As we get into it...

The internets and ESPN are abuzz with the talk of college basketball as they are at this time literally every year of our lives. The only redeeming things about it to me, though are that it stretches the time I can ignore baseball for a few more weeks in wait for the NBA playoffs.

[Phlip note - c'mon, baseball... Take on my suggestions and your game won't fucking suck!]


Anyway...
This is the time that, as described once before recently, coincides with that lull in the NBA (and Hockey, if you care) season where teams are gearing up to take it home. It also represents a time where the everyman (or what USED to be 'everyman') student-athlete from a small-to-midsize school can prevail in the land of giants. The word "parity" applies here.
One problem...
Players who once were able to just g'head and skip college and not even PRETEND to be taking classes now HAVE to go to school for one year and do just that. With that, you have what is now known as the one-and-done player. It creates a vicious cycle, really. See, the coach that can RECRUIT this player can usually get some next-tier-down support players who might not be breakout stars, but can surely sustain a hefty run and maintaining a high level of competition, thus attracting MORE of those one-and-dones.
[Phlip note - watch BOTH of those boys from Kentucky skate to the league and get drafted in the top 5]
A self-perpetuating situation, that...

On the other side of that are teams with the history and profile where they don't even need to PURSUE those type players, what with the knowledge that their team will spend a lot of time on television win or lose... Living in NC, I see this first hand as recruiting classes to teams down here in the ACC are almost always top notch, what with a very strong crop of kids coming from right down here already.
Common sense tells me that other regions have the same thing, which is what we see on ESPN from November through April every year.
While one MIGHT think this to be a sign of all-around parity, but one must understand that there are like 342 member schools of the NCAA Division 1, vying for one of 65 spots in a single-elimination tournament in March every year.
31 schools are automatically in by virtue of being champions of their member leagues, and 34 will be lucky enough to be picked to invited by the virtue of their accomplishments at the subjective opinion of a selection committee. That being said, some schools who are in automatically will be brutally killed in the face by a team who was simply invited, that is the nature of the beast, unfortunately.

Now is that time of year... Reams upon reams of paper and drums of ink will be wasted on the printing and filling of "brackets" by people who claim to -- but know dick -- about basketball or even sports in general, but hey.
Lives ruined when some fat man's mid-major school loses to a powerhouse as expected because he KNEW he was cheering for that sexy upset pick. Fans of rival schools will CONTINUE to fling shit at one another long after conclusions are foregone (*cough*DukeCarolina*cough*) much to the chagrin and captive audience status of anyone in the crossfire.

Look, when faced with the specter of having to watch continued coverage of the NFL draft, pre-season -- or any, for that matter -- baseball or God forbid any of 90% of the shit on television, in wait for more consistent NBA coverage to close out the season and head into THEIR playoffs, then I am more than fine with college basketball. In fact, I happen to be a fan of the Syracuse Orange...
Don't ask why, Syracuse just happened to be the college basketball team that I took a liking to when I got into sports back in elementary school. Same as the LA Lakers, San Francisco 49ers and Notre Dame Fighting Irish football.

[Phlip note - we had no professional sporting teams in my state until 1989 and 1995, I was 10 and 16, respectively]


Back to the task at hand, though... College basketball tournaments.
The standard answer for some might be "I ain't into sports," but anyone who has bothered attempting or pretending to read me might know better. They should, at least. Some might even say that "well, I ain't into basketball like that," to which I might rebut "to each their own... baseball makes me want to push an old lady down a flight of stairs," but I don't (until just then). Fact here is that I am just not willing to give it the fervor that EVERYONE around seems to be willing to provide. I don't even mean that to try and paint myself to be such a non-conformist that I will go out of my way to NOT like something just because everyone else does.
Those types are so cliche in their self-righteous approach to being "different" that they're usually all the same, but that is another blog for another time...
Trust, if Syracuse pulls this shit out, I will be there cheering like the proper fan that I am. Not as hard as I might if the Lakers turn the ship around and get their shit together for the playoffs and a repeat, but that is a difference in where my preferences lie more than anything.

That being said, there are no brackets to be filled out on my desk here at work or at home, nor is or will there be on either computer.
Yes, I will watch a couple of games, probably starting with the Sweet 16 because I prefer to watch actually competitive basketball games in college -- compared to my preference to see my favorite teams absolutely pants (no homeaux) a competitor in a professional game.
I guess when faced with the specter of less available televised professional basketball to be watched starting this past Tuesday and ratcheting WAAAAAY the fuck up this coming Thursday and throughout the rest of the month here, I should thank my lucky stars that it is at least a sport I can stomach.
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