Saturday, March 23, 2013

March Madness as fun as ever

Is it just me or has this year's NCAA men's basketball tournament been really enjoyable?

I mean, of course it's usually a lot of fun, but it seems like there's something more this year.
Part of it for me is that this year a dream of mine was finally realized.

I knew having every board game in the history of mankind would pay off one day.
Seriously, that is a thing of beauty that should bring tears to your eyes. Four screens, four games, not having to miss a minute of action. Throw in the fact that I had nearly the entire day off Thursday and, well, there's still a pretty sizable dent in my couch. But my remote seemed appreciative for the break.

Day One offered a solid start to the madness. Southern was an early darling but came up short in it's upset bid against Gonzaga. Marquette also avoided an upset at the hands of Davidson with a late rally aided by a heartbreaking Wildcats turnover in the closing seconds. St. Mary's also rallied in an attempt to upset but missed a last-second 3-pointer that would have beat Memphis. An easy Syracuse win and the day's big story, Harvard's upset win over New Mexico, were the late highlights.

I spent much of the day Friday away from my four-screen heaven and at the office, so I missed most of the early action. Fortunately I was home in time to witness the upset of the year, seeing Syracuse fans' new second-favorite team Florida Gulf Coast University beat Georgetown.

GIF from SB Nation

In only its second year of eligibility for the Big Dance the Eagles soared, using an array of high-flying dunks and some clutch free throw shooting to knock off No. 2 seed Georgetown.

Seeing the Hoyas knocked out early is becoming a tradition on par with the Masters. In John Thompson III's 10 years at the helm Georgetown has been knocked out by double-digit seed five spots below it in five of them. He joined Bob Knight and Jim Boeheim as the only coaches with that dubious distinction, although it took those two 30-plus years to do it.

Not that I think Thompson's entirely to blame. Actually, it's bad timing on his part. He took over during a different era from Knight and Boeheim, a time when parity reigns. We've all heard commentators bemoaning the loss of the four-year player and how it hurts the game.

They may be right from November to February but March is a different story.

Just ask Florida Gulf Coast and its new fans in the Salt City.


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