Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Let the Madness Begin

by Ben

Let me paint you a picture: Brown recliner, ice cold Natty, big ol’ bag of Funyuns, sweat pants, and a right hand submerged underneath said sweat pants.  What am I? If you guessed the Andray Blatche training regiment then shame on you.   The correct answer is yours truly on the first two days of the NCAA Tournament.  March Madness is here and I could not be more excited!  The NCAA did try to piss in my punch bowl by doing this whole field of 68 garbage and their subsequent multiple play-in games.  My first response to this was how this would kill the brackets by forcing everyone to turn them in on Tuesday before the first round of play-in games (or as I like to call them “The Tallest Midget Contests”).  Quick side bar, I just watched D-Wade absolutely posterize Kendrick Perkins and proceed to break it down with a swag-filled rendition of the cabbage patchSorry about that ladies and gents, now back to the Madness.  Like I was saying, I thought the field of 68 was going to shoot a Zulu dart in the neck of bracketologists all over the country.  But much like post 9/11, Americans would not be defeated and we bounced back in a way our enemies were not prepared for.  As a collective effort, Americans decided to forgo these play-in games and set the bracket-turn-in deadline to Thursday at noon, the way Uncle Sam intended. THESE COLORS DON’T RUN! 

March Madness is great because everyone gets into it.  Your buddies, your girlfriend, your mom, your dad, your brother, your sister, your boss, the fat smelly guy at work, the lonely girl at work, the 7-11 attendant who creepily stares you down as he prepares your taquitos, and that guy who keeps driving that white van around your neighborhood.  He keeps offering kids candy to join his pool, I think his name is Phil, helluva nice guy.  Everyone fills out a bracket and no one, I repeat NO ONE is an expert.  Not even you Dick.  Read why he was expelled from Notre Dame, and you’ll understand why he is such a colossal d-bag.  Not to mention this guy is about as smug as Donald Trump’s turds.  I’ve seen chicks win bracket pools, hell I watched a gay kid win our pool in high school.  That was more emasculating than when I was held down by my sister while she painted my toe nails and finger nails.  Hey now before you judge…I was six (+10) years old.  March Madness is great because we get to see the small mid major schools who qualified because their 6’3” center hit a turn-around hook shot at the buzzer to win their conference.  We get to see the best players in the country go toe-to-toe in seldom seen matchups of great teams.  Buzzer beaters, blowouts, highlight reel dunks, and of course Gus Johnson.  Without further ado I give you a few things to watch for in this year’s edition of March Madness.

Cinderella: The underdogs always come to the party.  Underdogs and the “Cinderella” teams are what make this tournament the best of all of the postseasons in all of major sports.  To this day one of the best, if not THE best sports momens in my life was George Mason’s improbable Final Four run.  George Mason is located in Fairfax, VA where I have lived since I was 3 years old.  The excitement in our town was palpable! I was a freshman in college and “703” pride was contagious! Raise your hand if you had ever heard of George Mason before the 2006 NCAA Tournament.  Yea, that’s what I thought…none of yas!  But that is what is so great about this tournament, the Patriots of Mason Nation are now household names and everyone is asking themselves who is this year’s George Mason???  We will soon find out.

The Opening Weekend: Games start on Thursday at noon and go on all the way up until Sunday night.  My roommate GBG has planned his weekend perfectly.  He is teleworking tomorrow, and then has the day off Friday.  If he misses a minute of game action it will only be because I have placed laxatives in his Natty out of sheer jealousy.  But what kind of bro would I be if I sabotaged his epic man-caving experience? I’m willing to bet that the first two days of the NCAA tournament set the record for most sick days in the work force.  I truly love these first few days even though my brackets are generally dead in the water by Friday at 4 P.M.

Gus Johnson: This guy is the best in the business.  His manly baritone and silky smooth delivery is uncanny.  He brings so much fire and passion to his job.  This man’s enthusiasm for March Madness is comparable to Charlie Sheen’s love of coke and porn stars.  I really think God is a basketball fan and Gus is his favorite broadcaster, need any proof? How bout this doozy! I mean this guy was built for this month, and he truly deserves better than the way CBS treats him.  He generally gets the 3rd or 4th best game of the day, but it’s not because he is not worthy of the top game.  It is because he is so transcendent, that he can make a game between two lesser teams seem like the National Championship.  Every year it seems like the big guy upstairs gives Gus the game of the tournament, and Gus never disappoints.  A few years ago it was Gonzaga and UCLA, then it was Ohio State Xavier and last year Gus earned every penny of his paycheck on this masterpiece.  In the event you still don’t comprehend this man’s greatness just view this and enjoy…
The Final Four: This may be America’s greatest sporting event.  The Super Bowl is a close second, but sometimes it feels more about commercializing the game, and eating a ton of food.  The Final Four is and always will be about the collegiate athletes who have grinded it out all season long in order to be recognized in one of the most polarizing sports events of the year.  These young men will be immortalized by their successes*(Sorry Beastmaster.), and unfortunately chastised by their failures.  (REDSKINS FANS: do not, I repeat, DO NOT read the bottom line at the start of the video).  The Final Four is filled with great coaches, great players, great games, and great stories.  In fact that is really the whole tournament in a nutshell.
*Laettner’s shot sent Duke to the Final Four, it did not take place in the Final Four.

There is a lot to look forward to this year.  Will Duke repeat?  Who is this year’s George Mason? Can Kemba keep it up? Is this the last we will see of Bruce Pearl’s bright orange sport coat? And can Louisville last longer than their Coach in a Porcini’s bathroom stall?  All these questions will be answered over the next couple of weeks and I will be in my recliner with a handful of Kaplan enjoying every minute.

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