On The Bench: March Madness

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By: Trent Strafaci

I’m so happy – the three most exciting weeks of basketball have finally arrived: March Madness. Over this span, 68 teams from Division I basketball are vying for the opportunity to cut down the nets, an honor reserved for the winner. In fact, it is almost as important as the trophy. I am a sports nut, and I watch almost every game with religious devotion, but March Madness is three weeks of pure excitement. Because it is a single elimination tournament, every game is “do or die.” One missed opportunity can send a powerhouse team packing.

I doubt that Kansas, Villanova, North Carolina or Duke will all end up in Final Four, but that is the exciting part. Some good team will get lucky and knock off one or more of these powerhouses. I remember when the 2014 undersized Connecticut team won the National Championship against a big Kentucky team, 60-54.  Two tough teams have to play their best defense, along with taking it to the basket. Winning the championship involves a whole range of strategies, fakes and a little luck. March Madness is three week s of heart break and triumph.

Only one of the 68 original teams invited to the tournament will take home the coveted trophy that proclaims they are the best of the best and that they have secured a place in sport’s history. Teams and maybe entire schools will live on this glory for years to come. The victors become the stuff of legends. I understand this because I listened to the old glory tales of University of Florida for years – some fact, a lot of legend.

The NCAA tournament is the most entertaining  form of competition. It gives the little guys the chance to compete with the big boys. Every year the NCAA tournament has had some historic upsets. I can’t figure out who’s going to be the “dragon slayer” this year. For a while, I thought it might be Florida Gulf Coast, and they did give Florida State a run for their money, falling short 86-80. Upsets are just another reason these three weeks are magical.

I know from past experiences that I will be dragging around every morning Friday through Monday after watching the last game of the night at 12:30 a.m. Then I will rejuvenate and start the process all over again. It is the most exciting three weeks of my life. Bring it on!

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