Next to NFL Football, there’s nothing I love more than College Basketball, especially this time of year. It’s March Madness! 64 (okay, actually 68) teams take part in a win-or-go-home six (okay, actually seven)-round tournament to crown the nation’s best. And it never fails to impress with unbelievable upsets, fantastic finishes, and the occasional Cinderella confounding the experts. How much do I love college ball? About as much as I hate the NBA. And how much do I hate the NBA? Well, given the choice, I’d rather watch baseball. In other words, A LOT!
Anyway, our good buddy Ivon forwarded me this year’s bracket and reminded me to fill them out before Wednesday night. Wednesday night? I’m already done!
So, what do you think? Crazy? A little? The Billikens upending the fashionable-favorite Cardinals? The Aztecs taking down the mighty Hoyas? And the New Mexico Lobos knocking out the Buckeyes, the Gonzaga Bulldogs, AND the JAYHAWKS to win it all?!
Yep. Maybe. But I’m expecting big surprises in this year’s tourney. Hell, it hasn’t even started and, already, surprises abound with the Kentucky Wildcats on the outside looking in – along with the state of Texas.
For what it’s worth, picks aside, I’ll be rooting for: Missouri, Memphis, Gonzaga, Mississippi, New Mexico, Iowa State, VCU, San Diego State, UNLV, Butler, and Marquette.
And rooting against: Louisville, Duke, Ohio State, Kansas, North Carolina, Georgetown, Indiana.
Go fill out your own bracket: bracketchallenge.ncaa.com
Meanwhile, NFL.com is doing its own bracket challenge (Here’s our bracket), pitting 64 of the greatest plays in NFL history against each other. Well, THEIR picks for the greatest plays in NFL history. Given the ones that did make the least, a few memorable plays are conspicuously absent. Like this one –
Ray Rice catches the ball and runs for the first down – on a 4th and 29! This play is all the more memorable when one considers it helped them win a game that ultimately allowed them to tie the Bengals for the division lead, and take it on the tie-breaker. If not for that run, the Ravens would have had to go through Houston and then New England before traveling to Denver for the conference championship where they would have faced a decidedly different Broncos team.
And, speaking of the Broncos, here is one of my favorite plays of all time because it demonstrates how quickly fortunes can change. With the game tied at 24-24, the San Diego Chargers line up for a 40 yard field goal to win the game in overtime. Denver’s Dennis Smith’s leaps up and blocks the kick – BUT his amazing defensive play is nullified because the Broncos called a timeout prior to the snap. So San Diego lines up to kick it again – and again Dennis Smith blocks the kick – BUT this time, it is scooped up by a fellow Bronco and run back for the game-winning touchdown.