Wed. Nov 30th, 2022

For a group of college kids, is there anything better then pizza boxes piled five high, mozzarella sticks lined up as far as the eye can see, and of course brackets scattered across the floor?
These are some of the many spoils the first two days of the NCAA tournament has to offer to sports fans and otherwise everywhere. Very few days on the calendar offer wall to wall sports coverage in an atmosphere that feels altogether special and singular as well. While football Sundays are rituals unto themselves, there is nothing quite like the swell of patrons to restaurants and sports bars between the hours of 10:30 am and 12:30 am EST that comes just once a year near the Ides of March.
Few events capture the attention of a nation quite like the NCAA tournament. College students sneak peaks at their cell phones mid-lecture to find out if Niagra could pull off the unthinkable against Kansas. Businessmen are seen rushing in and out of sports bars on their lunch hour, hoping that Holy Cross could take down the mighty Salukies of Southern Illinois. And of course, there is the infamous disease, Bracketitis which keeps millions of workers out of the office with symptoms such as paper cuts, swelling of the eyes and highlighted fingers.
Of course there is the eventual letdown when you’re team is eliminated from contention, but unlike any other playoff system in America, you can cheer for the teams you picked in your bracket. Yet it is usually in vein as little Suzie in accounting finds a way to emerge victorious year in and year out. Damn.
In the end though it is about basketball, quality basketball at that. These are arguably the 65 best college basketball teams in America battling it out for bragging rights and dreams of cutting down the net at the final four. While this year’s tournament did not produce the ever popular Cinderella team, it has yielded some of the best basketball in recent memory.
So far in the first two weekends alone a record total of 14 games settled by three points or less. With all four number one seeds still alive, this has the makings of one of the greatest tournaments of all time.
Matt Lombardo hosts a weekly sports talk radio show on Saturday’s from noon-2p.m on 91.7 WCUR and is simulcast worldwide online at www.wcur.fm

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