NPR logo

The Downside of an NCAA Cinderella Story

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
The Downside of an NCAA Cinderella Story


The Downside of an NCAA Cinderella Story

The Downside of an NCAA Cinderella Story

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Alex Chadwick talks to sports reporters Randy and Jason Sklar about the legacy of this year's NCAA basketball tournament. A scrappy team from George Mason University — not exactly a basketball powerhouse — was the Cinderella story of the Final Four, and led to the most exciting basketball tournament in memory for many fans. But the Sklars say there may be a downside.


And now, college basketball.

Mr. JOAKIM NOAH (Basketball Player, Florida Gators): Not only does it feel good, it smells good. It tastes good. I can't even describe it.

BRAND: That's the University of Florida's Joakim Noah after his team won the NCAA Championship last night.


Joining us now in the studio, Randy and Jason Sklar, the sports brothers. Gents, last night the University of Florida Gators pretty easily defeated the UCLA Bruins to end what may be one of the best and most exciting NCAA tournaments in memory. Maybe the word that comes to mind is ease. And the ease with which the Gators beat UCLA.

Mr. SKLAR #1 (Sports Analyst): Well, it was an interesting victory, because everybody was talking about UCLA's defense coming into the game.

Mr. SKLAR #2 (Sports Analyst): And then Florida beat UCLA with defense. It was like if you, when you used to fight with your little brother, and you made him punch himself in his own face with his own fist. That's how embarrassing it was for UCLA last night.

Mr. SKLAR #1: I mean, Florida was just too tough, and once they got the lead, UCLA was trying to play catch up, and they just picked them apart.

CHADWICK: And they never seemed to. And it's kind of, you get to the end of this tournament, which has so much excitement in it, and UCLA really was not in that game for about three quarters of it.

Mr. SKLAR #1: It wasn't. For as exciting of a tournament it was the final game was a bit anti-climatic, but it was still a fantastic game, and you had to see people like Joakim Noah just rise, and he really took this tournament to raise the level of his game.

Mr. SKLAR #2: He set the record for blocks. In the first half. In a championship game, he had five blocks in the first half, beating the previous level of four.

CHADWICK: Okay, that's this game, what about tournament overall?

Mr. SKLAR #1: Unbelievable. And I think anyone who watched the whole tournament said this was the best they had ever seen. You had eleventh seed teams making…

Mr. SKLAR #2: George Mason making it all the way to the Final Four and having a magical run, beating top seeded teams along the way. Beating North Carolina, beating UCON. I mean, you had improbable victories. Bradley went really far in one bracket. All of, no one was safe.

Mr. SKLAR #1: No number one's in the Final Four, no Big Ten teams making it to the Sweet 16.

CHADWICK: Many, many games won in the last three, four seconds.

Mr. SKLAR #1: Great. And buzzer beaters going into the later rounds. Which was, which is always exciting. UCLA coming back from seventeen against Gonzaga and winning in the last seconds.

CHADWICK: So, this means next year, March Madness is going to be even better. Next year's tournament, what do you think?

Mr. SKLAR #1: One would think, not so fast. We feel like the bar has been raised so much with this tournament, that there's only one way to go next year, and that's down. So, we have a couple of suggestions on how we think the NCAA could, in the future, next year, actually make the tournament better than this year.

Mr. SKLAR #2: Because they're going to have to do something to make it more exciting.

Mr. SKLAR #1: Next year, we feel like a number sixteen seed will have to beat a number one seed, and that has never happened in the history of the tournament. That's the only way.

Mr. SKLAR #2: We also feel like maybe they need to throw the RPI out the window.

Mr. SKLAR #1: Yes, the RPI ratings percentage index has to be thrown out the window.

CHADWICK: This is, the kind of the formula that you use to figure out who should win.

Mr. SKLAR #1: Yeah, it's based on…

Mr. SKLAR #2: And who should be in the tournament, based on strength of schedule, how many wins you have at home versus on the road, who you've beaten in the top fifty and the bottom fifty. A lot of people are complaining this year that there were four teams from the Missouri Valley Conference, and that's because it's a smaller conference, but I think next year, you're going to have at least six or seven.

Mr. SKLAR #1: Maybe nine teams from there.

Mr. SKLAR #2: Maybe only one team from the Big Ten gets in next year.

Mr. SKLAR #1: Only one from the big East. And we've…

CHADWICK: But the Missouri Valley Conference is going to be there.

Mr. SKLAR #1: Yeah, they're going to be big there, in big numbers.

Mr. SKLAR #2: And we feel like if the tournament wants to have these exciting lower-seeded teams coming up and winning, no matter how Duke finishes next year, no matter what they do in the regular season, they're going to be ranked thirteenth coming into next year.

Mr. SKLAR #1: No higher than the thirteenth.

Mr. SKLAR #2: No higher than the thirteenth seed.

Mr. SKLAR #1: Just to get that big upset we're looking for.

CHADWICK: Well, that will help. Our sports brothers, Randy and Jason Sklar, you can see them on their show Cheap Seats. It airs on ESPN Classic, what night is that?

Mr. SKLAR #1: It's on every night.

Mr. SKLAR #2: Every night.

CHADWICK: Every night. Thanks guys, and thanks for coming in again on DAY TO DAY.

Copyright © 2006 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.