Primed for 2018 NCAA Tournament

It’s March Madness, baby! The bracket was revealed about 90 minutes ago and the week that many consider the best in sports is now upon us. The NCAA tournament used to be what I looked forward to most in March – but then my daughter was born on St. Patrick’s Day – so my priorities have changed a bit. Regardless, I still get excited for the 68-team college basketball extravaganza.

This post is going to be super short because the time change has me exhausted…just kidding, I reject the imaginary impact of daylight savings. But it is still going to be short because Sid and I have a Netflix series we want to start.

First, I want to give credit to CBS/Turner Sports. For the second year in a row, the Selection Show was a big improvement from the 2016 atrocity. This year’s edition was even better than the make-good show in 2017. Cutting right to the chase by announcing the teams that made the tournament, both automatic qualifiers and at-large teams, was a great call. This set up great organization prior to bracket reveal and spared us from the awkward cut-ins of teams who sweated it out for an entire 2-hour Selection Show only to be disappointed at the end.

The “live audience” in the Turner studio was pretty hoaky and I wasn’t sold on bringing in a separate analyst for each region (I still have a tough time accepting Charles Barkley as a college basketball expert) but it was the best show to date so I will keep my complaining to a minimum.

Sadly, my Chanticleers did not make it to the NCAA tournament this season. Thus, because my #1 team is not in the field, I will have to pull for a couple others.

In 2015, I traveled with the Chanticleer men’s basketball team to the NCAA tournament.

One of these universities is (surprise) Gonzaga. A No. 4 seed in the West region, the Zags will face UNC Greensboro in Boise. After last year’s narrow loss in the national championship, the Bulldogs will have to actually win the title this season to top their 2017 run. Not an easy feat but hopefully Gonzaga will at least win a couple games and bring my hometown the excitement that Spokane has become well-accustomed to.

Even more than Gonzaga, I will be enthusiastically cheering for the Montana Grizzlies. How can I not cheer for my alma mater and former employer? It will be great to watch the maroon and silver on national TV as one UM goes up against another UM. Although the University of Michigan might be recognized as the premiere “UM” across the country, I am crossing my fingers for a major upset in this No. 3 vs. No. 14 matchup in Wichita, Kan. Yes, I have been removed from Montana long enough that I don’t know any of the student-athletes or coaches on the team but a lot of the athletic department support staff remains, so I will be pulling for them and hoping that they have an enjoyable experience.

This is me at the 2012 NCAA Tournament when Montana played Wisconsin in Albuquerque.

Okay college basketball nuts, your time has arrived! Enjoy the games and Go Bulldogs and Go Griz! Don’t Blink.

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