How many of you sat for hours in front of your TVs last Friday through Monday (yes, Monday) watching the craziest first two rounds of March Madness to ever take place? It felt good to have it back, didn’t it?
I’m typically not much of a gambler this side of the Rockies, except for the occasional office pools that either raise money for travel baseball or raise the level of office trash talk during March Madness. However, given the circumstances and the fact March was a madness of a different kind last year, I entered more NCAA Tournament pools in 2021 than ever before. As of this editing, Ohio U. knocked me out of Pete the Fox’s Survivor Pool, I’ve won zero money in the squares pool (my own pool), I have zero teams left in another (my dad’s pool that I took over ten years ago), I’m getting smoked at home by my son Klein (who only has one Final Four team left), and my rankings in the various office pools range from 5th to 353rd. You can be sure that 5th place will not hold; I’m typically terrible at the ones that require cognitive thought, but I do have all Final Four teams still in play (Let’s go Cougs!).
Standing to lose a combined $80 in five different pools doesn’t make this March any less exciting. How many of you in your college years would have been dancing on Abilene Christian’s football field mid-pandemic (Texas was by far the way more talented team.)?
How many of you were dancing on Court St. last Saturday night (Darn you Bobcats!)? I bet we can find one if they’re willing to own up to it. I wish I could throw a few names out there, you know who you are, and it wouldn’t surprise anyone.
There are other factors contributing to this year’s madness. First, there’s a chance the tournament seeding wasn’t as accurate as it could have been given all the restrictions, shortened schedules, canceled games, and lack of non-conference opponents. There are plenty of Buckeye fans still walking around town a week later saying maybe Oral Roberts wasn’t a 15 seed. I don’t hear those same people saying Illinois should not have been a No. 1 seed, or that maybe the Big Ten was a little overrated (Go Blue?).
Secondly, we’re clearly starting to see the effect of the college one-and-done rule. Teams with fascinating talent and future NBA stars still don’t account for much in a team sport like college basketball when it is coached and played the right way (Sister Jean!).
Wait, did you say coaching? Let’s talk about the madness going on in Chapel Hill. Someone, please tell me why Father Time is still strolling the sidelines. I love the man, he’s done a lot for the sport and his alma mater, but please, the student body deserves more, and frankly so do the players (Brad Stevens only said no to IU).
More madness? How many of you were dancing when the IRS extended the individual tax filing deadline? Oh, the joy of the never-ending busy season that started 15 months ago, hopefully ending mid-June this year. I understand there’s way too much to keep track of this year, but if you’re not getting your taxes done by 4/15, what makes you think 5/15 is any more helpful if the corporate deadlines are still in place (Extend, baby!)?
Sadly, for me, this is turning into any other typical March. Carolina lost earlier than they should have and the Jackets are playing themselves right out of the playoff picture one game at a time. And at that point, it becomes baseball season (Go Yankees!).