Congratulations Huskies fans! And congratulations Hank, for sticking with your team and being handsomely rewarded for it!
Believe it or not, when it comes to March Madness, I actually share a similar philosophy to that of my Old School counterpart. The NCAA Tournament is such a crapshoot (like how Robby won my high school’s pool as an 8-year- old), you might as well stick with your squad, and hope for the best. That way you get to experience double the satisfaction when your team wins…which I’m sure Hank is still enjoying a week later.
That’s why I picked my Villanova Wildcats to reach the Final Four this year! . . . Annnd that’s why my bracket was busted after the first round of the tournament! I know . . . you’re saying to yourself, “Geez, Brian, that was stupid! Nova lost their last 5 games before the tourney, including a total collapse against USF in the first round of the Big East. How could you possibly have picked them to go to the Final Four?”
I had too much blind faith in my alma mater to see that they were no longer the 7th-ranked team in the country, and to realize that they were actually unranked (for the first time since 2008) and limping into postseason play. I should have recognized that they weren’t playing well when March rolled around, and I shouldn’t have been surprised when they ended their season to George Mason in the first round.
And I wasn’t surprised . . . I was shocked! George Mason?? George Freaking Mason!? You’ve gotta be kidding me, Nova Nation! The combination of Nova losing, and my bracket being busted somehow made me less than interested in March Madness this year. Again . . . I know: “Brian how could you lose interest in a tournament with so many upsets, buzzer beaters, and improbable Cinderella stories when you’re such a hoopster?” Well, I was bitter. And although I was happy for my friends and family as they cheered on their Huskies throughout March . . . I didn’t really care.
During last week’s Final Four, I didn’t stay in CT with my parents and watch my dad’s Huskies battle Kentucky with him. I didn’t stay at home with my two roommates and watch their Huskies with them, either. I went out to a bar and casually watched the game with a few of my fellow non-Husky fan friends (although one of them is actually pretty husky). And during last Monday’s National Championship Game, instead of joining my roommates and three of our good friends for wings and UConn-Butler at my apartment, I decided that I’d rather play some pickup hoops at a nearby church than watch the first half of the game.
And with the lowest scoring half (22-19) since 1946, I apparently didn’t miss much. I still got to watch the 2nd half and celebrate with my friends on their victory. But after the nets were cut down and CBS was showing the tourney’s signature montage, “One Shining Moment,” I got the feeling that I missed out on a lot of madness this year. And I’m not making the same mistake again . . .
That’s why I, the same person whose last post vehemently argued not to give up on the new-look Knicks, am going to temper my expectations for the ‘Bockers when the playoffs start next week. Sorry STAT and Melo, you’re not fooling me with your rejuvenated swag, smiling buzzer-beaters, and 7-game winning streaks. (See Hank, I told you to give them some time.) The truth is they’re not there yet. Is it unfathomable that they end up upsetting the C’s (who are just 11-11 since the Perkins trade) in round one, and then sneak by Miami (who they split the season series with) in round two, and then beat the Bulls (who are 0-3 so far against the Knicks this season) in the Eastern Conference Finals??
YES! That is an impossible scenario! That is NOT happening! That’s the type of thinking I had when I thought, “Hmm, if Nova can just get by Ohio State…” So here’s my advice to all you Old Schoolers out there who may blindly follow their squad: Root for your team and hope for the best . . . but don’t be an idiot.