I tried to convince myself to steer clear of the NCAA tournament this year because I know what a distraction it can so easily become. Despite not watching a single college basketball game this season (mainly because I didn't have a TV) – well I did attend a St. John's/Louisville game, so that, I guess, counts – I found myself sending out the mass email trying to set up a last-second (in memory of a great Christian Laettner last-second effort) bracket pool.
Despite my initial hopes to avoid the distractions, I fell full force into unproductivity (not a word, I know). I blame the internet. Really. Without a TV, there wasn't much I could do but check scores, but no, the NCAA decided to throw a poor grad student a much un-needed life ring in the form of live feeds through its website. I now had EVERY game available to me. I could switch from one game to the next with ease. My day was done. I did make efforts to pull myself away, but every thought of another Robert Morris-like effort lured me back. BTW, did anyone else see that Robert Morris-Villanova game? Holy Holy Cross! Easily the game of the day for me. That miniscule freshman PG from Robert Morris was unbelievable – he didn't do a single thing wrong! He hit big 3s, he was ferocious when driving to the basket and he was a pest on defense. In fact, the whole RM team put on a clinic in bother D. Villanova was lucky that the officials handed them that game (every time Scotty Reynolds touched the ball, he was given two shots).
Every year when I fill out my bracket, I always try to call the upsets. Too many, in fact, which is why I never win my brackets. But hey, I can take pride in the fact that I called the No. 13 Murray State over No. 4 Vanderbilt upset (but never saw the No. 14 Ohio over No. 3 Georgetown beatdown coming!). The upsets and down-to-the-wire finishes are what make the tournament what it is. As I said, I didn't watch any (OK, sorry, St. John's/Louisville counts for something) college basketball this season, but the tournament can still lure the fair-weather fan in with an indistinguishable abandon. Even with the two teams I feel some connection to (UCLA and UNC) not being in the tournament, I'm still insanely invested.
So the distractions will go on. Though I have so many other things to be doing this weekend, I will continue to have the live feeds lingering on the corner of my monitor, as though I am intrinsically linked to the fate of No. 12 Cornell (since I'm a part of the Ivy League ... and because I so unwisely believe its ability to shoot the 3 could lead to its being the 2010 Cinderella story). It borders on addiction. It's that exciting. Most people don't care because, well, they have jobs and can't watch basketball all day on a Thursday. But I'm on Spring Break ... so don't judge me! In fact, it's Friday, and I plan on spending another day watching nearly every breath-taking moment, so, take that employment!