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Too Much Madness?

March 28, 2011

Big plaques and statues of stone dudes that look like you. Not such a bad way to go.

Long ago, in a land far away known as Scotland, a man picked a fight with some English soldiers and records show he later assassinated a local sheriff, possibly because the sheriff killed his wife… whom he married in secret because he wouldn’t share her with an English lord.

That man was William Wallace. Of course his story doesn’t have a happy ending – he was hanged, drawn and quartered and Scotland remained under English rule. However, when all was said and done, he had led the winning army in one of the biggest upset victories in the history of war, his story became a legend that has been shared for centuries, and, most notably, the movie about his life won several Oscars.

When he began, and I’m just spitballing here, he was probably just out looking for some trouble and respect, as young men often are. Instead, he ended up the subject of 1996’s Best Picture Oscar winner.

Sometimes you don’t get what you ask for, but instead you end up with something better.

With 11 seeded Virginia Commonwealth University on their way to their first ever Final Four, with a resume that is decidedly un-Final-Fourly, folks are starting to wonder whether this thing we call March Madness is doing what we wanted it to do. Didn’t we all want to see Ohio State and Kansas, pretty much everyone’s consensus 1-2, battle it out for 40 minutes for the national title? Instead of that dream match-up filled with future NBA stars, could we really be looking at a team that beat odds estimated at 1 in 203,187?

Admittedly, I was. Ohio State vs. Kansas would have been a battle. But then again, looking forward to that matchup was to forget what this thing is all about. Now that I think about it, I’m somewhat surprised that I heard Mike & Mike even suggesting this morning on their radio show that something might be a bit off with this Final Four. How can we possibly have second thoughts about a 68 team tournament, when seeing VCU and 8 seeded Butler in the Final Four is exactly what keeps us coming back for more every year?

Sure, if VCU, or when really any of these four teams wins the National Championship on Monday night, it will be difficult to argue that the team was really the best college basketball team this season. That’s just semantics.

To paraphrase Herm Edwards, one of the greatest things about March Madness is that no matter what seed the committee hands you, you go out there and you play to win the game, getting a 1 or a 2 seed doesn’t guarantee you a free pass to the Final Four, and sometimes, just sometimes, a little known team that did little to gain national respect during the regular season catches lightning in a bottle, proves everybody wrong, and punches a ticket to college basketball’s biggest stage. That’s what it is all about.

Hello! They call it madness for a reason, and there are few better feelings in sports than hearing your school’s name called on Selection Sunday and knowing that maybe, if the chips fall in just the right way, in a couple of weeks, you could be two wins away from a national title.

I realize that originally we meant to find the best team, but in the end we found the greatest, most unpredictable, most enjoyable (even with no horse in the race) sporting event ever made (speculation, but I’m sticking with it). It’s crazy that we even allowed ourselves to question whether it was achieving it’s purpose.

It isn’t what we asked for, but having seen the alternatives, we ended up with something much better.

Let’s not second guess it ever again.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Singenius permalink
    March 29, 2011 11:35 am

    Nice post Bro Namath. Well written. Too bad we have no horse this year…

  2. Maddie permalink
    March 29, 2011 3:52 pm

    I absolutely agree that just because you’re a 1 or 2 seed–that doesn’t mean you should be a lock for the final. Maybe this is a wake up call to certain teams to appreciate what is at stake and play like they want to win a national championship–or some little no name school (or Rudy) is going to swoop in and take it from them.

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