Thursday, March 17, 2016

Cross-ing the fingers

So it's the official first day of the NCAA Tournament, at least according to everyone in America who's not the NCAA. And the good news is, the Blob has its annual No Chance In Hell Sentimental Favorite.

Come on down, Holy Cross!

Not only did Bob Cousy play for the Crossians (OK, so it's the Crusaders, I know that), but they won their Don't Call It A Play-In Game last night, beating Southern to slide into a 16th seed against Oregon. And here's the best part: They'll be taking a sterling 15-19 record into Da Tournament with them.

15-19! That means if they win the whole shebang, the Crossians will finish 21-19.

A 21-19 national champion! Who wouldn't love that?

Of course, the chances of the Crossians winning even one game are roughly comparable to Neptune suddenly careening out of its orbit and colliding with Earth. Everyone with an ounce of basketball sense knows Oregon is going to flame-broil them. The Ducks could play in blindfolds and still win. They could start three guys from noon ball at the Y and still win.

And yet ... there's a chance, right? They've still gotta play the games, right? And isn't that what the first two days of Da Tournament -- the best two days, by the way -- are all about?

It's all about the glorious notion of possibility these first two days, the wacky traffic flow at the intersection of Huh? and No, They Didn't. It's why Mercer beat Duke that one year and Bucknell beat Kansas another year and Vermont beat Syracuse another year. It's why Florida Gulf Coast got to the Sweet Sixteen one year. It's why, until it's actually happened, Oregon hasn't beaten Holy Cross.

Of course, the Ducks have a 99.9 percent chance of doing just that. But Holy Cross has Bob Cousy going for it, or at least his spirit. It's possible he could inspire the Crossians to pull a Villanova the year Nova shot 80 percent or whatever and shocked Georgetown in the national championship game. It's possible.

Or maybe you didn't just see Neptune wobble a bit. Really. It did.


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