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March Madness Begins

March 17, 2011 - Al Stephenson
The First Four games are in the books. The NCAA expanded to 68 teams this year and instead of having a single play in game, we were treated (I guess that's what you would call it) to four of them. Exactly how the 8 teams were selected to be involved in this craziness is beyond my comprehension. Why these games did not include all potential 16 seeds is a mystery to me. I suppose there was logic to having two teams play for an 11 seed and two more going for a 12 seed, but if it was explained by the tournament selection committee, I missed the briefing.

I did manage to watch three of the four games and I have some observations to share.

First of all let me suggest that UAB seemed to be a bad choice. VCU, on the other hand, proved to be worthy of their selection. The end of the game between VCU and USC left me speechless. I can only imagine what USC fans were thinking. Sometimes I wonder why coaches call time outs late (you know like with 6 seconds left and you are down by 18 points) and players foul with so little time left and even less hope of coming out on top. Watching USC dribble out the clock for the last 25 seconds to preserve a 13 point LOSS was incredible. More significantly, USC trailed by 11 with some two minutes remaining and chose to allow VCU to run the shot clock down instead of fouling and hoping for a minor miracle.

To be a USC fan would not have been fun. One almost had to wonder if their was a wager on the point spread. I'm certainly not suggesting that, but what a weird way to end the game.

At any rate those games are over and the real upsets will likely begin today. For the next three weeks we will have a temporary respite from dealing with the troubles across the globe. The devestation in Japan, the rebellion in Libya and Senate Bill 5 will be put to the back of our minds as we watch college hoops.

The view from my seat suggests that we enjoy the madness of college basketball. Rooting for your favorite team will be welcome relief from the real madness in the world.


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