One of the best experiences of my professional career came during March of 1998. I had left The Advocate to take a job at ESPN, which I hated and quit after six months. I did freelance writing for almost a year, until the person who replaced me at the paper left in May of 1998 and I returned.
But not before getting a job with a now-defunct company called Total Sports, which ran the NCAA’s website. I was hired for a month in 1998 to do all the commentary and analysis of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. The company was based in Raleigh, so I was in a college basketball hotbed — and I’m a North Carolina fan, and it made the Final Four that year — and I got every fan’s dream: to get paid for watching and writing about what I consider the closest thing there is to a perfect sporting event in this country.
I had previously worked for some college basketball publications and covered the Fairfield University team when it made a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances.
The combination of being a college basketball addict, along with some of you asking for a forum for discussing the sport, has led me to start a new feature for this blog. I am going to call it The Madness, and starting this week, going to the end of the NCAA Tournament, along with my usual commentary I am going to put up additional posts about college basketball. I’ll offer opinions and give you the chance to offer your own and ask questions.
One thing you should not ask me: My selections for the Final Four until the draw is announced in two weeks. It is a foolish attempt if you don’t know what teams are going to be placed in each region. It is almost like asking to name the four best teams in the country.
So look for The Madness starting this week, and feel free to make any suggestions.