Sunday, March 27, 2011

It's a mad, mad, mad March Madness

I knew this was going to be an unpredictable NCAA men’s basketball tournament when, on the first day of March Madness, my wife issued words that I swear I never, ever expected to come out of her mouth. She was actually sitting and watching highlights of Morehead State upsetting Louisville when, observing the game-winning shot, my wife turned to me and said, incredibly, “Did you see that guy drain that 3-point shot?” Mind you the only time I have ever heard my wife use the word “drain” in a sentence it was usually accompanied with an order to fix something. But my wife has discovered what March Madness is about. Last year our sons and I convinced her to fill out a NCAA tournament bracket with us. The idea was to educate her about March Madness while at the same time better explaining our obsession of watching so many basketball games on all days and times of the week in March. We figured she just might get it. Well, if North Carolina had beaten Kentucky today in the last Elite Eight game of the weekend, she would have won our family-of-four tournament pool. She would have drained it. As it is, my 18-year-old son has won it, even though he doesn’t have one single team in the Final Four in his bracket. Who knew? On February 3, Butler had a 14-9 record and a three-game losing streak after losing to an 8-14 Youngstown State team. They had as much chance of getting to the championship game again as Hickory High in “Hoosiers.” On February 3, VCU was coming off a loss to an 8-15 Northeastern team. At that time, they really deserved to get ripped by ESPN experts Dick Vitale and Jay Bilas who thought VCU belonged in the NCAA tournament about as much as USSR. On February 3, Kentucky was in the midst of losing four games in a seven-game span and had been defeated by an Ole Miss team that was 1-5 at the time in the SEC. The Wildcats had their eyes affixed to getting into the NBA before the NCAA tournament. On February 3, UConn lost a home game to Syracuse to fall to 5-4 in the Big East Conference en route to a No. 9 seed in the Big East Tournament where the Huskies had a six-game losing streak. On April 3, two of the above-mentioned teams will be preparing to play in the NCAA Division I men’s basketball national championship game. Who knew?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Sorry, Chuck. Only one network needed for one March Madness shining moment

I’m looking for One Shining Moment.

I only need one television network to find it.

In this case more is not better in covering the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. My March Madness is having to switch channels to see another game instead of waiting for CBS to cut into a close game at the right time.

That was the beauty of March Madness. Someone at CBS with the flick of the switch could direct us instantaneously from one game to another that was coming down to a final shot, a final play that resulted in a stunning upset or an amazing win and validated the madness in March.

Now, with TBS and TNT and Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament mix, we get whole games whether we like it or not and I don’t. It's terrible!

I like the old days when you could watch one game on the Eye Network with one eye on one game and keep another eye on the top of the TV screen as up-to-the-second scores from other games scrolled. There was anxiety and anticipation that CBS at any minute was going to take us to an even more exciting game than the one we were watching.

Now we watch one game from start to finish go back to the studio and let the talking heads talk.

Can you feel my March Sadness?