Here’s what are certainties before Sparty or Rock Chalk Jayhawk or the Canes or the Wahoos or — oh how I hate to type these words — or the Wildcats or those other Wildcats or those other other Wildcats or the Sooners or the Tar Heels or the Hoosiers or the Quack or the Terrapins or the Musketeers or the Golden Bears or some more improbable outlier has it’s One Shining Moment that penultimate Monday Night soon to come.
We know that the Whiffenpoofs are singin’ loud and proud at the tables down at Mory’s. The Eli of Yale have broken the Skelton Curse, and shall be dancing for the first time since ’62. Which annum was the year before Louisvillian Mike Skelton, Waggener High teammate of Paul Long and Keith Thomas. Skelton is the Mamie S. Wildcat who matriculated in New Haven and joined the hoops squad. Thereby casting a pall over the program that has taken 54 years to overcome.
We know that Austin Peay has already given us a great from out of nowhere story. The Governors needed to win their last couple regular season tilts to make it into the OVC tourney. Where they won four straight, including defeats of the top two seeds, to nudge their record a game above .500 at 18-17. And, punch their tickets to the Dance.
The Govs presence means there’s a chance, a beneficent Naismithius willing, that the single greatest cheer in the history of the sport will be heard. If only just one more once, so the AP Nation can honor its greatest player Fly Williams.
“Fly’s open, Let’s go Peay.”
Oh, pray that it be so.
Oh, have I mentioned how I love this time of year?
Even this 2016 season when my team — the University of Louisville Cardinals — decided to sit the whole thing out, in the name of Truth, Justice, and the American Way.
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Here’s what else is for certain.
He plays for Northern Iowa. He controls the games for Northern Iowa, dribbling the ball a lot, and distributing the ball when appropriate. Which he does with skill and panache.
He and his guys coughed up a 17 point second half advantage over the Evansville Purple Aces, who fashioned a 30-12 comeback run to take a one point lead. Then the two competitors in the way cool named Arch Madness (the MVC tourney) traded hoops to the buzzer, for the MoValley’s spot in the tourney.
The victors made their last four shots, Washpun his last two, the final one a bouncer high off the rim and through the nets at the buzzer for the ticket.
Oh, how I love March Madness, yes, even if my team won’t be playing.
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And if you don’t think there’s going to be blood spilled, tune in tonight, the Monday before Selection Sunday, for the title tilt in the MAAC.
Iona vs. Monmouth.
These teams are fierce rivals. When they met this season, it did not have a pretty ending. Pushing. Name calling. Players. Coaches too.
Plus, if Monmouth wins, we get those cockamamie bench shenanigans during the Dance, from the Sittin’ Seven who started the trend.
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Here’s a few more reasons to be paying attention this month. Yes, even you Cardinal fans.
Jakob Poetl. This Utah Ute might be the nation’s best big.
To see if the new 30 second clock makes a difference.
To watch 63 NCAA games without having to mute Dickie V once.
To see if Frank Martin’s head blows off like the people in that commercial. If, that is, his bubblicious Gamecocks make it in.
Because this is one of those years when Duke loses the first weekend.
Because somebody like Seton Hall or Valpo or Baylor, some team you had losing opening Thursday afternoon, is going to make it to the last weekend.
Buckle up, kids, there’s gonna be more twists, turn, loops and upset stomachs than riding the Banshee at King’s Island.
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For a primer of what’s in store this Championship Week, leading to Sunday evening’s reveal of the Chosen 68, check out Mike Rutherford’s encyclopedic primer at sbnation.com, which you can read here.
— Seedy K