Saturday, March 19, 2016

Chaos, glorious chaos

That bracket of yours, you can just throw it out now. It's done. It's toast. It's a smoking ruin inside a crater on a dead planet in the middle of a black hole.

Yesterday did that to you and all your friends as well, and it was a beautiful thing. Yesterday was everything March should be, and too often is not. Yesterday put a clown suit on the NCAA Tournament yapping poodles, and at the same time gave them validation, because all along the yapping poodles and every other analyst of the Madness said this could be the most unpredictable Madness ever.

Well, through two days, it's gone according to that particular chalk, with a record-tying 13 lower seeds winning. And yesterday it reached critical mass.

One team (St. Joe's) survived because a game-winning dunk by Cincinnati came an eyeblink too late.

Another (Northern Iowa) poleaxed Texas when Paul Jesperson hit the shot that could erase all other shots ever, a heave from beyond halfcourt that splashed down as the buzzer sounded. So long, Bryce Drew and Christian Laettner and Lorenzo Charles and all other pretenders. This one leads the One Shining Moment montage for all time.

Almost lost in the wonder of it is that it was an 11 seed over a 6, one of eight upsets on the day. There was that one, and a 14 over a 3 (Hawaii over Cal), and a 13 over a 4 (Stephen F. Austin eliminating West Virginia with shocking ease) and two 10s taking out 7s. And then, of course, there was Middle Tennessee State, a 15 seed, which incredibly never trailed in destroying half of America's brackets by stunning 2-seed Michigan State.

(The Blob never saw that coming. But it had a feeling this was going to be the year Michigan State didn't get to the Final Four, because everyone in America had the Spartans in the Final Four. The stopped-clock theory in action).

Meanwhile ... we've still got Kentucky and Indiana coming up today. Which might be the best part of yesterday: It's only the beginning of all this.

To which the only appropriate response is this.

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