Returning the Favor and other Slices of Life

Returning the Favor
Returning the Favor
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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Emotional Brackets and non-upsets

So I admit it, having Winthrop getting to the Sweet 16 was a little enthusiastic, but the image of my alma mater scoring another upset in the first round and then taking out Notre Dame in round 2 for two years running was just too sweet to pass up. I ignored the fact that this year's Winthrop Eagles were nothing close to last year's Winthrop Eagles, and needed every bit of help they could grab in the Big South tournament to make the Dance, much less pull off a win. So that piece of bracket is shot to shit.

Not NEARLY as blown up as the piece that had Clemson playing Duke for the National Championship, however. I wasn't counting on two teams falling to the #5 curse, wherein every year at least one #5 seed loses to a #12 seed. I picked Drake correctly to fall victim to Western Kentucky, and figured I was safe, especially with the run the Tigers put on in the ACC tournament, falling just a Hansbrough-hair shy of knocking UNC off for the ACC title. But no, the #5 curse claimed the Tigers, and I'm pretty close to toast in the NCAA bracket pool. Oh well, I was playing with NFL pool money, anyway.

But the semi-emotional, semi-logical pick that I made that stood well for me was Davidson beating Gonzaga in the RBC center in Raleigh in the first round. Let me clarify - if your entire student body can drive to the game, fit comfortably in the arena without filling the lower level, and make it home after the game before curfew, you have a slight home court advantage. There was no way that Davidson lost this game at home. Because it was a home game, even 3 hours away from campus. With the love the NCAA tourney fans have for an underdog (a role Gonzaga has to appreciate, since they were wearing the glass slipper not too many years ago) and the fact that it's a home game, there was no freakin' way that Davidson, behind their lights-out homegrown superstar Stephen Curry (for NBA fans, his dad's Dell Curry, who was one of the early stars for the Charlotte Hornets and never left town when he left the game) was not going to claim their first NCAA win in my lifetime.

And they did. And that, children, is why we love this ridiculous game and this ridiculous, overpriced, overhyped tournament where the coaches make millions while the players play for free. Because a couple times a year, concentrated into a couple weeks in March, Cinderella gets to go to the dance and stick a big spike heel in Prince Charming's nutsack.

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