AUBURN, Ala. – We’ve never more looked forward to it because this was the wildest college basketball season ever. Magic and miracles lasted well into March.
We adore it because it’s reason to dream for all our alma maters. Show me the last time the BCS was able to locate Belmont, Bucknell and Butler on a map.
We can’t wait for it because you can throw out the RPIs, the strength of schedule, even the home-court advantages. This tournament’s about matchups, hot streaks and a whole lot of who-wants-it-more.
We lose our minds and shake our heads watching it, when we see a massive underdog start going toe-to-toe down the stretch – not because Goliath is choking, but because David starts playing with the belief this can – and will – be done.
We agonize over it because we’re all a bunch of overcompetitive, overcaffeinated brutes who hate losing at anything. Even games of chance, like this one. Good luck in your office pool – you’ll need it when Janice from accounting picked Marquette to bow out early because her son’s name is David. (See what I did there?)
We hold out hope over it because there’s a one in 9.2 quintillion chance of nailing a perfect bracket. (That’s a 9.2 with 18 zeros after it.) Or, roughly your same hopes of getting Craig Sager to wear a black solid suit like a normal person.
We chuckle with it because of Chuck. Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Ernie Johnson are so ridiculously popular for their ‘Inside the NBA’ studio show on TNT, we just couldn’t keep them away from the madness. It ain’t turrrrrrrible.
We’re encompassed by it because ads hawking cars, beer, potato chips and other things guys (and many gals) want complete the weekend.
We relate to it because those Buffalo Wild Wings commercials really speak to what we’re all thinking. Don’t we all wish great theater could last five more minutes?
We respect it because this is reality TV, for real. Forget American Idol and Dancing With The Stars and – good heavens – Splash. Watching Ndamukong Suh and Kendra Wilkinson dive into a pool as a gimmick? How lame. Watching 18-year-old kids play their way into their own household name? I’m game.
We’re glued to it because we’re all about who’s NEXT. Kelly Olynyk could be the next Adam Morrison, because Victor Oladipo could be the next Dwyane Wade, because Nate Wolters could be the next Bryce Drew, because Trey Burke could be the next Kemba Walker, and because Marshall Henderson could be … well, there’s never been one quite like him.
We’re torn about it because anybody who hates that Henderson’s a face of the tournament – looking at you, fans of Vanderbilt, Auburn and Missouri – knows this just wouldn’t have been the same without Marsh Madness.
We laugh about it because it’s fun to guess what corny signature line Jim Nantz will use to christen the champion.
We live for it because the culmination is exceeded only by its journey.
We love it because we can’t wait for that One Shining Moment.
We’re a little mad at it because Gus Johnson’s no longer involved.
We’re a lot mad at it because Bill Raftery is.
We’ll forgive it because it’s impossible not to enjoy it.
As Gus once yelped: THIS … is March Madness.
Aaron Brenner, firstname.lastname@example.org