Thursday, March 21, 2013

Bring on March Madnesss

(I'm coming to you from my Nook, so when I publish this post, it'll probably look like one huge paragraph until I'm able to fix it on a real computer). Well, MSU lost to the red hot Ohio State Buckeyes in the Big Ten Tournament semi-finals. For whatever reason, Aaron Craft always goes off against the Spartans. He's one of those guys you'd love if he was on your team, but seeing in Ohio State's uniform makes your blood boil and causes you to hurl epithets at your TV screen.

Speaking of Ohio State, they are on a roll and, for what it's worth, in my bracket I have them playing in the national championship game against Miami. I predict Miami to win because I just can't bring myself to wish too much good fortune towards the Buckeyes.

I'm nervous about Valparaiso, MSU's first opponent in the NCAA tournament. They are a good perimeter shooting team led by five seniors, all of whom start. MSU has had some occasional trouble defending the three this season. (Listen to me try to pretend I know what I'm talking about. Ha!). If MSU doesn't take these guys seriously enough, they could be upset.


Today and tomorrow are the two most exciting days of the sports calendar. Forget about the Super Bowl, which I contend is the most overrated sporting event of the year, and give me the first two real days--I don't count the "play-in games"--of the NCAA tourmament ANY day. For pure exitement and drama, the NCAA basketball tournament can't be beat.

I'm not a big fan of the "First Four" games of the tournament, and liked the NCAA tourmament much more when it was simply 64 teams all staring play on the same two days. (The NCAA hates for these games to be referred to as "play-in games," but let's face it, that's what they are). Of course, the NCAA doesn't realize when it has a good thing and has to endlessly tinker with the format. At least the field hasn't been expanded to 96 teams, but I would not be surprised if that happens sometime in the not-to-distant future.

I happen to be home today and tomorrow and will be able to watch the games. I haven't been able to do this since 1998, the first year that Tom Izzo took MSU to the NCAA tournament. I vividly recall watching Mateen Cleaves and company taking on a pesky Eastern Michigan team led by Earl Boykins, and then two days later beating Bill Carmody's 27-1 Princeton Tigers. Many pundits didn't give MSU much of a chance against Princeton, who had only dropped one game all year up to that point (a 60-52 loss to a great North Carolina team), but the Spartans pulled it out. That win proved that MSU basketball was back, and I'll never forget being able to see those both of those games.

It's rather fortuitous that I'm home today, because the MSU/Valpo game tips off at 12:15, the first game of the afternoon. I'd completely miss it if I was at work, and would proably not get much work done anyway because I'd be constantly checking the score.

It's less than hour from game time, so I'm out of here. I'll check back in after the game.

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