I am about to assume the fetal position beside the Yard Sale Queen, of course. You see, college basketball season – the regular season and conference tournaments are over. March Madness is gearing up. It’s that magical time in college basketball when the term one-and-done actually means something to an entire team, if you lose.
The NCAA tournament, comprised of 68 teams, is a time the mighty may fall and a Cinderella team discovers the glass slipper.
Teams like VCU, George Mason, Loyola-Chicago University, with Sister Jean leading the cheering section, have all surprised the experts. Last year, UMBC, the upstart 16 seed and virtually unknown team from Maryland, surprised and busted brackets by trouncing my beloved No. 1 seeded Hoos. This year will be no exception – never is. Last year, UVA became the first No. 1 seed ever to be ousted in the first round by a No. 16 seed. That is a day that will live in infamy.
However, this year the Hoos didn’t let that embarrassing outcome set them back. If anything, it made them more determined. The Cavaliers regular season record was 28-2, losing twice to Duke. The team was 16-2 in the ACC, a conference many pundits say is the toughest and best in the country. Coach Tony Bennett’s crew shared the regular season title with the UNC Tar Heels, a team the Hoos beat in Chapel Hill. Bennett was named ACC Coach of the Year again, and Kyle Guy, De’Andre Hunter and Ty Jerome gathered individual awards. Both Hunter and Jerome are possible NBA draft picks.
Fan favorite Jay Huff, the 7-1 forward is getting his defensive bearings and seeing more playing time. When I met him, I told him that he has the smoothest stroke from 3-point range for someone so big and so tall. He is really tall. I hoped for a step ladder so I could look him in the eye instead of breaking my neck to look up at him.
As most of my readers – all three of them – know, the Yard Sale Queen and I attend almost every home game for both men’s and women’s basketball. We love Hoos basketball, while dressing in Cavalier gear and vocally rooting for our team.
In the interest of full disclosure, we did miss two men’s games this season – one due to snow and the other due to greed. I must confess that I sold my Duke tickets for an obscene amount that paid for the other 15 home games and parking pass, with dinner money left over. The way I looked at it, if someone was willing to spend an exorbitant amount to attend a basketball game, I would be happy to reap the financial rewards.
It came as no surprise that Duke won the ACC Tournament Championship. After all, they have one of the most gifted and biggest players in all of college basketball in freshman Zion Williamson. R.J. Barrett, Cam Reddish and Tre Jones aren’t slouches either.
Three ACC teams secured three of the four number one seeds in March Madness tournament, including my beloved Hoos. To me the ACC is the best league in college basketball. Almost half the teams in the league received invitations to the Big Dance.
With basketball season fading into the sunset and expected depression setting in, I must face the harsh reality that after the NCAA Tournament UVA basketball is seven months away. I could be reduced to babbling incessantly, drooling uncontrollably, twitching spasmodically and sucking my thumb.
Meanwhile, the Yard Sale Queen will suck it up and stand tall. After all, another season starts for her really soon. YARD SALE SEASON!
Until basketball season starts, I will look to the UVA Women’s Soccer team’s spring games and await the start of the regular soccer season in August. That team holds a special place in our hearts – great coaching staff and wonderful players.
Or maybe, I will follow the Bryce Harper-less Washington Nationals. Nah!