I’ve been hearing the question “what is March Madness?” far too much lately. How do you not know what this is?! It’s the biggest college basketball tournament in North America. But that’s not all it is. It’s about Gus Johnson calling close games. It’s about terrible nicknames that are placed on future NBAers (John wonderWall). It’s about an 18 year-old telling his coach to “F-off” in the middle of a game. It’s about having your bracket that you researched for hours and hours, busted on the third day of the tournament by a #9 seed from Northern Iowa. (Unless you’re my Sportswire co-host Alex Wickwire, in which case your bracket was busted on day one).
What a tournament it’s been so far! On day one, there were seven games decided by three points or less. #14 seed Ohio didn’t just upset #3 Georgetown; they destroyed them by double digits! #2 seed Villanova almost lost to #15 seed Robert Morris (where is that anyway?!) and had to go to overtime to finish them. Finally, Andy “The Nard Dawg” Bernard’s alumnus #12 Cornell beat #5 Temple for the Ivy league’s first tournament victory in 12 years! Oh my!
The game though, that destroyed the bracket of everyone, including the most powerful man in the world, #1 Kansas vs. #9 Northern Iowa. When U. S. President Barack Obama picked Kansas to win the NCAA tournament, I thought it was a done deal. I had them, the prez had them, easy money.
That dream died with 35 seconds left in regulation. I need to preface this by saying that NIU’s Ali Farokhmanesh has the biggest set of testicles I’ve ever seen (No, I haven’t actually seen them, grow up). He pulled the trigger on a three-pointer in transition with more than 30 seconds left on the clock to put the Panthers up by four and the game out of reach from the Jayhawks. What was he thinking?! He misses that shot, they lose the game. But he had the testicular fortitude to knock down a huge shot and pull the biggest upset of a #1 seed since 2004.
Big shots and buzzer beaters aren’t the only things that have been falling in the first few days of the tournament. Some of the NCAA’s biggest stars saw their NBA draft stocks fall. Villanova’s Scottie Reynolds shot 4-26 in his two tournament games. Sure he scored 20 against Robert Morris University, but he looked AWFUL doing it. Notre Dame’s Luke Harangody shot 2-9 and scored 4 points in his team’s first round loss to Old Dominion University. He is projected to go in the second round of this year’s draft, but after that performance should probably stay in school for another year.
But all in all, it’s been an amazing tournament so far, and now that my bracket is busted, all I have to say is, watch out for Kansas State. As my buddy Brad boldly declared; “They are the darkest of dark horses.” Go Wildcats!
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