It’s an ugly, loathsome word, invented by people eager to elevate something of little relevance to the level of a science.
You turn on the television to watch a conference basketball tournament. All you want is to enjoy the game, get to know some of the teams and get in the mood for the glorious NCAA tournament to come. But the joy is sucked out of it by this awful word and the hyperbabble of the breathless analysts who can speak of little else.
I just want to see if Providence can hang in with Louisville. I care if the Friars make the NCAA tournament as much as I care how many angels can dance on the head of a metaphor. If they get in, good for them. They’re not going past the second round anyway, and it’s doubtful they’d get that far.
But all the analyst talks about is the bubble and quality wins and RPI and strength of schedule and what the Friars have to do to be one of the 50 or 55 teams who have as much chance of winning March Madness as Jim Cramer has of winning the Nobel Prize in Economics.
Can’t they just give it a rest? I mean, it’s not that important, folks. We’re not talking about the future of the Republic.
I understand that it’s important to be one of the top seeds in college basketball’s annual spring prom. And I know that fans of individual teams teetering on the dreaded bubble are consumed with a mixture of hope that their heroes will get in and dread that they won’t.
And I know that these things have meaning to schools and conferences. Getting a top seed is one of those bragging rights things, like being best-in-breed at a dog show. But it doesn’t mean you’re going to be the team cutting down the nets in Detroit the first week of April. And making the tournament — even for a one-and-done appearance — means money in the coffers of the universities and conferences involved. It also helps with recruiting and gives students in college towns everywhere an excuse to get in a road trip.
But, come on, folks. None of it is nearly as important as the breathless analysts make it out to be. There’s little actual difference between a one seed and a two seed. The proof of that is the fact that last year was the first time in the history of the tournament that all the No. 1 seeds made it to the Final Four. If it were that big a deal, you’d expect it to happen all the time.
The cool thing about conference tournament week is the sheer intensity of the games and the familiarity of the opponents. Everybody knows everybody else intimately and the games are played in front of fans who are rabid about what they’re watching.
Baylor knocked off Kansas, the top seed in the Big 12, Thursday. The win may or may not get Baylor into the NCAA tournament, and I got to be honest: I don’t care. It was a great game to watch and it showed that maybe the Jayhawks aren’t quite as strong as we all thought they were.
The bracketologists, of course, spent enormous chunks of time talking about what it all meant for Kansas’ seeding in the tournament. The Jayhawks can’t be a number one, and that was viewed as vital information, as if it made a monumental difference in their NCAA hopes.
The nation grieved for those hurt, killed and affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. After one of the suspects was caught on Friday — following a day-long lockdown and manhunt — sports returned to Boston over the weekend.
So shut up, you make-believe rocket scientists. Quit giving yourselves fancy titles and acting as if any of this actually means anything. Tell me what’s happening, give me some insights into what I’m seeing, and lay off the bracket-babble.
We’ll all know Sunday night who’s in and who’s out and where they’re seeded. For me, that’s soon enough.
CBT: Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski made it official that he'll be coaching Team USA at the 2016 Rio Olympics, and he'll also be with Duke at least that long, too.
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