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Brackets A-Plenty.

March-MadnessIt happens every March. The NCAA Basketball Tournament is back, along with the arguments of who got left out and the unfairness of the seedings (Every team in Kentucky’s bracket thinks that the seedings are unfair—PS: Women’s teams in UConn’s bracket feel the same way). What amazes and impresses me each year is the emotional stranglehold the NCAA tournament has on sports fans during March, hence the nomenclature March Madness.

The brilliance is simple—ITPS–It’s the process, stupid.

Sure, college basketball is a terrific sport, but let’s be honest—there’s far less knowledge about the players themselves than there used to be. At best most fans are learning about the key players “on the go”, and to their credit the coverage does a wonderful job of developing storylines for players you’ve just heard of for the first time. Alas, as a “old-timer” I still yearn for following more familiar players, but there are far fewer 4-year players and many of the best players are in the “one and done” category hoping to gain an NBA lottery payday in a few months. That makes following a group of the same players for 3-4 years, as in years gone by, almost impossible.

However, while the quality of play may suffer a bit since many talented 20-21 year olds are now playing in the NBA, the concept of the elimination funnel remains. That’s the tourney’s secret sauce. Put 68 terms in at the top , chop 4 in the “play-in round” and let the math takes it course—64, 32, 16, 8, 4, 2, and voila, the winner.

The honest truth is that the opening rounds (Thursday-Sunday) and next weekend (regional semis and finals) are to me the most exciting part of the tournament. When we get to the Final 4, the games have less hold, unless you have a specific betting and/or rooting interest in one of the teams.

The NCAA tournament has also taken all the juice out of the NIT, a tournament which used to rival the NCAA tournament. Imagine Duke, UNC, Virginia, Maryland and Georgetown all coming to the Garden this week. In the “old days” where you needed to be conference champs to go to the Big Dance, these teams would be headed to NY for the NIT this week.

So let the games begin and bracket busters crush your hopes. And let’s see the NCAA add at least one more round to the football series as well to try to relicate a small part of March Madness. Play ball.

PS I have two brackets—Iowa State as Winner in one, Wisconsin in the other. No fun in picking the overwhelming favorite, Kentucky.




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One Comment

  1. You’re getting smarter in your old age (at least for one of your brackets). Must be the donuts.

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