March is always a solid time for sports viewing while you are still huddled in your house. The NBA and the NHL are in the final quarter of the long season and baseball spring training is just for those who really really care. The dessert is March Madness, the only time you can see schools like Butler or Gonzaga colleges play basketball on national television. College bball is not for everybody because you get spoiled by the NBA and the large and prestigious schools are all you hear about.
I, like many enjoy being in a pool with my best guesses on the bracket, but actually never have big money riding on it. Some years there are clear favorites and you ride them like a donkey and other years you bet on those sure things and then they leave you high in dry in the second round.
Aside from playing pin the tail on donkey for my bracket picks, I just like watching the Sweet Sixteen. There, you have separated the contenders versus the pretenders and your viewing time isn’t wasted. How cynical is this? not so much, it’s my honesty and how much I want to spend my precious free time. There is always going to be a team like Kentucky, Kansas, North Carolina, Duke and Syracuse in the final rounds but you hope for the lower seeded teams to pull off a run. It doesn’t always happen but you do get to see some crazed fans of these smaller programs going bonkers for their team.
If you have your alma mater in this showcase then this just about seals this as must see TV. I have a buddy who went to Cal Berkeley who is in this year’s tourney. Cal doesn’t make lot appearances in the tourney so when they do get in, it is bigger than the Super Bowl. You don’t even have to know their players or seen any of their games but if they are in the big show, you start wearing your gear and rooting on the boys or girls.
The tourney does give all of us NBA fans a chance to see kids who are potential pro players. Some players get drafted by how well they performed in this tourney, others might get downgraded for wilting in the big games. Another aspect I look for are the teams that have a lot of seniors. It’s so rare to see teams with a starting senior squad. The reality is that the NBA has robbed the collegiate level of their star players when they often have only played one year or maybe two. I understand the draw of a big contract but it so rare that a 19 year old kid will amount to much riding the bench in the NBA. The media will build up these young stars in college so this tourney could be your one and only chance to see them playing a whole game. Go Cal Berkeley!