Basketball, NCAAB

Group of 64-Bit

March Madness
“I’ve got something to say.  I killed your bracket today.  Doesn’t matter much to me, as long as it’s dead.”  – In the tune of Last Caress – Misfits.  

It’s bracket time again!  I don’t know about you all but I’m filling out 80.  Maybe not 80 but close.  Why?  Simply because it’s fun.  
 
I usually have a bracket that knocks the 1 and 2 seeds out of the tournament within 2 rounds.  Highest probability of unlikeliness but how fun it would be to watch?  For that brief moment of filling out my sacrifice bracket I see it all unfold.  The headlines.  The Breaking News.  The tweets.  Facebook.  It would truly reflect madness.  All I’m left with is the one thought.  Of the remaining teams, who has what it takes to win it all?  

MichiganMichigan StFloridaMiami? Can Gonzaga get back?  Kentucky usually has a lot of talent and can always become dangerous.  What about Arizona?  I’ve been high on them in the past but can they get past their scandal?  Speaking of scandal, how’s NC State going to react to their scandal?  Who can I TRUST?!?

The beauty of the tournament is simple.  Grab 64/68 of the best teams in the country and scatter them throughout the land, in different cities, and see how they perform against each other.  Chaos.  Chaos seems to happen practically every year, minus that one year all 1-seeds made it to the final four.  The madness usually comes from trying to understand what is actually going on and turning what you thought to be true on it’s head simultaneously revealing startling truths that lay deep within the system. One culprit for the madness? 

Freshmen.  It doesn’t matter if they’re playing sports or not, when it comes to unpredictability, there isn’t anywhere else to look than College Freshmen.  17-18 year old kids/boys/young men having fun, learning, developing, and full of confidence, what more do you need? Anything can happen.  

Seeds.  The seeding usually helps in the overthrow of big basketball powers.  At least in the perception of overthrow.  #12 South Dakota St beating #5 Ohio St in the 1st round wouldn’t really be an upset.  South Dakota St went 28-6, lost 1 game in their conference and won the Summit League Championship.  Ohio St was the 3rd best Big 10 team, went 24-8, and lost in the quarterfinals of the Big 10 Tournament.  The better season has gone to South Dakota St and if they are hungry enough look like the clear on favorite to me.  The funny part is that it’s perfectly plausible for Ohio St to reach the Elite Eight for a potential meeting against big time rival Michigan.  Oh the Volatility!

Goals.  What did you set out to do this year?  Obviously, #13 UNC Greensboro didn’t set out to win a national championship this year.  #4 Gonzaga just lost the national championship.  They know what it feels like to get there.  Gonzaga would want to get back to the Final Four at least.  After last year anything less than Elite Eight would lose the momentum they’ve built.  UNC Greensboro would sure love to beat Gonzaga, last year’s runner-up in the first round for their 1st tournament victory in school history!  What are the teams goals and projections?  Do I run with their projections or try and predict heart.  The heart is fueled by blood, adrenaline, and energy but when it comes to mind and soul, the heart is fueled by love.  With passion.  So few know more about passion than my final culprits of chaos.  

Seniors.  How could you ever bet against Seniors?  There might not be a single person on this earth more driven and focused than a college senior who’s last minutes of playing competitive sports are measured by the game clock.  Personally, I’m drawn to this tournament more so than other sporting events because of the character it brings out of the players.  10 minutes: Who’s going to rise to the challenge?  5 minutes: When your back is against the wall, how do you respond?  2 minutes: Can you power through adversity together on the biggest stage?  12 seconds: Down by 2, get a good look and take the shot.  Buzzer: Is it going in?!  When the clock runs out and we see tears, whether for sorrow or joy, we can see the true passion and spirit of the players on the court.  Painful for some and exciting for others.  As is the case with all sports.

No play, movie, or show could script it any better.  No actor could portray such passion and emotion any clearer.  No producer could make it any more real.  

The tournament is authentic. 

That’s what college basketball is all about.

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