Blowouts, buzzer beaters and upsets. If you caught any of last weekend’s conference tournament games then you saw it all. You saw why Evan Turner is the best player in college basketball and why guys like John Wall, Eric Bledsoe and DeMarcus Cousins are special freshmen. You saw how momentum in basketball games can switch at the drop of a dime and why coaches get paid top dollar to reel in fancy recruits and lead their schools to victory.
It was basketball in its purest form, minus the stretch limos and overbearing personalities of professional city teams. I mean sure there’s a John Calipari here or a Lance Stephenson there but it doesn’t get any better than the NCAA come March. College basketball in the spring is a dangerous combination. You can have your NBA Finals in June and your World Series and NFL Playoffs, they just don’t measure up to tournament time.
There’s something unique and innocent about March Madness. The games are played during the day while you’re at work trying to get a peak on the cafeteria television at your favorite team. You fall in love with schools whose location on a map you can’t identify quickly. You lose every year but still play the office and online brackets hoping for some luck. Why? Because March Madness strickens everybody, not just you or your neighbor and coworkers, that’s why!
And what is it? Just what is it that makes March Madness so attractive? Well, for starters, everyone has a chance to win. Yes you Morgan State University. Yes you Georgetown University. And yes you the University of Maryland College Park. Three schools so vastly different in so many ways but all in this thing together that we call March Madness.
It’s crazy. The love affair with your alma mater never dies. Whether you wore a school’s colors when you were in line at its college bookstore or because grandma caught a Christmas sale, everybody has a favorite school come March. When they lose you sulk and when they win you gain an extra day of color donning and smack talking. It’s that simple.
Look high and low, you’ll never find a greater sports playoff system than the NCAA’s version. Other sports do you wrong. One loss during college football’s regular season and a school might as well call it quits. The NBA Finals has proven that you can just nickel and trade your way to championships. The Super Bowl often fails to match its hype. You won’t see the two best boxers fight each other because one’s scared of getting hit and the MLB is still flipping through drug tests from ten years ago.
So March Madness it is. Not to say the NCAA is the epitome of stainless steel but at least you won’t find as many blemishes as those other sports. Sure football has the country in a chokehold right now but even the hardest of pigskin lovers wouldn’t turn away from a good NCAA tournament game.
Poor you if you missed this past weekend’s games. They had everything you could look for in a sport and everything you probably won’t find elsewhere. But don’t worry, last weekend was just a preview. Hopefully, you’ll get to rewitness all the sights, sounds and sizzles for another few weeks. Enjoy it while you can. March Madness doesn’t happen often but when it does, you have to take notice.