So, the NCAA Tournmanent kicks back into gear tonight. I feel like I should be more excited about it than I actually am. As we get deeper into tournaments, the excitement is supposed to build. Now we're getting down to the nitty-gritty, with only the best teams vying for the top spots. The wheat has been separated from the chaff. That's good, right?
And for me, personally, this should be more exciting. For the first time ever, my bracket is actually in contention. (This is in no way due to any act of prognostication genius on my part. I picked only one team seeded lower than 4th for my Sweet 16, and that was #5 Purdue. Whoopee. My success is due entirely to cowardice. But hey, it worked.) So what's the issue?
I'll tell you. The tournament gets less interesting as it goes along because it gets less crazy. There's a reason they call it March Madness. It isn't because we all can't wait to see two big-conference teams squaring off in the championship game on a Monday night in early April when we'd rather be watching the newly-minted baseball season. It's because we love those first four days in which 48 of the 64 teams get knocked out in an orgy of hoops hysteria. It's a feast, particularly the first round, with 16 games on each day. 16!
The possibilities of those first two days are fantastic. Everybody's bracket is a potential winner. And is this the year that a 16-seed finally beats a 1-seed? And the fact that there are usually four games going at once means that if you're watching a dog from Boise, odds are CBS has something good ready to roll over in Dayton. And hey, you dopes! Why are we watching this game when the other game is so much closer and only has 1:27 left in it? Come on!
Then it's over. The George Masons and the Davidsons of the world eventually turn back into pumpkins and the North Carolinas and the UConns take their rightful place at the top of the heap. The level of play may be higher but it's just not as much fun. Oddly enough, focusing on only one game at a time seems like a letdown, even if it's a better game.
So go, all of the other teams in my bracket. At this point in the tournament you'll need to be twice as good to be half as interesting.