Can we get a little less mad about March?
I like basketball, but not when it’s shoved down my throat.Like anything in life, we need the NCAA tournament in moderation. The event gets more coverage than a presidential caucus.It’s an information overload, and I don’t think we can handle it.We are told volumes about this tournament, regurgitate it to our friends, listen to more people who have no idea what they are talking about, and then fill out our brackets.If I told you Southwestern Southern College was a sleeper against an SEC team, you’d likely believe me. You wouldn’t blink if I said Slobodon State was overrated.
We have more coverage of how Coastal Kansas Tech did against nonconference opponents in an open-air stadium more than 1,500 feet above sea level when the combined blood alcohol content of the mascots is more than 0.20. And no matter what is said, we eat it and want more.Never mind that the pundits on ESPN know that the father of the coach of Monmouthwash State used to play pick up games with the uncle of U.N.C.-Kitty Hawk’s Uzbekistan scout. All the esoteric information that makes Dennis Miller seem coherent covers up the fact that these guys don’t know jack about who is going to beat whom.Don’t listen to anything those guys have to say. I’d trust a statistics professor over those guys because this tournament is an exercise in numbers. The statistical analysis we put into the NCAA tourney would have cracked Germany’s World War II Enigma machine in a week. And all the ruminations are for not, because when No. 14 beats No. 3, Dick Vitale ignores that he said it was going to be a blowout and just repeats the phrase, “It’s awesome, baby,” 1,000 times.Can’t we just wait until five minutes before the games to debate the merits of a team eating a high-fiber diet during its conference tournament?That isn’t basketball. It’s domestic spying.A lesson in geography
Since the tourney is ubiquitous, you may as well embrace it. Most Americans can probably name more college basketball coaches than they can Senators, but if you pay attention to the geography of the teams in the tourney, you can quickly learn a few state capitals.There are more ordinal directions in the tournament than a weather report, so you may want to grab a map. Let’s start with North by Northwest State. I’m lost already, forget it.But we still learn a bit from the tourney, I’m told.”It’s history in the making. They shocked the world. What a miracle.”No, we didn’t sign a nuclear treaty with Iran, and no, Mother Teresa didn’t heal a leper. A No. 1 seed almost beat a No. 16 seed.
The actual gameAh, the enjoyable part. After we suffer through the predictions, predilections and pontificating, we can finally enjoy 40 minutes of basketball.As we’ve already seen, every game is entertaining. Albany, N.Y. gave UConn a legitimate scare, Oral Roberts nearly caused turmoil in Graceland and Northwestern State dunked Iowa.There’s nothing quite like watching non-professional (read: unpaid) athletes fighting for the glory of their school.I’d rather watch J.J. Reddick shooting than listen to Dick Vitale blabbering.But before Duke plays its next game, I’ve got to go and watch the recaps and previews. Somebody help me kick this addiction, but wait until the tourney is over.Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14631, or email@example.com.Vail, Colorado
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