I love Princeton 6, Kentucky 2.
I love Bucknell 10, UConn 3.
I love the first few minutes of the opening round of the NCAA Tournament, when teams with seemingly no chance believe they have a chance. It’s the most magical part of the magic. That singular moment, when you slip a backdoor layup past a guy you’ve seen 100 times on TV; past a guy who’ll be collecting enormous NBA checks next year as you intern at an accounting firm.
To me, March Madness gets increasingly boring as it continues. To me, Ohio State-Pitt or Georgetown-UCLA is useless. I love the Davids. I mean, I looooove them. I want them to win so badly, I don’t care if it kills my pool.
Back in 1998, SI sent me out to Sacramento to cover a first round. I found myself embedded with Nicholls State, the No. 16 seed. The team was about to face No. 1 Arizona, a squad loaded with Mike Bibby, Jason Terry, Michael Dickerson, Miles Simon. Factually, not one member of the Nicholls team could play for the Wildcats. Not one. Yet the Rebels were convinced they were gonna pull the great upset of all time. They promised me the exclusive afterward; the big story; the insights. For a moment, I actually believed them. I thought, “Man, this will be amazing!”
They lost by, I believe, 39.
Doesn’t matter. There was that moment when they walked on the court as equals; when the score was 0-0 and anything could happen.
To me, that’s joy.
That’s the Tournament at its best.