Monday, March 18, 2013

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

There are 12 months in a year. Some months are better than others. December is a great time of the year with all of the holidays and families coming together. How about November being a great time to give thanks? Maybe one of the summer months because the weather is great, and you get to really have an enjoyable time with friends. However, all of these months are truly abysmal compared to one: March.

The NCAA Tournament is undoubtedly the most exciting postseason in all of sports. I do not want to hear any argument for the NFL or NBA and do not even think about the Bowl system. No other postseason provides the suspense and intensity, the passion, the storylines, the heartbreak, and the joy March Madness provides. If you are still not convinced, take a walk with me.

One of my favorite parts of the system is the opportunity provided by the conference tournaments. Disregarding the Ivy League and the bottom four teams in a few conferences, every single team in college basketball has a chance. If you went (0-30) and did not shoot over 15% in any game that season, you are still awarded the opportunity to make a run at the big dance and win the National Championship. Sure, the odds of this situation are very minimal, but the fact is that they exist. Every team has a chance to make it into the tournament. And as we have learned in the past, once you get into the tournament, absolutely anything is possible.
The second aspect is the drama. Absolutely nothing beats a college basketball game where an entire season is on the line with two minutes left. With 64 teams playing in the first round, there will always be a fair number of games that come down to the very last play. The buzzer beaters that which sends one fan base into euphoric hysteria, but sends another into indescribable, heartbreaking pain. You remember the feeling of having your team’s heart ripped out, which makes it all the more sweeter when your teams rips another’s out. 1.2% of college players make play professionally, which makes college basketball even more special. A majority of these kids realize this is the end of their meaningful basketball career, which renders itself the to high intensity and passion of the game. This high tension creates an atmosphere in which scrutiny is heightened, every error magnified and criticized, every succession praised and adored.
We end with Cinderella. Every year a certain team makes a run that nobody predicted. Some of these runs are to a greater extent than other, but there is always at least one team that seems to have something magical about them. Some of the most notable runs in the past few years have been George Mason getting to the Final Four, Davidson making it to the Elite 8, a Butler squad making the National Championship back to back years, VCU embarking on an incredible Final Four run, and then last year an Ohio Bobcat team making it to the Sweet 16. These teams give hope to the little guy. They give hope to every team that they can be the next Cinderella. When these teams make their run, they have the whole country behind them. Everybody loves an underdog story, and there are plenty of those when March rolls around.
This year is a special year in college basketball to say the least. Never before have we seen such an even landscape of teams. This season has consisted of upset after upset. The nationwide absence of dominance has lead to a beautiful anarchal basketball landscape. This plethora of statements means that this NCAA Tournament may be the best. Upsets will happen, and the true Cinderella will be hard to identify until the latter part of the tournament. I will even go as far as say that this will be the first time ever that a 16 seed beats a 1. I could be wrong. If theres anything we have learned this season, it’s that we can predict absolutely nothing. After it’s all over and we get to watch the montage of highlights from the tournament known as One Shining Moment, watching all the moments will give us goose bumps.  The culmination of memories we cannot wait for which will mark the end of this beautiful chaos which we call the Road to Atlanta. Let the mayhem begin.
-Ben Greer

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