"You Gotta Be Kidding!"
by Mickey Charles CEO, sportsnetwork.com
Hatboro, PA (Sports Network) --
No, you cannot alter your selections. What is done is done. Most of those that lost in the final seconds were not destined to go to the Final Four and early points accumulated are meaningless. That brings to mind the purpose of those selections since they have no value. But, they do in a convoluted sort of manner. If there is a major upset of Ohio State, North Carolina, Duke, Connecticut, Kansas, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, BYU, Wisconsin, Syracuse or even Florida, you are out of it, just an instant spectator. However, it is also a pretty well-known fact that you are in more than one pool.
Technically speaking, once there is money involved, we are all committing a potential crime but I cannot fathom anyone in the Justice Department or the FBI contacting the White House to ask the President how much he invested in his pool, the one that he alleges is just for fun, not even dinner for everyone if you win, as a gracious gesture to staff members.
Matt Howard's putback at the buzzer finished off a wild back-and-forth contest against Old Dominion.
Bashing the selection committee over the years has been easy considering the teams that they opted to ask to the dance, teams with two left feet. Given the first two rounds of 2011, they are basking in the rays of achievement and success. They are not to be denied. So, did the top teams get worse or the poor teams better and capable of displaying talents to prove that they are not as poor as some might have us think? Princeton taking Kentucky to the last second, Temple winning on an unbelievable shot, Butler sending Old Dominion home with a buzzer-beater, Morehead State canceling a four-seed party with a three pointer and only four seconds left to win by one, George Mason, down by six at the halfway point, coming from behind with a three-point shot and only twenty seconds to go to send Villanova home on the disappointment express.
There was as much sweat in the stands as there was on the uniforms on the court. Fans praying, holding hands, covering their eyes, wondering if their hotel reservations were good for another night or so or whether the hotel would charge them for additional days if they left.
Now it continues this weekend with more and more teams taking the pipe, the bullet, while others have meetings to analyze their next opponent, whether an old foe or a new challenger. Meanwhile, all the rest of us are checking our print-outs of the bracket to see if we are still heading to the Final Four and Championship Game, where all the points are. The rest of the selections leading up to that point are, basically, nonsense and window dressing. Getting within the finish line is all that matters, until those last few left standing match up with the ones on that sheet of paper you are holding now, have placed next to the TV, put up on the fridge or are just carrying around.
Juan Fernandez hit a contested jumper with just 0.4 seconds left on the clock as Temple defeated Penn State.
Temple, Pittsburgh and Gonzaga should be packed and ready to leave. Kentucky and West Virginia will go down to the wire, Florida is slated to send UCLA home to study for finals, Richmond and Morehead State are a toss-up and neither will make it much further than this one and Butler can just relive their last game on the trip home, not the one they will be playing Saturday. Wisconsin to edge Kansas State and Connecticut to dispense with Cincinnati because they are, simply stated, a smarter team.
Is there much more in sports better than March Madness? Probably not. Equal to it, certainly ... like the championships of all the majors - MLB, NBA, NHL, NFL and some college bowl games. But, even speaking of other big time sports events, the absolute frenzy of this, the highs and lows, the enthusiasm of collegians, their talents on display, and the little things - mistakes that cost a game, the improbable and seemingly impossible that wins one. The right second and being in the right place, the coaching blunders and bungles, the presumed brilliance and ingenuity for the substitution, time-out, play-calling. It makes for a hell of a weekend!
Are the Buckeyes, Tar Heels, Jayhawks, Blue Devils, Cougars, Huskies, Panthers or Orange capable of hanging in there until April 2nd and 4th? We will soon find out.
Demonte Harper's pull-up three-pointer gave Morehead State the first win over Louisville since 1957.
But, the bottom line is that this has been the best tournament in a long time and whether the selection committee got lucky or knew what they were doing, actually investigated, watched teams play, asked around from others and reached out to those that did not get automatic bids but would be competitive, created the seeds and pairings that led to what has transpired these past few days and will take place today and beyond, they are to be commended.
You know it is a good one when your wife joins you to watch...and, yes, she entered with a bracket selection of her own. But, she is having fun.
Who will be in the Final Four? Do not have a clue but best guess is North Carolina, after beating Ohio State, Duke once they dispose of UConn, Kansas following a victory over Notre Dame and BYU with a win over Pitt. If I really knew I would be in Las Vegas with the title papers for the farm and estate in Boca. Is there any oracle like advice coming? You gotta be kidding!