Elmhurst Pub Roundtable

Where the beer is cold and the conversation loud...

Monday, March 06, 2006

March Madness!

"It's the most wonderful time of the year!"

I can't say enough how much I look forward to these weeks in March. This weekend saw the first few dance cards punched in several mid-major conferences, bubbles bursting, and teams getting ready for the major conference tournaments. Any college basketball fan can tell you that between now and March 19th are the most exciting weeks of basketball around. That gets you through all your conference tournaments and the first two rounds of the NCAA. The games come one after another and the action is amazing. The smaller conferences know that they will see only one bid, so every conference tournament game is a matter of life or death to these kids. And it's compelling. I may never have watched Coastal Carolina play basketball, but the way they played against Wintrop, with three pointers raining down, made you feel horrible when they fell just short. Last year saw a fantastic slate of games that had everything from overtimes to buzzer-beater finishes. One that still sticks out in my mind is the UK-MSU game, Patrick Sparks rained a last second three, using every part of the rim, to send the game to the first of two overtimes.

I almost want to ask what we can expect these next few weeks, but the answers are both obvious and vague. We can certainly expect a giant (or three) to fall in the NCAA tourney....but to who and when? One can also know that there will be at least four tremendous conference tournament finishes. SportsCenter is required viewing for the college hoop nut, because you can't catch everything. It's a time of year where you start to watch teams you've never heard of because of the magic of the month and the feeling of the moment. You find yourself pulled in to games with teams like UNC-Wilmington, Davidson, Belmont, Fairleigh Dickinson, etc. Everyone will have Cinderella Dreams and hopes of hearing "One Shining Moment" at the end of it all. Add to that, office pools, brackets with friends and family, all lead to 90% of America having some sort of rooting interest. Let's add to that the first two rounds being played over St. Patrick's Day. It's a set of circumstances that makes you feel good all over...or something like that.

So sit back, through on Championship week on the nine different ESPN networks, get to knwo your mid-majors, and watch some great stories unfold. Sure, the big conferences usually dominate, but watching a team with everything to lose creates more drama than these big conference tournaments where teams that lose still will dance. If you're looking for me, I'll be on the couch...

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