The NCAA Tournament is more random than ever. This is because all the best high-school ballers either skip college, train in Europe, or are one-and-done. The game isn’t as good as it was from say 1979 through the mid 1990’s. When Shaq left LSU after his sophomore season, after he would have been the #1 overall pick after his freshman year, it seismically shifted the NBA draft standard for college kids.
Today, to win in the NCAA Tournament a team must grow through experience to play well TOGETHER when it matters most. Experienced teams with low seedings now make more Elite 8 & Final 4 runs. Miami was a good example in 2022. Virginia coached by Dick Bennett when they won it, etc. Please note that much of this pertains to women’s hoops too. It used to be a #1 or #2 seed was pretty-much guaranteed to make the Sweet 16. Not so anymore.
Smaller conferences have gotten more competitive, while the bigger conferences (blue bloods) suffered most from the talent drain. NIL rights changed everything too. If a state has laws passed for NIL rights, they ignore all NCAA rules.