...for another barrage of "pro-mid major" basketball column from Kirk and the rest of the PJS gang. George Mason has had an incredible run, and is going to the Final Four. I think it's great! But it's not so much a product of the mid-majors getting better talent than they have in the past, it's more likely because the so-called "power conferences" are getting LESS talent than they're used to. Why? Because many of the best basketball players of the last three or four years went straight to the NBA. Some (LeBron James, Shaun Livingston) are very high profile and very much success stories, others are not.
Countless other big names played one or two years of college ball and then moved on (such as Andre Iguodala - one and done at Arizona out of Lamphier). Where did these players come from? The power schools. How many guys have left Duke early? North Carolina? All the big-name schools lose players year after year to early entry into the NBA. Meanwhile, the mid-majors have a better chance at keeping a guy four years. Experience and continuity are so key in basketball.
George Mason started three seniors and two sophomores today. They played a vast majority of the minutes. The only sub to play more than ten minutes was a junior. No freshmen in the main rotation. But the "power" schools' rosters are dotted with freshmen who start, sophomores who are the most experienced players on the roster, and then they leave for the NBA.
So congrats to George Mason, but the real power schools are still the same as always, and will get back to being more dominant now that the NBA has raised the age requirement for eligibility to play in The League.