NCAA Bracket 2011: Truly American

Derek CrouseContributor IIIMarch 15, 2011

It is that time once again...
It is that time once again...Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Every year, the spring brings a sense of rebirth. Whether it’s the green grass and winter bulbs sprouting for the first time, or the shedding of jackets like a snake growing new skin, March brings hope.

Sixty-plus schools around this time experience that same feeling annually. When it comes to the NCAA Tournament, it seems like the college basketball season just started, even though it has been going for months.

The casual sports fan is just getting off the train from the Super Bowl. The NBA has been taking all of the exposure for basketball with free agent moves and powerhouse teams showing that a team aspect still has to be established. Spring training is in full swing, but honestly who will even hear the word baseball this weekend?

The tourney is something truly American.

From Cinderellas to powerhouses, mid-majors to respected programs and every team from 16-1 thinks they have a shot at grabbing a Werner ladder and cutting down the nets.

The underdog can come in one weekend and shock the world. Just like the workforce, the teams that are coming in as the top seed might overlook an easy job and make mistakes. The guys who had to work their butts off to get where they are have the moxie to give it their all no matter what the situation.

Then comes the bracket, which is the Holy Grail for college basketball fans in March. Some people fill out numerous brackets, while some will only fill out one. Some play for money, while others play for bragging rights.

From offices to job sites, everybody becomes an expert. Usually the “expert” is the guy whose bracket blows up first. If his bracket does stay above water, be ready to hear him shout from the rooftops.

What he doesn’t realize is that he has to work with these people all year and they will remember that flak he’s given everybody. He will be the person that nobody will trade with come time for fantasy football when half is team goes on the IR.

There will be players who we will discover from their play in the tournament. Those players will either use that momentum to push themselves high in the NBA draft, or will realize that they have to improve and will come back to hone their skills and maybe reach the Final Four.

Coaches will take new jobs because they got a 12-seed to the semifinal and other coaches will be back in the hunt like every other year. Clark Kellogg, Jim Nance and Digger Phelps will be at a microphone somewhere praising or chastising a coach, player or team. Fans will be painted in a 50-50-color combination of their favorite alma mater.

This season, there is some extra icing on the cake.

For instance, the start of the tournament falls on St. Patrick’s Day. This is also the start of spring break at many schools. Honestly, half of the students were going to skip their classes Thursday just to get an early start on the food and circuses that is the NCAA Tournament.