Ahh, the first day of the tourney. The day where everyone shuns worker productivity to watch basketball. The day where brackets are ruined. The day where you're annoying co-worker who chooses teams picked on no knowledge whatsoever puts himself in the lead of the office pool. Or maybe its your girlfriend who chooses on criteria such as school color, mascot deathmatch challenge, or states where they know people.
But its alright. You've studied this all year. You know basketball, you know a sixteen has never beaten a one seed and so on. Hell, sometimes, you'll even watch a NIT game if there is nothing on TV.
The first day, where Cinderella teams march on to cement their names in the psyche of fans. Everyone remembers the teams. Gonzaga a few years back, George Mason, and even those Georgetown teams of the late seventies. The question is, will Georgia add their name to the list?
Most people know how Georgia fought their way to the tourney. How they beat two teams in one day in their conference championship (and perhaps how they knocked Arizona State out of the tourney). Everyone also knows how tired those kids must be, and how they must be dazed after a whirlwind few days.
To be honest, no one really thinks a lowly fourteen seed Georgia can knock off a three seed in Xavier. Well, no one outside the state of Georgia that is.
Then the opening tip off happened, and Georgia started off strong. Their lead turned into eleven. Could they do this? Would they do this? Would they ruin brackets across the country? More importantly, would they ruin my bracket? They can't do that. My bracket is supposed to win.
Phew, Xavier made a run. The lead slimmed to six, and then four. Yeah, that's right, Xavier is winning like they're supposed to, up three. But how did they get here?
Defense, that's how. Georgia started committing turnovers and taking poor shots. Xavier kept within the plan, got a couple of good bounces, and more importantly, got to the charity stripe. With five minutes to go int eh second half, Georgia had only gotten to the free throw line twice. That's just not going to cut it. Conversely, Xavier at that point in the game had made twelve straight from the line.
And yet, I want Georgia to win. Why didn't Georgia take a time-out when Xavier went on their run? What's going on here? Why am I rooting against my own bracket?
I'd like to see them continue the streak and beat the mid-major. I mean, I don't really like Georgia, or Georgians for that matter (no offense to the state of Georgia itself, I think this stems from the lack of playoff attendance at Braves games). I still want them to win though. Unfortunately, I fear that they will keep the game just close enough to make me a bit disappointed when they end up losing by three to five points. It will be a strange feeling when my bracket is still in tact, and I'm disappointed. Oh well, I guess the satisfaction I'll get from winning the pool will soothe my bitter disappointment.
Every year I go through the same feeling during the first and second days of the tourney. Call it the dichotomy of man for you former liberal arts majors. Call it stupidity for all you real world working-class, unproductive adults.
Well, whatever it is, that feeling of disappointment is creeping into my stomach. You know what I'm going to call it? The realization of a foregone conclusion.