Monday, March 26, 2012

Where's The Madness?

As I emerge bleary eyed and exhausted from my March Madness bunker the Final Four is set.  With Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville and Ohio State we are guaranteed some great basketball and one hell of a finale.  But who cares? 
It’s called March Madness, not March That Was a Well Played Game Yet Slightly Unfulfilling.  There have been no epic games, no great Cinderella runs, hell there hasn’t even been a buzzer beater this entire tournament.  Only two games have been decided by a point.   

The 2012 March Madness Tournament will be remembered as the year college basketball emulated the pro game.  

As an Ohio State alumni this tournament should mean a lot to me.  The Buckeyes are in the Final four and two games away from winning it all.  So what was I doing when they were fighting tooth and nail against Syracuse?  Watching the Flyers game of course.  Now I didn’t want to watch the Flyers game, they started off as my back up channel, but eventually an executive decision needed to be made and I choose the game that was less boring.  Just after a while it gets tough to watch two teams play superb defense, controlling the game into a sluggish half court offense highlighted by seven passes along the three point line, followed by a wild drive to the hoop which culminated in a whistle.  AND THAT WAS ON EVERY POSSESION!  So it was either the Flyers or I sticking my tongue in a light socket.
The tournament started off with so much promise to.  After the first day I expected to tear up my bracket after Norfolk upset Mizzou and then wanted to celebrate the Mayan Apocalypse after Lehigh beat Duke.  It was a great first day.
But then the clouds grew dark and a cold wind blew through as Syracuse pulled out a suspicious victory over NC State.  And from then on the magic faded.  Sure there were upsets.  Ohio beat Michigan (like they do at everything else, suck it Wolverines!) and two 12 seeds advanced, as always, but after that it has been an exceptionally ordinary tournament.
And while there is nothing wrong with watching solid college basketball, March Madness has always been about more than just a regular tournament.  It’s the tournament that creates legends more so than any other.  Christian Laettner’s shot, Magic v. Bird I, Villanova beating Georgetown and George Mason.  Those were all great dramatic moments.  This year’s moment is four schools from one state making the Sweet 16, who gives a shit. 
And I know it’s been a boring tournament because of how well most people’s brackets are.  From all those I’ve talked to (that’s maybe seven people but still) no one has needed to tear up their bracket in disgrace.  This has been my best year yet.   My bracket is at 90% (okay fine 89.8 sue me) and that’s after my national champion lost (thanks UNC).  That is unprecedented.  And do you know how I got those amazing results?  I did what girls do.  I spent maybe 3 minutes filling it out and making all my selections based on whose mascot was prettier (It’s Wichita State but they didn’t make the dance this year). 
Now please don’t mistake this whining as purely negative.  There have been some great games: Wisconsin vs. Syracuse was tremendous; Purdue vs. Kansas was great.  But there was no game that could have been the lead in on Sportscenter, or something that could take the spotlight away from Tim Tebow or Peyton Manning.  Hell Dick Vitale only gave me 14 ‘Baby’s.’  When Octomom beats Dick Vitale that means something is seriously wrong.

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