They predicted Wichita State to go on to the Sweet 16. The majority of them also picked New Mexico State to upset Indiana.
Neither of these things happened.
I’m not knocking them for their picks. I’ve made some outrageous picks before – like Davidson over Louisville this year (which didn’t happen). I just find it interesting that they managed to turn Wichita State and New Mexico State into sexy tournament picks.
All I heard this week was how New Mexico State has three big men. They’re going to push Cody Zeller around. It started to sound like a given that the Aggies were going to run roughshod over the Hoosiers. And if Indiana managed to get by NMSU, then it was a just a given that the Shockers were going to win the next round. After all, Indiana hasn’t performed as well on the road (never mind the fact that tournament games are on neutral courts). Go ahead and ink Wichita State into the Sweet Sixteen. Why even bother playing the game?
This is a great example of how people can live in an echo chamber where what they say is repeated over and over again and we think that what we believe is just a given. It’s going to happen because everyone seems to think it will. It reminds me of the oft-quoted (and misquoted) observation from Pauline Kael: “I live in a rather special world. I only know one person who voted for Nixon. Where they are I don’t know.” The sports media folk live in a rather special world. And sometimes they don’t have any idea who these teams really are. That’s what makes March Madness so beautiful – it doesn’t matter what these guys think. The game is won and lost on the court.
The same situation occurs in college football. Matchups are established on paper and debated in the media. Games are won and lost in these debates. An imaginary playoff is set up through their conversations, eliminating teams through reasoning that “oh, everyone agrees with this – it’s a given that Team A from the SEC would beat Team B from any other conference,” never giving any thought that maybe they could be wrong.
The problem is that these same people talking into the echo chamber of college football media actually influence who plays in the national championship. I’m glad the Pac-12 has started to see the light. It’s about time. I hope other conferences follow suit.
But there’s something bigger here. How many people do I know who think differently than I do? How many people do I know who have a completely different worldview from mine? How many people do I know who have a different outlook on life than I do? We hear all the time about Christians locking themselves up into their own little Christian bubbles (or ghettos), but I’m not even talking about that. I don’t want to live in the echo chamber. I don’t want to live in a world that only sees things the way I see them. I need to have my assumptions challenged. If diversity is a beautiful thing in God’s kingdom, it should be a beautiful thing in my own life, too.
In the meantime, I’m going to search the TV schedule for that New Mexico State vs. Wichita State game. I’m sure it’s going to be aired somewhere.