Still waters run deep: Cut re-seeding, play-in game

Now that the frenzy of March Madness is officially behind us (and we can all now devote the proper attention to our fantasy baseball leagues), I'd like to do two things. First, congratulations to coach Gary Williams and the Maryland Terrapins on their first ever men's basketball national championship. It was truly the year of the turtle. Second, I'd like to share some things I did and did not like about the past three weeks of mind-altering basketball action.

Like: Dick Vitale. I know he is contractually obligated to ESPN and its parent network ABC, but come on, the man lives for college basketball. I mean, it's awesome, baby, with a capital A! The games just aren't the same without Dick getting red in the face yelling about dipsy-doos and dunkeroos, diaper dandies and prime time players. Please CBS, give Dick a break. He can flat out call a game, baby.

Don't Like: The play-in game. What a travesty. The fact that two conference champions have to play another game just to get into the actual tournament smacks of greed. I'd wager that Alcorn State probably doesn't even feel like they were even in the tournament. Part of the magic of the whole undertaking is that little schools can play a team like Duke or Kansas that they never would have played otherwise. Guys from those teams can sit down with their kids someday and say, "Look honey. Do you see the large man on television, the one with the diamond earrings as big as my fist? Daddy played basketball against him, once."

The rules of the tournament are clear. If you win your conference tournament, you go to the big dance. The selection committee needs to stop inventing exceptions to the rules to get more big conference (meaning big dollar) schools into the tournament.

Like: Upsets. I know these snakes-in-the-grass shoot brackets down in flames like a World War I fighting ace (mine included), but aren't they great? Wasn't it awesome when a kid named Brett Blizzard lead the North Carolina-Wilmington Seahawks past mighty USC? That's why games aren't played on paper.

Don't Like: All this talk of re-seeding the Final Four teams. By doing this, the powers-that-be would essentially tell a team like Indiana that what they did to get that far didn't really matter. If college basketball were about the four best teams meeting in the Final Four, there would be no need for a 65-team field in the first place. The beauty of the tournament is that it's all about who plays well when it matters most. Let's hope this re-seeding nonsense never happens.

And finally, the thing I like and dislike most about the tournament is filling out the brackets. I made my share of predictions this year but the fact is this: ESPN personality Tony Kornheiser had a monkey fill out a sheet, and the monkey did better than an assembled pool of basketball "experts." So relax, guys. Have fun with the tournament but keep in mind that no one has all the answers. And, that no one beats the chimp.

Write to Josh at jsaylor5@yahoo.com


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