"You Gotta Be Kidding!"
by Mickey Charles, CEO Sports Network
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - It is that time of the year. And, it is
not called "March Madness" without reason. Think of it, 129 schools competing
in all the tournaments which are about to get underway, 65 of which are in the
"big one." As with the football bowls at season's end, it will not be long
before conference playoffs are a thing of the past or just a warm-up and
everyone will be invited to "the big dance" where it will be, as with those
playoffs, one and done,
Look at it this way, teams that never should have been invited in the first
place will be sent home after the first game is played. Is there a chance for
a major upset? Will snow fall in Las Vegas any time soon? Sure, it is
possible. Unlikely is a more apt description. Winning a conference
tournament is the criteria, but that does not make for the truly most
deserving teams around. It just means that the conference is represented.
Tell me I am wrong, but will Cal State Northridge and its 17-13 record best
Memphis? How about Cornell, representing the Ivy League, going up against
Missouri, or Chattanooga measuring up with Connecticut? Even a chapel at the
various arenas will not help. Is it an honor to be there, a treat for the
team? Sure, like candy without a meal to follow. Can East Tennessee State
really get into a physical match-up against Pittsburgh? Best bet there is to
have 911 on call. How about American taking on Villanova in Philadelphia?
They will learn the real meaning of crowd noise and partisanship.
Binghamton is playing Duke. Why? A letter of regret for not being able to
make it would be more welcomed by everyone. but it just might be worth a trip
if they can get over to Graceland. Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweeping
down the plain, and Morgan State is not going to corral that or put it into
some bottle to place in any trophy case that they might possess. Syracuse is
no longer tired and they are revved up to take on what will likely be Arizona
State. The Orange will not be squeezed by the likes of Stephen F. Austin.
Not much chance of Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski and the Blue Devils losing in the first round.
And then there is North Carolina. The Tar Heels will be going up against
Radford. You read that correctly...Radford. This could make Friday the 13th
seem like a comedy...the movie, not the date.
Robert Morris against Michigan State. Quick, where is Robert Morris, what is
the name of their conference and do you know the school's nickname? All
household items. OK, stop looking, they are The Colonials and Robert Morris
was one of the people that funded the American Revolution. There will not,
however, be any revolt on the hardwoods when they meet the Spartans.
Louisville will take on the winner of the Alabama State/Morehead State contest
but that one is like duking it out to determine who dives into the shark
infested waters from the 90-foot cliff.
Once you have studied your bracket, tonight, tomorrow, the next day and
deposited your $5, $10 or more into the hands of the person responsible for
collecting, recording and posting, just remember that it all boils down to the
Final Four and the winner. The rest is simply for crowing rights around the
office, nothing more.
The Big East has three of the four No. 1 seeds so there is a message being
sent. Physical, school-yard ball is back in vogue. Run 'n gun works. The
outsider is, of course, North Carolina, and ACC entries are teams to watch
just as closely...Duke, Wake Forest, Florida State, Maryland, Boston College,
and Clemson are all capable of winning when they are supposed to lose,
according to what the stats and odds-makers say.
The pundits on TV will continue to theorize why this team or that one should
win or lose and, in many cases, be wrong. No apologies forthcoming and few
recollections of what they said or who they chose. Just more hypothecating
the day after. Not much complaining about which schools were left out because
past years have proven that venting does not change a thing and the selection
committee has volumes of reasons why they chose this or that team and not
another. You would have more luck speaking to the Western Wall in Jerusalem,
and greater likelihood of an acceptable response.
Lots of cheering, and just as many disappointments are on the agenda in the
weeks ahead. Do I think anyone can settle on the Sweet Sixteen, Elite Eight,
and Final Four right now? You gotta be kidding!