Tomorrow is March 1st.
If you're reading this that means you're most likely a sports fan and you know exactly what the date represents.
I'm supposed to write next, "The Madness is soon to begin."
But let's be honest. It's already here. It's been here all season. We might as well have labeled this entire college basketball season by month with "Madness" type monikers.
At this point, Madness can be called Normal for this college hoops season.
Just this week alone, of the Top 25 AP teams, seventeen have played a game. They're 11-6. Of those six losses, five of them were to unranked teams. Three losses were to teams with below .500 overall records. With the way big conferences schedule these days, you have to be pretty bad to be below .500 overall. Yet three of those kinds of teams beat teams ranked 11 or higher this week.
And it's not like it's the bottom rung of the national rankings who are causing these scoreboards to look backwards. #1 Indiana, #4 Michigan, #8 Florida, #11 Arizona and #19 Memphis all lost to unranked teams. And that was just over Tuesday and Wednesday night! We aren't even to Thursday games yet, much less the weekend, when everyone plays.
So what will March have in store for us? When the brackets are announced March 17, there won't be much of a difference between a 1 and a 4 seed. You might as well just put all the 5-12 seeds in a hat and pull one out. They'll have just as much chance to win a game - or even two - as any of the others. Could this be the year a #16 actually upsets a #1? It's still doubtful. But the wait feels like it's at least getting closer.
When you fill your brackets out this year, go with the mascot you like best. Take the team whose colors or uniform designs you like better. Pick according to where your father's uncle's cousin's step-son went to school. It doesn't matter. I'll freely admit right here you'll have just as much chance of nailing more games correct than those of us who think we know what the heck we're doing.
It's as wide open a field as I can ever remember. Bad basketball? Sure. There's been a lot of that. No scoring? For the most part, that's right, too. Parity? Definitely.
But if you're a college hoops enthusiast like me, that's not why we watch. We enjoy the drama. And that's what this year has and will keep bringing us. Let's face it, you never know how 18-22 year old "kids" - most of whom will never be good enough to even get a sniff in the NBA - are going to play and react in different situations. That's what makes this level of the sport and this time of year so fun, no matter how good or bad the talent on the court is.
This year's college basketball calendar is a week later than usual. The big tourney doesn't begin until March 19. The major conferences don't start their tourneys until the week of March 11. But we're literally less than a week away from some of the "Mid-Major" conference tourney tips. Heck, the Big South and Horizon get things going Tuesday!
So, get a good night's sleep tonight. Because Freaky February is finally over. And March
Madness Normal is about to begin.
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