March Madness is as good as it gets

Published 12:21 am Sunday, March 21, 2010

I don’t know about you, but I’ve spent the last three days glued to either the television or my computer screen.

I’m afraid that if I turn away for even just a second, I might miss a buzzer beating shot, or a huge upset.

More so this year than any other year in recent memory, the NCAA tournament is living up to its March Madness nickname.

On just the opening day of the tournament, there were four last-second game-winning shots and five double-digit seeds to pull upsets.

And the tournament just got even crazier on Saturday, as No. 9 seed Northern Iowa stunned the No. 1 overall seed and most people’s national championship pick Kansas 69-67.

That came after No. 10 seed St. Mary’s defeated No. 2 seed Villanova and No. 11 seed Washington defeated No. 3 seed New Mexico to put four double-digit seeds in the Sweet 16 already.

And there are still eight more second-round games to be played today, with several more chances for double-digit seeds to advance to the second weekend of the tournament.

Weekends like this one are the reason that the NCAA tournament is the greatest event in sports.

It’s really the only event in which the little guys have a chance to play on an even playing field with the big boys.

Unlike college football, the basketball teams get to settle matters where it really counts, on the court.

The wonderful thing about sports is you never know what is going to happen on any given day.

There’s an old cliché that says, you don’t play games on paper.

The NCAA tournament proves that saying true every year.

You might think that Georgetown is a better team than Ohio, and if the two teams played each other 100 times, Georgetown might win 99.

But Thursday, Ohio, which was the No. 14 seed, made its one shot count as they pounded the Hoyas 97-83.

Games like that, and the many other upsets that have taken place in the tournament so far, are what is wrong with college football.

People put teams in a poll based on where they think they should be.

That’s why Boise State and TCU were left out of the BCS championship game even though they had undefeated records.

The pollsters didn’t think Boise State or TCU could beat either Texas or Alabama, so therefore, they were left out of the title game.

But the NCAA tournament proves every year that predictions and prognostications are mostly bunk.

If Northern Iowa can beat Kansas, the No. 1 team in the country, who is to say that Boise State can’t beat Texas or Alabama?

Champions are meant to be determined on the field of play, not based on some computer program or the opinion of some coaches or sportswriters.

That’s why the NCAA tournament is looked at by many as the greatest few weeks of the year and the BCS is the center of controversy every season.

So enjoy the remainder of March Madness and the fact that a champion will be crowned on the court, not in a computer.

Jeff Edwards is the sports editor for The Democrat. He can be reached at sports@natchezdemocrat.com