5 Things I Love/Hate About March Madness

March Madness lifts off in earnest this week, so here’s a tip of the cap to things we all love- and hate- about this time of year.  Of course, you may love what I hate and vice versa, but here’s food for thought as you’re filling out your brackets-



1) Conference tournaments.  For years, it was nice to say that the Big Ten wasn’t involved in what is nothing more than a money grab.  But of course, the league caved and took some of the luster off the regular season title.  Illinois making the NCAA this year would have been a joke, although the Big Ten would’ve loved to rake in more cash with a fifth team.  ESPN hired Bob Knight to do analysis over the postseason, and it’s been great to hear him use their airwaves to trash these tourneys.  Ask anyone who’s ever served on the committee to pick the NCAA field if they’ve truly enjoyed coming up with multiple scenarios under the gun depending on how these stupid conference tournaments play out.  Then ask the teams who’ve played through to Sunday in their league title games how they’ve liked flying across the country to tip off on Thursday afternoon.

2) Stocking up on No-Doz to make it to the end of the Thursday and Friday night slates the first two weeks.  It’s one thing if Ohio State or whomever your favorite team might be is involved, but doesn’t it always seem that in those 10PM games that a dozen guys foul out, both teams exhaust all their timeouts and you finally can fill in a final score on your sheet just as the paperboy shows up?

3) The Long John Silvers syndrome.  This is in homage to the two dorks in the LJS commercial a couple of years back whose rehash of the “Gilligan’s Island” theme song played during every freaking timeout.  Personally, I’ll never dine at Sonic after being bombarded by their asinine ads.  I always make a note of the commercials during the first game on Thursday and mentally brace myself to see them 10,000 times over the next three weeks.  And yes, I know the folks at Long John’s are glad that I remembered whom the commercials were for.

4) Jim Nantz and Billy Packer.  Sure, Nantz is a pro, but he’s a Ken doll.  Packer will wave the ACC flag again.  (It was nice to hear Seth Davis legitimately ask why Duke got a #2 seed over Wisconsin).  Championship night, at the end of the game, they’ll roll out some quip that they stayed up all night dreaming of, like Nantz’s “Leave it to Cleaves” when Mateen led the Spartans to the title.  Or Packer’s “Simon says…championship” when Arizona cut down the nets.  As I’ve always said, Packer’s call of “They won it…on the dunk” when Lorenzo Charles and NC State slammed Houston in ’83 looks ridiculously obvious on paper.  But it was in a moment of genuine emotion and drama; in stark contrast to the cutesy stuff he and Nantz are prone to trot out.

5) Even though I honestly didn’t think they deserved a bid, it still sucks to not have Thad and the boys in the Big Dance.



1) The roundballers settle things on the court, unlike their football brethren who are saddled with the idiotic BCS.  Sure, there are RPI’s and the aforementioned worthless conference tournaments to put up with, but for the most part there are not too many undeserving teams in the field of 65.

2) The little guys get their time to shine.  I’ll somewhat amend my conference tournament venom to salute the non-power leagues.  They know they’re probably going to get rolled in the first round, and I’m sure ESPN needs a GPS tracker to find their way to some of these campuses to cover the MEAC’s of the world.  But most of these teams know that their conference tourney is their only shot at glory, and it’s some of the best basketball you may watch all year.

3) Clark Kellogg.  Unlike a lot of the clowns on ESPN, Clark doesn’t have to resort to shtick, and he can intelligently state his opinions without coming off like a smug Mark May-type know-it-all. He does his homework, and he can be critical without piling on.  All in all, I enjoy listening and learning from him.

4) Filling out the brackets.  I don’t put as much research into it as I used to.  Last year, I literally pulled the majority of my picks out of a hat.  But it’s a time-honored tradition, and having a chance to win a few bucks is always enticing.

5) OK, it’s the NIT.  But the Buckeyes will get to play at least one more home game, and just like football bowl practices, next year’s returnees will get some valuable competition.  A nice NIT run would also help us at Buckeye 50 keep things fresh until spring football!

What about March Madness pumps you up or gets your goat?  I’d love to hear from you.

Send your love or hate to Joe-S-U@Buckeye50.com.

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