Today, very early in Hong Kong, round one of the NCAA kicked off. Let me be the first to say, watching the games streaming live on the office computer (yes, I work) with coffee is a much different vibe than being out having beers with you friends. Ah you know, beggars/choosers and everything. Whatever. The ability to watch all the games in the first place is pretty cool. Especially because with only half the games played there have already more OT games than there were in the whole tournament last year and more double digit seed victorious in a first round than we have seen since 1991.
Serious. For all the talk of every sort of disparity in the world, maybe basketball will be where we start to see the emergence of some parity. Of course, this ridiculous notion of expanding the tournament to a field of 96 would kill that, and really fuck up the perfect sporting event. Part of the whole “madness” is the Selection Sunday stuff. In fact, I would opt for killing the NIT too… I always wondered why the hell anyone would want to play for Consolation Championships. And I have played in some and coached through some. Ugh. Make it simple: You are in the Tourney or you are not. “There’s always Next Year.”
I am sure the blogosphere is replete with posts about the tournament at the moment. Yesterday I even saw one about how to have fun during March Madness when you are self-employed and cannot do like the rest of us. For as long as I can remember this is one of the most interesting times of the year because of the omnipresent effect of college hoops. I am sure I am over-stating this for people who don’t like basketball, but I don’t know any of them, so that is okay. Funny things happen because of March Madness, strange allies are formed (everyone who hates Duke, e.g.) and bizarre expressions of emotion from generally stoic individuals (my boss and I were just howling over the end of the Wake-Texas game in his office. Like, not how it goes here. My students don’t know so much about college basketball here, save for one or two who are fanatical, and that is odd coming from a place where this time of the year was solid hoop talk for me for years. I suppose that has to do with the fact that I was a coach for all those years… but still. I also think the fact that Hong Kongers only respect the pro game really says alot about the general attitude here in a million ways.
It is championship time. It brings out the best and worst best in everyone. I don’t even mind the antics of the douchiest colleges this time of the year because they just make it that much more fun. And this is coming from a kid who saw her 3-seed Hoyas blow it against 14-seeded Ohio this morning. And oh yeah, I had them going to the Final Four. What? You cannot believe that? Believe it. I like 3-seeds. And more to the point, I hate Kansas. The Big 12 annoys me on principle. Not to mention Ex #4 was a die-hard Kansas fan – anything Kansas he loved. I think the Midwest made him feel safe or something. Clearly, not a lot of love lost between us (it is hard to find positive things to say about someone who declares you to be “the worst human being to ever have lived,”) though, #4 deserves a shout out this year as his team (Go Incline Highlanders!) finally achieved their freakishly elusive and long overdue Nevada State Championship. It has been years in the making and though on paper this did not appear to be his strongest team, his dedication to the game – and those boys – paid off. Congrats to you #4.
Pretty important to remember, how things look on paper just doesn’t mean shit in the end sometimes.
Which is what I am relying on as I hope and pray that Kansas goes down.
I am a horrible sports wagerer as that sentence obviously shows. I am not prone to praying in the worst of times, so the idea of doing it for basketball probably just give any potential higer-powers-that-be a laugh. I have teams I like and i can rarely get my pencil to contravene on the behalf of wise wagers when I complete my bracket. At the same time I have teams I hate, and the inability to realistically admit that they are probably going to kick the crap out of some of the teams I love. (*sigh*)
I love the Terps. Why? I am not from Maryland. I have been to Maryland, to the gym even, but beyond that? No connection. I love the Terps because I love their coach, I have loved some of their players and I love their mascot. And they play against, and occasionally slay, Duke. Don’t remember when I started loving them, but I am there for Gary Williams every time. I suppose I look a lot at the coaches when I pick. I have coaches I love and loathe and so goes my feeling about their teams. Calipari? Love him. Roy Williams? Hate. Billy Donovan, adore (don’t laugh – I love a good Guido as much as the next person.) Izzo? Love (a slightly more working class Guido.) Pitino? See the previous two. Barnes? Respect. Bobby Knight? Humorous. Dean Smith? Fell asleep before I could answer you. Bill Self? *sigh* Coack K? What can you say, it is a love hate thing and with a name like Krzyzewski the guy deserves a break. Let’s just not talk about the team *cough*Puke*cough* he coaches.
I also look at conferences. Obviously I love the Pac-10, it is in my DNA, so whatever. And I like that I can generally rely on them to choke too, as it makes it a little easier to keep my pencil from them. [But then UW over Marquette today – wheeyyy!) I do not like the Big 12. Just too much Bigness in that conference. Reminds me of a bunch of big ‘ole honkin’ farm boys. Not my style, that’s all. Plus Texas scares me and Kansas believes in Creationism. Conference USA? They remind me of a bad cable network. (Sorry.) But like those networks, occasionally a good show. Memphis can make things fun… Big East? Like. It harkens back to my preference of the Federalists over the Anti-federalists. ACC? You all are like the super rich prep school that is always harshing on the ghetto schools. You suck, but you are fun. And I like Wake Forest (good nickname – Demon Deacons.) I like Xavier and Villanova for the same reason… fun names and cool looking logos. I know. It is a little silly and juvenile, but then so am I on occasion. That is just how I roll.
So far this year the madness has been real. I am 8-8 on day one. That is total shit, and I am super competitive, and I do not even care. It’s been awesome. And on the site I am streaming from I don’t have the Vitale Effect. [Vitale has UK, K State, Kansas and Villanova in the Final Four…] I have not studied the POTUS’ bracket – last year he went big with the favorites. I am guessing this year he might wanna take a look at the under-dogs if it is at all analogous to politics. And he did predict the Vandy upset. Nice one, Prez.
And tomorrow is yet another day. Don’t ask me about the results, I will only tell you about the mascots and the pretty colors (you can look here or here for other ridiculous opinions.) But I will be acting totally fanatical as I watch each game go down – that you can count on.
“She’s m-m-m-m-ma-ma-mad, sir!”