That's likely not going to happen for two reasons.
Number one, UConn is a 3-time defending champion, and is not only undefeated this year, but won all their games by double digits. Many of them were just absolute blow-outs to the tune of 30-40 points.
Good grief, in the Sweet Sixteen, they hammered a #5 Miss St. team 98-38. SIXTY POINTS!! Next up was a #2 Texas. A 21 point beat down. In the semi-finals it was another #2 Oregon State. 29 points. And this is while mercifully emptying their bench in the fourth quarter, else those scores would have been even MORE lop-sided.
Now comes Syracuse in the national title game. The Orange is merely a #4 seed, and surprised many by getting this far.
Nevertheless, in the minds of most UConn remains a vastly superior team and is expected to romp once again. Which brings me to the second reason....
Geography. Syracuse may be in the eastern time zone, but it's located in upstate New York, quite some distance from the Atlantic coast.
Obviously being from Connecticut, the Lady Huskies' home base in much further east. Being the small state it is, EVERYTHING in Connecticut is little more than a drive and a five iron from the ocean.
In the latter stages of the NCAA tourney this year, it seems the further right on the map the team comes from has been the deciding factor in their favor.
We've all heard the phrase "beast of the east" in the past regarding teams in different sports, but perhaps a new one should be coined given how the tourney has played out.
How about....... "Yeast of the east"? The closer to the Atlantic, the higher they seem to rise.
Yeah, I know. Groan.