I am mad about March Madness. . . . .For those of you are are not in the US, it is a tournament of college basketball teams, ranked by their wins and the difficulty of their season. Many have won their conference season or their tournament. Others like Duke who are always ranked nationally, are included. Duke was ranked #3 and Mercer #14 out of 16 in their bracket. Duke is one of the power schools who always have power players who come from all over the country to be a part of this program. They have 4 NCAA championships, have played in 10 championship games,15 final four games, and definitely is “king of the hill” of basketball in the history of this this tournament of 64 top teams. They are the Goliath with the record to prove it.
Yesterday, they were to play Mercer, a small liberal arts college in Georgia with the reputation of an excellent academic program. Their basketball program is a successful stage 2 program. But yesterday, this “David” came to play . . . all seniors , talented and whats more, ready to be the “Goliath” slayer. The video shows their joy at their unexpected ( to everyone but the team’s success!) Final score was 78-71 Mercer over Duke.
University of Virginia, #1 seed in the East regional having won the season and the tournament in the mighty ACC! Their opponent was Coastal Carolina, from Myrtle Beach and their name Chanticleers dates back to Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. They were bracketed at #16. Do you see the Goliath vs David metaphor in this game? Same scenario, the Chanticleers came to slay the dragon. They didn’t care that VA had the #1 defense this year in all of college basketball. . . .
They came out running and shooting and were ahead most of the first half. Soon the announcers were talking about the point of no return and the fact that NEVER had a #16 beat a #1 in the first round. We started thinking we didn’t want the Hoos to be remembered as “the answer to a Trivial Pursuit question!”
We were really happy at the start of the second half when the “old Va. team” our giant returned and quickly established their rightful position . . . “the cream had risen to the top” so to speak and rallied to win 70 -59.
Virginian is in the ACC with Duke but doesn’t have their long and proud history in basketball, and in fact has often been accused of the “VA choke” finding ways to lose especially when you think they are going to win. They did themselves proud last night!
I hope you got a bit of the excitement and flavor of March Madness. Many of the players especially of the small programs will never be invited to the NBA and many of them have never played on national TV. This is their big chance to be seen and to remember their tournament experienced. Mercer lived to play again tomorrow but not Coastal Carolina, this year. So it is not too late to experience March Madness during the weekend and next weekend as the elimination continues. There will finally be a “final four”, the two, and finally the championship game on April 5. Of course I am rooting for VA, but also I watch to see the amazing , inspiring Cinderella teams that may take the ball and run and shoot their way up their brackets, like Mercer and almost Coastal Carolina !
This Is March Madness!