College basketball is just a cycle for me. Ever since the age of 9 when my Mom brought home an NCAA tourney bracket, because she thought I might be interesting in trying it out, I have repeated the same cycle every March.
This time of year I say the exact same thing: I wish I watched more college basketball this year so that I could know what was REALLY going to happen in the tourney. I watch college hoops from about March 1st on religiously, but that is really a small sample size considering the length of the college basketball season, I get to see what teams are made of from that point on, but I have no clue how teams got to that point, the trials and tribulations, I just know what I read in old articles and box sheets. I spend hours reading and thinking about all the different tournament screnarios, and then stressfully I make my picks. I end up thinking every year that I did the best I possibly could at making my selections, considering that I played catchup.
That first year when I was 9 I had one of my best seasons making picks. I won second place in a pool with a couple hundred people. I won 250 bucks which was a ton of money for a kid, but of course I was made to open a bank account instead of spending it carelessly like I would've today. Since 1993 I have had a couple of good runs, but in the end the NCAA tourney has been a combination of elation and frustration. Sometimes I feel like a genius when I analyze and come up predicting an upset, or get the entire Final Four in my bracket, yet just as often (if not more), I think the same thing:
"I should have known."
Yet this season, I am watching the games, and not really thinking that. They are just amazing. This may be the best March Madness Thursday in tourney history. So many close games, a satisfying amount of upsets, close escapes, & buzzer beaters. Virtually every game has been a nail biter:
!) BYU goes on a major run in 2OT to edge Florida
2) Robert Morris takes Villanova to OT
3) Old Dominion upsets Notre Dame
4) Murray State shocks Vandy
5) St. Mary's goes cross-country from Washington to Providence to beat Richmond
6) Sam Houston State (where?) brings Baylor to the limit until the final 3 minutes
7) Northern Iowa hits a game winning 3 against UNLV
8) Washington hits the game winning shot with 1.7 seconds left to upset a #6
9) Ohio WHOOPS #3 Georgetown
What a day. Oh yea and as I am writing it Lehigh is up 12-4 on Kansas and Wake Forest is crushing Texas. This all brings me to this conclusion: picking the NCAA tourney is more luck than skill.
If you watched EVERY single Ohio game this season and EVERY Georgetown game this season and then wrote a 500 page thesis about the grocery list of reasons Georgetown is destined to win this game; you would've never guessed in your wildest dreams that Ohio would demolish, embarrass, and flat out act like they knew all along they would walk out winning by double digits. I dare you to deny it.
No matter how much you watch college basketball during the year, you are at even odds of winning your college basketball bracket pool as the lady in accounting. You may know it all, have studied college basketball all year long, & listen to every experts picks from the President to the fan sitting in a dark room watching basketball 24-7, and you won't ever really know what is going to happen.
Even if I would've told you a week ago that in the first round this year: a #16 is neck and neck with a #1, a #15 took a #2 to OT, a #14 killed a #3, a #13 would hit a buzzer beater over a #4, two #11s would best #6s, & a bunch of #10s and 9s will hang tough, I bet you still wouldn't have made a perfect bracket. And who knows what's going to happen tomorrow. So I'm gonna try and just enjoy it this year knowing I couldn't have done much better. Hell I picked Washington, at least.
That is until March comes around again and I forget all the lessons that I learn on the first Thursday of the tourney, and the cycle continues.