A brilliant opening weekend underscores what makes the NCAA men’s basketball tournament a delightful feast
Remember when men’s college basketball was doomed? Remember when the public had finally gotten fed up with all the corruption, skulduggery and FBI gumshoeing and decided to abandon the sport forever?
Remember that? Wasn’t that like…six days ago?
Yeah, I don’t remember it, either. The NCAA men’s basketball tournament has roared into action and immediately overwhelmed all the cynicism and pearl-clutching about the future of the game.
College basketball is irredeemable? How could you say that, after watching the University of Maryland, Baltimore County stun the tournament’s top seed, Virginia—the first time a No. 16 seed has beaten a No. 1?
How could you say it after Sunday night, when the Retrievers, newly anointed as America’s Most Adorable Team, hit the court against Kansas State and…OK, so the game against Kansas State didn’t go as well. Sigh.
How about this then: Nevada crawling back from a 22-point second half deficit to beat two seed Cincinnati. That was nutso.
With all of this insanity happening, how could anyone claim to be suffering from “March Sadness?” Explain your melancholy to the 98-year-old Loyola-Chicago superfan Sister Jean Dolores-Schmidt, who’s headed to the Sweet 16 after back-to-back upsets by the Ramblers.
(I mean, I’m sure you’re experiencing sadness if you’re an Arizona fan. Or a North Carolina fan. Or a Cincinnati fan. Or a Virginia fan, even though Journal Sports Team wunderkind Andrew Beaton warned you that an upset could be coming, and is going to dine out on it the rest of his life.)
But how could you be conflicted about a sport that features the lustrous hair of Purdue’s Matt Haarms? Or the stylish man-bun of Rob Gray?
I AM TRYING TO AVOID MENTIONING THAT MICHIGAN WON ON A LAST-SECOND BUZZER-BEATER, BECAUSE YOU GUYS KNOW HOW I FEEL ABOUT MICHIGAN—BUT I GUESS EVEN THAT WAS PRETTY OK, TOO. FINE, THERE, I SAID IT.
The point is this: If college basketball is dead, then long live college basketball.