Ebs’ One Big Thing: March Madness

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BALLSTON SPA, NY – I love March Madness. Don’t you?Final Four

This weekend once again proved why the NCAA men’s basketball tournament is the best tournament in all of sports.

I’m ditching my Hot Takes this week to give you three reasons why the NCAA tournament sits above everything else in my brand new One Big Thing.

The upsets. Oh, the upsets!

In what other postseason setting do you see a team that most “analysts” believe didn’t deserv to get a ticket to the post-season dance like Syracuse advance to the semifinals.

Syracuse hoopsAnd don’t even get me started about Middle Tennessee State University. Imagine the San Antonio Spurs getting upset by the Utah Jazz in the first round of the NBA playoffs. Then multiply that by 10. That’s the equivalent to this No. 2  vs. No. 15 upset.

Absolutely incredible. Nobody, not even the best analysts and reporters in the world can predict what happens during March Madness.

The pure excitement. How often do we see an underdog, like Syracuse Sunday night, come back from down 16 points in the second half to beat a No. 1 seed?

Did you know that a No. 10 seed had never beaten a No. 1 seed and that Virginia was 68-0 when up 10-plus points at halftime under head coach Tony Bennett? Until Sunday that is.

Then there’s all of the buzzer beaters and overtime thrillers. Don’t forget about the ultimate comeback – Texas A&M down seven points with 44 seconds to go against Northern Iowa. It’s been an unforgettable tournament so far, and quite possibly the best ever.

The pureness of the game. In a recent podcast at my newspaper, I brought this point up when we were debating if college basketball is better than the NBA. I was in favor of college basketball while my colleague was debating for the NBA.

However, I feel like my point got lost during the debate.

By saying that the pureness of the college game was why college hoops is better, I didn’t mean the sport as a whole,

AP Photo - Sue Ogrocki

AP Photo – Sue Ogrocki

but the way the game is played. There’s obviously flaws with college basketball as a whole, but what happens on the court is oh, so pure.

College basketball is a bunch of kids playing for one reason. The love of the game and only the love of the game. These kids aren’t playing for the money or the fame, and if they, it’s only a slim few.

You can see it in the way these kids play and the way they react in victory and defeat.

Just use the Northern Iowa upset over Texas as an example.  UNI’s Paul Jesperson drains a half-court buzzer beater to take down the Longhorns and the UNI bench runs across the court piles on Jesperson while Texas players literally fall to their knees.

Look, if by now you don’t believe me watch this montage.

 

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About the Author ()

DJ Eberle: The youngest of our team, DJ is also the largest. Offensive Tackle Large. In fact, this Albany native used OT for Western New England University - until he graduated in May of 2014. Like Junoir Blaber, he's a regular on Rugby Wrap Up - his dad played rugby with The Matts. His cross to bear, however, is his love for the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres. As for baseball and basketball, it's the Yanks and Atlanta Hawks. Follow him on Twitter: @ByDJEberle.

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