Even if you do not watch basketball on a regular basis, you must admit that this year’s March Madness has been a dramatic one. Top seeds eliminated, controversial calls, overtime games, and two teams who have never won the national title end up dueling it out on the biggest basketball stage there is!
Before we even got to the Final Four, most of the top seeds had been knocked out of the tournament by underdogs, like when Michigan State defeated Duke or Auburn beating Tennessee. Each of the Final Four games we nail-biters as well! In Auburn vs Virginia, the score went back and forth the entire game, keeping fans glued to their screens to see if Auburn, who had just upset Tennessee, could take out #1 seeded Virginia. The game went into overtime and a controversial missed double dribble call swayed the game just enough to give Virginia a 63 – 62 final score. Following that game was Michigan State, who had just surprised Duke, took on Texas Tech. This game was equally exciting in the first half, but Texas Tech’s free throw accuracy and solid defense took them past Michigan State 61 – 51.
Last night, the world watched another dramatic March Madness game. On the East Coast, it was a late game – starting at 9:20pm. For those of us that have to get up early the following morning, it seemed like a daunting task to stay up and watch Virginia take on Texas Tech. I have to admit that I did not make it all the way through the game, but watched the end of it this morning. In the end, Virginia defeats Texas Tech in epic overtime battle 85-77 to gain their first national title. As with all high-profile and widely viewed sporting events, this game has its share of controversial calls, like the overtime call reversal giving Virginia possession of the ball with 1:07 left to the game. What follows is Texas Tech falling apart starting with an unnecessary foul, giving Virginia free throws that they refused to miss. They went 12 for 12 at the free throw line in overtime, which ends up being how they pull ahead of Texas Tech, and showing that this season’s Virginia roster must have ice in their veins when the pressure is on. For me, this proves that the #1 defense taking on the #1 offense ends in a stalemate in regulation play, but composure and high-pressure experience will take you through overtime.
So what now? Anyone who stayed up for the game on the East coast is probably tired, just like they are after Super Bowl Sunday. College basketball had taken over the nighttime television and bracket talk had filled work days for weeks. What will we watch or talk about now? Baseball? No, not yet. There are still about 150 more games to go before it gets exciting. Golf? I doubt it. Horse Racing? Maybe, but the Kentucky Derby isn’t until May 4th. So what to do until May …. I suppose that leaves the NHL playoffs! Their playoffs started last week. Can you believe ice hockey goes this long?
Here is what I know about the NHL 2019 playoffs: the bracket system is structured like March Madness in that there are teams from each region, totaling 16 teams, who play to move on. However, they don’t play just one game; they play best of 7 games, as in baseball playoffs. We are only in the first round of games, series loser goes home. The 16 teams become 8, who play another best of 7 series and the field goes down to 4, and so on until we find out who takes home the Stanley Cup. But we won’t know that until June! Oy Vee!