I remember saying to my dad once as a child, "there's nothing better than an upset in the Tournament." And it's still true! I have loved the NCAA basketball tournament since I can remember. In fact, I can remember filling in results in my bracket that I got out of a Sports Illustrated, back when people subscribed to magazines. I was so excited to run to my room and add another result to the sheet. My love of the tournament probably didn't bother my dad, a big sports fan, very much. He enjoyed watching the big games as well.
I was on spring break in high school when Duke beat Kentucky in the greatest college basketball game ever played. I watched it in my living room, running around the house in excitement over the incredible result. I was no Duke fan (still am not), but I just loved the incredible finish. I remember Grant Hill making an amazing dunk in the NCAA Championship game, also watching from my living room. I can't believe that was in 1991! 27 years ago and I still remember it clearly.
More recently, I remember watching Montana, my alma mater, upset Nevada in 2005. I was watching at work and ran around the office like the Griz had won the national championship. It was thrilling! Then they lost to Boston College in the next round. No matter, because they won a game in the Tournament. For the Griz and their fans, that was as good as it got.
I remember being very excited when the NCAA changed the formate to eliminate the gap in coverage from 5-7 pm ET. Back in the day there was a afternoon round and an evening round of games, with nothing to bridge the gap. It was depressing to have to watch something besides basketball during those two hours on Thursday and Friday. But now the games go from Noon until past midnight ET with no interruption in coverage, which is manna from heaven for us hoopheads.
Last year, I was in Vegas for the Tournament. I've never seen a city so full of people. The games were on EVERYWHERE. Nothing else mattered. All anyone cared about was the first two days of action. It was glorious. My betting system went 2-6 on Friday and 6-2 on Saturday, so I broke even. Anyone who has been to Vegas will tell you that breaking even after a weekend of betting is a big win. Having money on the games is exciting, but I get just as excited and watch just as many games without any action on them. The Tournament is just that exciting.
This year I'll be watching from my couch with my son, rooting on Gonzaga instead of going to the park. The Zags play at 10:30 am and the Griz play at 7 pm PT. I'm excited to share my love of the tournament with the next generation. He is only two but already has seen many (victorious) Gonzaga games. Let's hope he enjoys watching the games with me as much as I did (and still do) with my dad.