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.

Target Thursday Rundown

I know a lot of my readers are fans of “The Bachelor” so I hope you all have regained your composure after the bombshell episode this week. Sorry to disappoint, but I don’t watch the show (although I did write a post on a contestant from “The Bachelorette”) so don’t expect to see it included in my latest Thursday Rundown. Onward and upward…

The Target Trick – My wife was quite tickled last Sunday as she excitedly told her family what she got me to do. I am not a fan of Target – I find it overhyped and overpriced. Sidney does not share my opinion. If at all possible, I try to never walk through the doors of that store. This past weekend, Sid asked if I would join her and Sloan on a shopping outing that included Target. Not wanting to stay home by myself, I accepted. Our first stop was Target as we looked at presents and party decorations for Sloan’s upcoming birthday. We spent a long time in the store before eventually leaving. It was now time for lunch. After Sonic fell through because no one asked to take our order, Sid enticed me to go to Which Wich, a sandwich chain we really enjoy but is also really out of the way. The hidden motivation for going to the restaurant? It is right next to another Target! Yep, Sid convinced me to spend an hour in that location too, noting that this second store was so much bigger and better than the previous one. She found her little stunt quite amusing.

This is Sloan at Target (the first store) this past Sunday. As you can see, she is already getting ready for St. Patrick’s Day/her birthday.

Message in a Bottle – I am fascinated by messages that find their way to random people by way of a bottle at sea or a released balloon. In today’s newspaper, I learned that the oldest message in a bottle ever recorded was recently washed ashore in Australia. The note inside was in perfect condition and dated June 12, 1886 (132 years old!). Sadly, it wasn’t a love letter or prophetic scrolls. Rather, it just contained scientific information relating to a German experiment on global currents. Although the content of the correspondence was a letdown, it was still really cool that someone would find a message in a bottle that old.

Sloan at 51 Weeks – Here we are folks, just single digit days away from Sloan turning 1. I think Sloan is excited although I know mommy isn’t. Even though Sid is a little sad to see Sloan reach a major age milestone, she has kept herself busy planning for Sloan’s birthday party. Our little girl is standing up more and can walk with our aid or by using the walker toy she has. Sloan is starting to figure things out and she seems to have a little bit of daddy’s OCD in her. Over the past few days, Sid and I have taken moments to reflect on what we were doing a year ago at the given time, reflecting on the buildup to the birth of Sloan. So many memories.

This is Sloan’s photo collage at 51 weeks.

March 8 Archives – I have written some creative blog posts on March 8. Take for example just last year when I notified my readers about a website that gives your life historical musical context (when I was born, “Stuck With You” by Huey Lewis and The News was the #1 song in the country). On this date in 2016, I wrote about some unique treats that the Reser household grew up on. In 2015, I wrote about the great experience I had working the Big South tournament as the Coastal Carolina men’s basketball team punched a ticket to March Madness. Additionally, on March 8, 2012, I attended the best concert of my life. Standing front row at the Spokane Arena, I watched Blake Shelton put on an incredible show.

I took this up close photo of Blake Shelton at the Spokane Arena exactly 6 years ago today on March 8, 2012.

Gonzaga Still Amazing – Speaking of Spokane, I must give another nod to Gonzaga. The Bulldogs played in their 21st consecutive WCC tournament championship game on Monday night, defeating BYU. The victory automatically put the Zags into their 20th consecutive NCAA tournament. I will always be proud of the accomplishments of this small Jesuit school and will always hold tight to the small connection I have to the program.

I was a ball boy for Gonzaga years and years ago.


We are going to try to enjoy Sloan’s last weekend as a 0-year-old (typing that made me laugh) as much as we can. Thanks for reading and I will catch up with you again soon. Don’t Blink.

A Very Fulfilling Final Four Year

Never before have I enjoyed a Final Four so much. In fact, never before have I enjoyed TWO Final Fours so much.

The storylines were thick for me this past weekend.
1. I had my hometown team going up against the team of the state I now live in.
2. I had my favorite college basketball team going up against my father-in-law’s favorite college basketball team.
3. The chance for another major state university in South Carolina to join Coastal Carolina (school I work at) and Clemson as national champions was on the table…twice.

In the end, it all seemed to work out perfectly. Well, I should probably wait until later tonight to say that. But as of right now, things are about as good as they can be.

Gonzaga defeated South Carolina in the men’s basketball national semifinal round on Saturday night. To be honest, I was cheering for the Bulldogs all the way. I have roots with Gonzaga and I have cheered for the Zags my whole life so I couldn’t help it. However, if the Bulldogs did stumble, it wouldn’t have completely destroyed my life. I would have taken solace in the fact that my wife (who openly cheered for the Gamecocks during the game) and my father-in-law would be happy campers. I also would have delighted in the fact that it would set up South Carolina to win a national championship and make our state look really good. If you remember, CCU won the baseball title in June and Clemson took home the football trophy in January. For the University of South Carolina to complete the trifecta with a basketball title would have been huge.

Turns out that even though the Gamecock men ended up losing, a basketball national championship for the state was still won. The women’s basketball team at the University of South Carolina cruised through the women’s Final Four to achieve glory. The Gamecock ladies defeated giant slayer Mississippi State to bring the third major NCAA sanctioned national championship to the Palmetto State in nine months.

Don’t think the Chanticleers and Tigers wanted to see the Gamecocks falter on the national title stage. Both fan bases of CCU and Clemson enthusiastically cheered for the University of South Carolina, a sentiment that was shared on social media by both schools. I had the pleasure of working with Robbie Fitzwater, Clemson’s social media director, to engage in a good natured Twitter dialogue that left no doubt that our schools stood behind our rival in Columbia. The conversation was a huge success as it was heavily retweeted and picked up by the media.

We ended the dialogue with GIFs wishing South Carolina good luck. The GIF rotated between a CCU baseball national championship graphic, a Clemson football national championship graphic, and a South Carolina Final Four graphic.

So with Gonzaga advancing to the national championship and with the state of South Carolina already capturing its third national title in nine months, there remains just one thing left to do: The Bulldogs need to win!!

It would be a huge deal if the little Jesuit school in eastern Washington pulled off the win tonight against North Carolina. It would make me extremely happy and it would cap the most memorable Final Four year of my life. Let’s see how it all plays out. Go Gonzaga! Don’t Blink.