Highs and lows are common in the annual basketball tournaments and this season was no different as I noticed that 10 No. 1-seeded teams got upset in the tournaments: three in the quarterfinals, three in semifinals and four in finals of the North and South tourneys at sites in Bangor, Augusta and Portland.
There were a total of 20 No. 1 seeds in the tourney and 50 percent of those No. 1 teams were upset. One school, Central Aroostook in Mars Hill, had both its No. 1-seeded boys and girls teams upset in the quarterfinals.
Ten No. 1 seeds, four No. 2s, two No. 3s and four No. 4s won regional titles.
Many fans love an underdog and if they don’t have a team involved in that 1 vs. 8 quarterfinal, they often root for the underdog. That could also go for any game involving a higher seeded team against a lower seeded team.
If fans have a team in that tournament class, they might like to see the No. 1 team gone to make it easier for their lower-seeded team get to the finals.
There certainly is a lot more pressure on a No. 1 team, especially if it is going into the tournament undefeated at 18-0. Top-seeded teams are in a tough no-win situation. If they win the tournament, that was the expectation and some times little praise follows, but if they lose, then critical comments can result.
The lower-seeded team has nothing to lose and everything to gain so there is no pressure on them at all.
I have had experience on both sides of this No. 1 against No. 8 matchup situations several times. There is despair, disappointment and heartbreak when you are a No. 1 team and get beat. To me, those feelings are stronger than the joy and happiness of winning the state championship for the players.
Teams that are undefeated and get upset in their tournament lose not only a game but an undefeated season and a championship.
I had two teams go in No. 1 and get knocked off by the No. 8 team. I had one team go in No. 8 and knock off the No. 1 team.
The ironic part of this was it happened to one of my teams in back-to-back seasons.
The first time it happened was being the No. 1 team and getting upset by a rival team seeded eighth that we had beaten twice in the regular season and the very next year we were seeded eighth and knocked off the No. 1 team that had beaten us twice during the regular season.
The toughest thing about these upsets for the No. 1 teams is for the senior players who leave their high school basketball careers end at an emotional low. For the underclassmen, the coaches, the parents and the fans there is always next year.
That could be a lesson for fans to be careful on how hard they root for an upset of a No. 8 over a No. 1 or a low seed over a higher seed because when your favorite high school team goes in as a one seed, then basketball karma could strike your top-seeded team, also.
Basketball has a funny way of equaling things out over how people act in the sport as players, coaches, parents and fans.