The myth of parity

Are VCU and other mid-majors on the same footing as major conference teams such as Kentucky? Geoff Burke/US Presswire

It's the word that comes up every time there's an upset in college basketball: parity. Any coach whose favored team has just been beaten by a plucky underdog will chalk up the defeat to that word. "Hey, there's just so much parity in the college game today. Anyone can beat anyone."

Even outside the game, fans will be quick to point out the recent success of teams such as Butler and Virginia Commonwealth.

But although the surprising victories of those schools should not be shrugged off, any notion that college basketball is moving toward parity should be. Whether you define the term through NCAA tournament upsets or more properly across the season as a whole, parity simply does not exist.