Absolute bedlam in the NCAA…
6 Overtimes, 3 ½ hours?!?!?!?! Upsets galore, OT thrillers, and buzzer beaters: just another glimpse into how great the 2009 NCAA tournament will be. Yesterday’s college hoops action included two top seeds in the Big East going down, Oklahoma (#1 seed) losing a close one, and Kansas (also a #1 seed) biting the bullet and falling short against a stubborn Baylor team. And the top seeds in the ACC have yet to even play! PS, no one cares about the Pac 10 anyways, they’re non-competitive. Though I don’t support the necessity of having individual conference tournaments to place a potential other “Big Dancer” in the March Madness mix, because of the fact that they still do exist, let’s go ahead and root for the dramatic. Boy did our wishes come true last night. What will go down in NCAA history as one of the greatest heavyweight fights ever, Syracuse and UConn took exhaustion to a new level. Jonny Flynn, Syracuse’s star guard, played 67 out of 70 minutes. That’s the definition of stamina and perseverance. The game even saw bench scrubs getting minutes late and racking up statistics for the first all season. Over 200 shots were taken, 60+ fouls were committed, and just to add spice to the night, multiple layups that could’ve won the game were missed. Madison Square Garden turned into Hollywood last night….what a show.
March Madness is here folks. I can’t believe we still have to wait until Sunday night to get the bracket posted and pick our winners. O well….but in the meantime, let’s talk about what makes the NCAA tourney better than all the rest in professional or college sports. Yes, the Super Bowl, World Series, and Daytona 500 are exciting, but do they really compete in a sports lover’s heart with the intrigue and excitement created by March Madness? It’s not even close. If I had to give up watching any Finals series or championship games except for just one, I would without hesitation choose to watch the NCAA tourney for the rest of my life. The drama, the despair, the elation……all in one tournament! The best part is: no matter what the year, there’s always buzzer beaters and NOTHING can top those. Remnants of Bryce Drew, Jim Valvano, and Christian Laettner fill the halls of NCAA tourney history. Not even great catches or comebacks in the Super Bowl are better than half-court swishes, a full length drive down the court for a game winning layup, or bad free throw shooters actually hitting free throws with little or no time left to lead their team to victory. These moments are priceless and best of all, they are created by kids who’ve worked their tail off (on the court and in the classroom) and have a REAL PRIDE AND PASSION for the game of basketball. This isn’t the NBA where every player is typically overpaid, hot dogs-it, and bores the audience to sleep. Truthfully, the heck with the NBA. March Madness is a time where athletes’ hearts are poured out, teams become families, and future all-stars make a name for themselves in the most dramatic of moments. All for the love of the game….aren’t we missing that these days? The NCAA Tournament is two thumbs up in my book. The NCAA Tournament is finally upon us folks…are you ready?!?
PS – Good luck filling out your brackets next week. You have as about as much chance of picking all the games perfectly as I do actually winning the trip to ESPN studios by eating Cheez-Its and looking inside the box…..