“Road to the Final 4-Plenty of Potholes-Roadblocks”
Bring it on. It starts this morning and it runs 3-weeks, the NCAA Tourney, March Madness as known to the frenzied fans.
It’s somewhat akin to the old high school tourneys across the states decades ago, you know, one size fits all. Something like from the movie “Hoosiers” where tiny Hickory has the chance to maybe beat South Bend.
You know the blue bloods in the field, and in your brackets, North Carolina, Kentucky,Kansas and more.
There are those who have come out of nowhere to be something special this season, like a Virginia or a Baylor.
There are the historical names too, Duke and Indiana, not what they used to be, but still pretty good.
And then there are Cindarella’s, hoping the wheel doesn’t fall of the coach, or the glass slipper breaks. People like Arkansas-Little Rock, Stony Brook, even Gonzaga.
The tourney has been a spectacular show of last second jump shots to win games, heart-wrenching last possession turnovers that lose games. Coaching, yelling, foul calls, rabid fans, with their faces painted.
There have been so many unique stories about the ending of these games.
Christian Laettner’s amazing turnaround jumper for Duke with split tenths of a second left on the clock.
The missed shot-put back that put North Carolina State and its late coach Jim Valvano into history.
The dominance of a Bill Walton performance. The emergence of a tiny schools like George Mason, or Penn, or Princeton getting to the Final Four.
You may gripe that a (12-19) Holy Cross didn’t earn a chance to be in the show, but they did by somehow winning their tourney.
You cannot duplicate the excitement at a tiny place like Florida Gulf Coast University, and what it means to be in the field of 64.
And Butler has captured the hearts of America, from the birthplace of the game, the state of Indiana, to be the tiny engine that could.
Of course, you cannot forget the heart break of an mistaken Michigan timeout, or a backwards Georgetown pass that became a critical turnover, or the craziness of watching Rollie Massamino lose his mind as his team was winning the title.
We’ll see some upsets, some tears, lots of cheers before this first weekend is done. Waiting to see is some 15th ranked team takes out a number two. You always wonder about the dangers of an 8-9. A number one has never lost to a 16, but that’s why they play these games.
Before we’re done, we’ll get to see Bill Self and Roy Williams, Coach K, and and Calipari match wits, Xs and O’s, and substitution strategy.
But first we must watch what happens today and tomorrow, then Saturday and Sunday. It cannot be duplicated in any other sport, what NCAA basketball has brought to us, as the calendar reads “March Madness