Welcome back, March Madness ™. We miss you.
This is true madness: loud, noisy arenas, buzzers, legitimate ashes, even a supposed advantage on the local court (or at least the local crowd) in an otherwise neutral tournament.
We didn’t really have it last year, when all the men’s games were in a bubble in Indianapolis, the women’s tournament took place in the San Antonio area, the audience was limited and socially distanced, and everything was tightly closed for obvious reasons. And we had nothing in 2020, when the cancellation of conference tournaments came at the beginning of a massive blockade and the loss of the national tournament became an early symbol of our deprivation.
We can, and almost certainly will, debate whether COVID-19 is completely in our past. As the mandates for masks and vaccines are lifted in this country, the BA.2 subvariant is gaining ground in Europe, and what begins there invariably ends here. Therefore, it is too early to celebrate the end of the pandemic, just as it was last June when we felt liberated from COVID only to quickly discover the opposite.
However, it is safe to say that in view of what has happened before, what may be before us, and all that is going on in the world these days, we need this magnificent distraction as much if not more than ever.
The NCAA Tournament rarely disappoints. Unless, of course, it’s your support that’s broken or your alma mater or your favorite team leaving home early, or that bet – whether legal or not – that seemed safe until you didn’t. it was. (More on that below).
“Nothing can break March Madness,” Charles Barkley told CBS Sunday morning. By the way, give Chuck credit. When TNT NBA announcers were added to the NCAA Tournament teams a few years ago, Barkley was absolutely unprepared to talk about college basketball. He is much better now.
Saint Peter’s, Jersey City, NJ, a university with just over 3,000 students, is now a sensation at night in its 92nd interuniversity basketball season following consecutive Kentucky and Murray State upheavals. The Peacocks have appeared in the NIT12 times (beating the first round twice) and actually won the CollegeInsider.com (CIT) tournament in 2017.
Now it’s the American’s Darlings, and their next game will be in Philadelphia, maybe an hour and a half down I-95. Do you think they will have the crowd by your side?
“I have guys from New Jersey and New York. Do you think we’re afraid of something?”
The confidence of Saint Peter’s head coach Shaheen Holloway is unmatched
– Sports Illustrated (@SInow) March 20, 2022
And that’s probably a feat, but keep in mind: another little-known Jesuit institution made an unexpected tournament 24 years ago, defeating Minnesota, Stanford and Florida before losing to eventual Connecticut national champion Elite Eight. Attention – and, among other things, increased donations and tuition – gave enough momentum for Gonzaga to make his way to where he is now, a national brand and a powerhouse of basketball.
Will St. Peter ever be able to approach that? Who knows, but what a chance this is.
Thursday and Friday reminded us why the first two days of the NCAA Tournament, with wall-to-wall basketball from morning to night, are the best days of the sports year. This is especially true in Las Vegas, where five-league conference tournaments have dominated the landscape for a week and a half before giving way to those who, say, indirectly experience these games.
Even when a game is unbalanced, there is reason to pay attention. Cal State Fullerton did not intend to beat Duke and end Mike Krzyzewski’s coaching career on Thursday night, and the Titans did not. But Duke was an 18-1 / 2-point favorite, and when Dante Maddox Jr. of Fullerton threw a matte escape with 3.5 seconds left, the final margin was Duke by 17, 78-61. I guess there were strong reactions in the casinos up and down the Strip, the brackets and the bets (and the bad beats like this) were the big reasons why this is so exciting.
It’s a breakthrough, of course, that the administrators who ran things finally allowed the women’s tournament to use the March Madness designation. The disparities between last year’s male and female bubbles, displayed in a memorable way in the video posted by Sedona Prince of Oregon – embarrassed the organization for acting, although true equity is likely to be some distance away.
The women may be buried from the point of view of attention, but six double-digit series heads this weekend marked upsets in the first round to go with seven on the men’s side. And the women made the most of an ABC audience and a crowd of ability in Iowa City when Creighton, a No. 10, defeated Iowa No. 2 in the second round on Sunday. The winning shot was a triple with 12.6 seconds left by Lauren Jensen, a transfer from … Iowa.
10-seeded Creighton defeats 2-seeded Iowa!
Iowa transfer Lauren Jensen won the match against her former team. pic.twitter.com/vnHENmldNR
– SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 20, 2022
(When the Women’s Sweet 16 takes place this week, hopefully they have those huge March Madness logos on the center track just like the men. For the first two rounds of this weekend’s women’s tournament on campus, obviously the school brand host is considered more important).
One more thing this March: it no longer requires so much cognitive dissonance to enjoy the games while understanding the economic imbalance it entails. This is the first tournament of the name / image / similarity era, and hopefully the players who provide the memorable moments can charge legally and without hypocrisy.
@Jim_Alexander on Twitter
The Madness is mesmerizing — and it was missed – Press Telegram Source link The Madness is mesmerizing — and it was missed – Press Telegram