'Parity' caused by majors' recruiting cycles

Originally Published: May 18, 2006
By Jay Bilas | Special to ESPN.com
The NCAA Tournament had a very different feel this past season, yet it was familiar in many ways.

For the first time since 1980, there was not a single No. 1 seed in the Final Four -- this just a week after there was a belief that, for the first time ever, all four No. 1 seeds could advance to Indianapolis. We even had a mid-major among the last four teams standing, which came as a pleasant shock to the game's system.

This had a precedent, though. There were two mid-majors in the Final Four in 1979, before the term "mid-major" had become chic. This past season, there were early-round upsets in the tournament, and we immediately chalked it up to parity, despite the fact that such upsets have become an annual routine since 1981.

Parity became the answer to every question -- and became the junk science of college basketball. There are more great players today, some will tell you, and with the reduction in scholarships, those players are being spread around instead of stockpiled at the major level. The mid-majors, some would argue, are better than ever.

Wrong.

The truth is there is not true "parity" in college basketball, and while the so-called mid-majors are very good, they are no better now than they were 20 years ago.


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Jay Bilas

College Basketball analyst