The gods were against me this year. I couldn’t get Thursday March 15th off, and I couldn’t get Friday March 16th off either.
That doesn’t matter to you? Well, it matters to me. This year those were the first two days of the NCAA basketball championships – March Madness.
Those are the best two days of the year in sports. The best. Every year.
You can have your Super Bowl, or your Daytona, or Wimbledon, etc.
I will take the first two days of the Big Dance.
Sixteen games each day. Winner stays, loser goes home. There is no higher drama in sports.
Days three and four, on Saturday and Sunday, are okay but, excitement-wise, fall well short of the first two days. For one thing, Saturday and Sunday only have eight games each day – half as much fun.
Plus, by the end of the weekend we are left with only the ‘Sweet 16’ teams, almost always entirely populated with the usual suspects, the heavy favorites: North Carolina, Kansas and (usually) Duke. – BORING.
Except in those places where the home team continues on, the excitement for this event does not build after the opening weekend. At best it stagnates. At worst it evaporates.
The lack of interest, other than the first two days of the tourney, is a curiosity. For most of us, the entire regular season, from October through February, does not even matter.
How many times did Duke beat North Carolina this year? Or vice-versa? It doesn’t matter.
Which team won the Big East conference regular season title? Which won the conference tourney? Who cares?
But for two lovely days in March we DO care. Dreams do come true.
Every Norfolk State, every VCU, every South Florida and Ohio and Lehigh has a chance to stand tall, as they all did this year. Congratulations to all in that group who now get to hang a cool banner from the rafters of their basketball arena…a much-deserved tribute.
But, for most of the nation, NCAA basketball, after last Friday, does not much matter.
All the big dogs will own the rest of the tourney, and the rest of us can go to sleep on NCAA basketball until next March, and wait for those two magical days, when a Lehigh again stands a chance to take down mighty Duke.
P.S. A pox upon Mizzou and Wichita State, for trashing all of my bracket hopes…