My bracket is awful. And when I say awful, I mean last place AWFUL. I’m not that surprised though. As soon as I filled out my bracket, I looked at it and I hated it. The selection committee’s seeding and pairings didn’t work for me, clearly. I could have made of new bracket or made a “safe” bracket but that feels like cheating. I’m a believer in owning one bracket and once you select a team you stand by your picks and then quickly move to the next round.
The one consistency during all this Madness has been having Spirit. The spirit was in me during the brackatology, while I watched Michigan State upset UVA and again while I witnessed one the sloppiest basketball games between Wichita State and Kansas. Watching Greg Marshall’s success makes me want to give him a single spirit finger. At this point in the tournament, anybody but Wichita State!
When was the last time not a single 12 seed beat a 5 seed? Or when was the last time every 8 seed beat the 9th seed??? (Still waiting on my favorite ESPN stat nerd to actually tell me. Tick-tock, Mr. Fisher!) Guess who went 1-8 on those matchups… yep, point your spirit fingers and me and laugh. To me, those games were not even considered “taking risks”. They say it’s always big in Texas. I now understand that phrase as it relates to big disappointments. Thank you SMU and Stephen F. Austin; the first round is my favorite and you both sucked all the spirit right out of me.
There was only one upset that I cheered about (and of course I didn’t pick it correctly). Georgia State (14 seed) upsetting Baylor (3 seed). Days before the madness started, Georgia State head Coach, Ron Hunter tore his Achilles while celebrating a team win (a game he managed to win by only scoring 38 points). Forget Cinderella’s glass slipper and give coach Hunter the glass cast/boot. The best moments of the tournament have come from Coach Hunter. He has great spirit.
The first moment happened when his son, R.J. , hit the game-winning 3-pointer to upset Baylor at the buzzer. The second was when Coach Hunter (coaching from a rolling stool) celebrated the victory and fell from his stool. A smile never his face as he met the hardwood. (He wasn’t hurt during the fall so it’s okay to laugh.) https://youtu.be/tmiK3gn12XU
The third moment was his press conference after the game. https://youtu.be/W8OC_9MOhl8
The final moment happened when Georgia State’s Cinderella story ended. During the post game press conference Coach Hunter showed his emotions about the greatest week of his life after losing to Xavier. https://youtu.be/r-6tjLT-fAg
Another good one. https://youtu.be/KqWRwM1eeB
Even with my terrible, last place bracket I’m still proud of my alma mater, Coastal Carolina University. Coastal put 72 points up against Wisconsin. The Badger’s left their starters in the game until the last minute! Yea, the Big Ten was scared of the Big South! Vegas had the spread at19 points and the Chanticleers kept it within 14. Those Coastal green (teal) uniforms were the best-looking uniforms in the tournament. Of course I wanted to see my alumni set March Madness history and be the first 16th seed to upset a #1 seed, but that madness will have to wait until next year.
Until then, I’ll embrace my bracket- with a Spirit.