Which of this year’s Big Dancers have the shoes of champions? Unfortunately, if we go by recent history, Memphis, UCLA, and Boston College have the odds against them winning this year’s NCAA Tournament. Why you ask? Because these teams are wearing the wrong shoes.
Let’s review recent March Madness winners starting from 2000. Mateen Cleaves led Michigan State to the title in 2000 wearing Reebok Answers. In 2001, the talented Duke team of Battier, Duhon, Jay Williams, Boozer, and Dunleavy won wearing Nike. In 2002, Maryland shocked the NCAA Tournament with their Nike Shox Stunners. Carmelo Anthony and the Orange won in 2003 wearing various Nike Shox shoes. In 2004, Nike Lebron Zoom Generation and Air Force Operates were the rage with the UConn Huskies. Last year, the Heels had the hookup with Jordan Brand and Nike shoes. Who can forget their ice blue Retro Jordan X?
So if you’re keeping count, teams wearing Nike have won 5 of the last 6 NCAA Tournaments. Reebok was the only other brand represented since 2000. Yes, Nike sponsors most of the teams making the Big Dance, and of this year’s Sweet 16, 81% of the teams have Nikes, 13% Adidas, 6% Reebok.
Can this title trend change this year? So far, Adidas is going on to the Elite 8.