Apologies to the play-in games taking place the last two nights, those were entertaining, but now the real ball kicks.
This is the start of what many consider is the best four days of sports around. Happy St. Patrick’s Day to everyone! Set up the green beer and Irish Car Bombs and let the buzzer-beaters commence.
The games just keep coming and get better with each one until Monday brings a reprieve. No worries, the excitement starts again next Thursday.
This has been the year of parity, with a record number of combined losses set by teams ranked in the top five.
It’s a dual story being told, of blue blood teams stocked with McDonald’s All-Americans lacking experience, and mid-majors with rosters full of seniors sporting can-do attitudes.
Can experience beat talent? Not for long. There are the occasional teams like George Mason that get an extended ride, but generally Cinderella gets to the Sweet 16, then the guys that will be playing in NBA next year win out.
My home is Kentucky, where Big Blue Nation resides and everything UK Wildcats. Go 78 miles west from Lexington and the colors turn Louisville Cardinal red. There’s also pockets of faithful for Western Kentucky, Eastern, Morehead State and Murray State – all earning NCAA appearances in recent memory.
Folks around these parts take their college basketball seriously. That’s because they win a lot, especially at Kentucky.
Sadly, Louisville will not be participating in the madness this year. They were ranked 11th in the country, but due to the program’s escalating prostitution scandal, the school self-imposed a post-season ban to mitigate whatever penalty the NCAA likely will levy. Meanwhile, the Kentucky Wildcats are the No. 4 seed in the East Region, playing in Des Moines, Iowa, tonight at 9:40 p.m.
The selection committee always seems to enjoy giving Kentucky a challenging ride, but hey to hang a banner some dragons must get slain.
Since UK stopped playing Indiana a few years back, the selection committee thought it would be humorous to put these two blue bloods on a collision course in the second round.
Fair enough. I like UK’s chances there. After that the winner gets another of college basketball’s royalty, the number one seed North Carolina Tar Heels – and that only gets us halfway through the tournament!
Big shout out to the Iowa Hawkeyes, my alma mater, in their game against the Temple Owls Friday. Iowa has been ranked most of the season, but suffered a late season swoon. Hopefully the Hawks can get right quick and make a little run.
Get your dancing shoes on, the 2016 Big Dance is off and running.