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Bock: This is Why Mid-Majors Are Awesome, Huggs



During the Big 12 media day, West Virginia HC Bob Huggins was interviewed by ESPN about playoff formats in college athletics.

Huggins suggested that the Power-5 conferences branch off from the mid-majors and low-majors, to create their own postseason tournament.

“They’re doing it in football,” Huggins told ESPN’s Myron Medcalf. “Why wouldn’t they do it? The presidents and athletic directors that have all the juice, why wouldn’t they do it? Makes no sense why they wouldn’t do it. I think it’s more ‘Why wouldn’t they?’ than ‘Why would they?’ And then, the other people, they can have their own tournament.”

Huggins went onto talking about revenue and how turning March Madness into only Power-5 conferences would financially help the NCAA in the long run.

“Those Cinderella schools are putting 200 people, at best, in their gym,” Huggins said. “We’re putting 14,000.”

Huggins’ words sparked a lot of reactions on Twitter.

When the ESPN notification got sent out yesterday, I was confused. Huggins has always talked about how great March Madness is for determining a champion in college basketball. Why is he against the mid-major programs from participating?

Mid-majors are awesome! Who doesn’t like to see a cinderella run in March Madness?

On any given day, the mid-majors in the NCAA Tournament can give the Power-5’s a run for their money, just take a look at No. 16-seed UMBC in 2018, blowing out the dominant No. 1 Virginia team that was destined for a title run.

Or, take a look at No. 14 Stephen F. Austin defeating Huggins and No. 3 West Virginia, back in 2016. This is what makes March Madness fun — unless you’re a fan of these Power-5’s that lose. If anything, the mid-major upsets cause more people to turn on the TV and tune in. The first weekend of March Madness is an amazing event to watch.

Just this past year, this is what we saw from the mid-majors:

No. 15 Oral Roberts defeat OSU, Florida, almost making the Elite-8

No. 14 Abilene Christian defeat in-state No. 3 Texas

No. 8 Loyola-Chicago knock off No. 1 Illinois

No. 13 Ohio defeat No. 4 Virginia

No. 13 North Texas defeat No. 4 Purdue


No. 2 Houston making the Final Four

No. 1 Gonzaga making a Nat. Championship appearance

For me, mid-majors are a huge part to why I enjoy college basketball. College football has went years with excluding mid-majors from even having a chance. A mid-major in college football could finish the year 13-0, and still be on the outside looking into the College Football Playoff.

In basketball, ALL 358 teams start practice in October with a chance to compete for a national championship.

Heck, Huggins himself coached a mid-major in Cincinnati for 16 seasons. The Bearcats of the 90s and early-2000s were what Gonzaga is today. Cincinnati competed in three conferences when Huggins was at the helm there: Metro Conference, Great Midwest Conference and Conference USA.

At Cincinnati, Huggins coached the underdog Bearcats to a Final Four appearance in 1992, eventually losing to the ‘Fab Five’ Michigan team. Huggins also coached UC to Elite-8 appearances in 1993 and 1996. Maybe the Bearcats even have a National Championship under Huggins if National Player of the Year Kenyon Martin doesn’t break his leg in the conference tournament in 2000.

What Huggins said on Wednesday is very surprising coming from him, but I will continue to enjoy watching mid-majors compete for a national championship in college basketball.

(Top Photo: Denny Medley)

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Ethan Bock is pursuing his bachelor’s degree in journalism at WVU. He currently is an intern with the Final Fourcast podcast. Ethan has covered WVU football and men’s basketball for the last year. He is from Cincinnati, Ohio.

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