Yo Christmas, I’m really happy for you, I’ma let you finish. But March is the most wonderful time of the year — the most wonderful time of the year!
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we are a week away from the greatest four-day stretch in sports: the opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament. If you count the play-in games, we’re even closer.
I can hardly contain my excitement.
Nothing gets my blood pumping like plopping down on my couch after a long day at the office, flipping to ESPN2 and catching a Colonial Athletic Association Tournament semifinal game. You mean two teams with .500 records and players I’ve never heard of, fighting for a chance to earn a 16 seed and eventually get beat by 100 against Villanova?
This is what the month of March is all about. It’s on the calendar for the Cinderellas and even the ugly stepsisters (Duke).
March is for Adam Morrison’s tears, and again for me and my tears because Morrison was my favorite and that loss to UCLA still haunts me.
It’s for the George Masons, Florida Gulf Coasts and Wichita States.
Without March, would any of us have any idea that Gonzaga University exists? The 10-seeded Zags made it to the Elite Eight in 1999. They followed with 19 consecutive tournament appearances, and Mark Few no longer needs glass slippers when heading to the Big Dance.
This is a month when we celebrate the buzzer-beaters. I might be solely responsible for keeping YouTube in business because I’ve logged more hours watching March Madness highlights over the last week than I care to admit. Some of my favorites:
- “The Runner” — Gonzaga knocks off Florida in the Sweet Sixteen in 1999.
- Western Kentucky’s Ty Rogers beats Drake on a contested 3-pointer in 2008.
- Mario Chalmers sends 2008 championship to overtime, which Kansas eventually won.
- Other end of the spectrum for Kansas — Ali Farokhmanesh knocks off the top-seeded Jayhawks in 2010.
- Kris Jenkins winner over North Carolina in the 2016 title game — the greatest buzzer beater in sports.
Seriously, though, just watch a couple videos of tournament buzzer-beaters. They’re all awesome. Bring back Gus Johnson!
Come Sunday, the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee will burst bubbles and surprise a few lucky fan bases. Then, us degenerates will franticly scribble and scratch names onto our brackets like the experts we think we are, only to rethink the whole thing and immediately fall to last in our office pool as Nina from corporate accounts payable shows off her perfect bracket filled out by which teams’ colors she likes the most.
March is the best.
The Sheridan Press will host a March Madness contest this year, so be on the lookout for that. Just be prepared for Nina to kick your butt.
The Press sports crew — Bud Denega, Ryan Patterson and myself — will show off our brackets in Monday’s edition; be sure to give that a peek and see if you can beat us (you probably can).
None of us are experts (except Nina); that’s what makes this whole thing so fun. That’s why March is the most wonderful time of the year.