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Eleven days is the only thing standing between America and the official beginning of the greatest spectacle in sports: the aptly named March Madness.
When the brackets are officially finalized and announced on Selection Sunday, the talking heads will fill the next few days’ airwaves with the blithering over-analysis of how Arkansas was snubbed and North Carolina was seeded too high, how Virginia isn’t getting any respect and how Wichita State is getting too much.
But none of that will matter once the games start because March Madness is the one sporting event that gives every fan what they want: a postseason that’s just the right length, has major upsets and can still be interesting whether or not your team wins it all.
That last part is the most interesting thing about the whole tournament.
How many Utah Jazz fans do you think remember their team was in the final eight of the NBA playoffs in 2010?
But it’s a given that UK fans remember 2010’s run to the Elite Eight with John Wall at the helm.
There can only be one champion each year, no matter the sport, but during March Madness, the teams that don’t win can still be remembered in reverence.
I have never seen my team (Purdue) play in the Final Four, but I have several great tournament memories from my Boilermakers.
I have a well-worn DVD of Glenn Robinson and Cuonzo Martin knocking down 73 of Purdue’s 83 points in a win against Kansas in the ’94 Sweet 16.
I remember their magical run in 2000 behind the guts and grit of Brian “The Custodian” Cardinal.
And I often think about how Chris Kramer stepped up and helped lead Purdue to the Sweet 16 despite an ACL tear by Robbie Hummel.
But even with Purdue highly unlikely to even make the tournament this season, I’ll be glued to the TV, same as always.
I’ll be wondering how it was ever properly consumed when the games were constricted to one channel, with James Brown whisking us into the action every time something exciting was happening in another game.
And it will all start in 11 excruciatingly long days.