Forward to the Final Four

When last your confused hoops correspondent waxed prophetic in It’s All About Sports! after the first weekend of American collegiate March Madness, when his bracket was significantly hobbled, he predicted an NCAA Elite 8 as follows.

Some of them really are students, I swear. But this image is disgracefully disingenuous, not that this post really wades into that swamp of “Student Athlete” dismay.

Louisville was to play Duke. Bingo! (Okay, a number one seed against a 2; it hardly ranked with Nostradamus, but I’ll take my successes where I find them.) I picked Duke to win through to tomorrow’s Final Four, because I always do, because: A) they often do, and B) I’m a Blue Devils loyalist. Coach K is great, even if he does do too much commercial shilling, and I always argue that there is a large percentage of available high school recruits that Duke can’t even consider because they genuinely need to be students in Durham. (I hope this is still true.) Louisville was just too relentless, and too quick in the backcourt, for Duke.

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Madness, Seen and Read

I didn’t watch a single regular-season NCAA basketball game this year. Some college hoops purists would snort that this puts me in the same category as (Sir) Charles Barkley, the NBA opinionator who parachutes down to see what higher (basketball) education has to offer to the pros, when national tournament frenzy grips the upper Americas. It puts me in the same boat as lots of people, actually, who join me in filling out a bracket — after ignoring the game all year — for all the unpredictable agony and ecstasy that reduce 64 hopeful squads to four, in two four-day weekends.

Sometimes, I can get some good video from here in Dalian. Often, though, madness takes its toll…

Unlike most late-March bandwagon-jumpers, though, I care about the college game, though I can’t watch any of it here in China. (I suppose I could try to stream games on my computer, but that’s not a hassle I volunteer for easily. It reminds me of my youth, when college games were hard to find on Canadian TVs, when even The Tournament was only partly available in the early rounds. That was before March Madness became a Brand.) I did see the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels live, minus their likely one-and-done Canadian star, Anthony Bennett, when they edged the Carleton Ravens in Ottawa last summer on a northern exhibition tour.

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