There are three sporting times of the year that keep me utterly fascinated: the Olympics, Stanley Cup playoffs, and March Madness. Right now it’s March Madness time! There’s something almost magical about March Madness, which impossibilities can happen and moments become a part of our collective memories. But this is strictly an American thing, whenever I lived abroad and tried to explain the concept of March Madness to non-Americans and it just fell flat.
Who out there who isn’t a basketball fan, doesn’t remember Laettner’s shot against Kentucky? Or Webber’s time-out against UNC? Or Drew’s last minute shot? Or the stories? Tubby Smith leading Adolf Rupp’s Kentucky to a national championship? Jayson Williams taking care of his younger brothers and sisters and excelling at basketball? The father and son duo of the Drews at Valpariso?
Duke, although looking at their season so far, they aren’t really that great, good, but not great, is always my sentimental favorite, who I always want to win the Dance. I think Mike Krzyzewski is one of the greatest coaches in basketball, pro or college, who graduates a high number of his players and to my knowledge, has only one season taken away by the NCAA.
Baylor’s a great story, some what like a phoenix rising from its ashes, I mean a player killed another player and the coach helped to cover it up and now they’re one of the long-shot favorites. I’m not too sure about the stories that hint the coach illegally recruited, because this is a situation that appeals to a player’s ego…they can help in rebuilding a troubled school.
It’s a bit sad that some people are trying to figure out if John Calipari can vacate three Final Four appearances with three different schools.
And in other news, the Secretary of Education, Duncun, wants to make college basketball schools have a 40% graduation rate over a six year period in order to be eligible to play in the Big Dance. I do agree that there should be equal push for the student part of the student-athlete. But how can you justifiably punish student-athletes who did have anything to do with the low graduation rate? How do you account for those who leave school, transfer, opt out for the pros, or even are on the ten-year plan?
Regardless, I’m just going to sit back and enjoy the games and listen to the stories that come with the Dance.