Saturday, March 22, 2014

3/22 Mercer Mania Quickie

*Mercer over Duke is a quintessential NCAA Tournament result.

*I tweeted this right after the game: There is nothing quite like the "Duke first-round NCAA Tournament loss." It's a national celebration of schadenfreude, transcending basically everything.

*If I had to rank my most desired outcomes every year in the NCAA Tournament, they rank "My team wins the national title," then -- a close second -- "Whenever Duke loses (ideally right away)."

*My 5-year-old son Jonah, who was watching the game with me, appreciated my enthusiasm over the upset-in-progress and the ending, but really didn't like when I said that I "hate" Duke.

And he's right. "Hate" is not just a bad word to flaunt in front of a kid (who can't grasp the nuances of the word) but inelegant. The reality is that I love seeing them lose.

(Post-script: Astutely, he asked what I would do if HE played for Duke. Would I "hate" them/him? I sheepishly said I would be rooting like crazy for him to win.)

*The glorious Mercer win eclipsed everything else that happened over the First Thursday and Friday. Let's give SF Austin a shout-out for knocking off a VCU team that -- if we're being honest -- choked.

*Looking ahead to today:

(1) Florida BETTER win (FWIW: Pitt has had a LOT of trouble with elite defenses this season)...

(2) Your Everyone-Should-Be-Rooting-For-Them team is North Dakota State, in a very winnable game vs. San Diego State...

(3) My Upset Special (it's on my bracket, so it MUST be right) is UConn over Villanova.

I went 27-5 in the first two days, which is OK (I'm in the 92nd percentile nationally) but certainly not spectacular. More importantly, I lost two Sweet 16 teams: Duke (like almost everyone else) and VCU.

-- D.S.

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