NCAA Hoops: The Sweetest Thing

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Is Kentucky unstoppable?

By the end of the weekend, word had come that there was no such thing as a perfect bracket in existence.  Those of us who took front row seats at our neighborhood pubs and/or living rooms knew firsthand that was the case.  As usual, I was chomping at the bit to get things started en route to what I had hoped would culminate in perfection….that particular moment in time typically happens right before tip-off has actually taken place. 

Losses by Baylor’s Bears and the Cyclones of Iowa State sent my brackets on a downhill slide by the close of business Thursday…otherwise known as the very first day of tournament play.  Overall, the Big 12….a conference that had more than held its own throughout the regular season…came up with a goose egg in all of Thursday’s games.  Notre Dame’s luck of the Irish was on full display as they narrowly defeated a determined Northeastern team.  Desperation makes one resort to…well desperate things….there was a second or two when I actually hoped they’d win…unheard of under normal circumstances—but salvaging one’s bracket is a different animal altogether. 

The still undefeated Kentucky Wildcats had brackets from coast to coast shaking…at least for a few minutes anyway.  Cincinnati’s Bearcats appeared to have THE number of the country’s number one….but Kentucky did what champions do--stuck to the grind and pulled away from a score that was uncomfortably tight for far too long.  On Cincy’s side, I can only imagine composure may have gotten the best of them….it would be difficult to remain calm, cool and collected while having fleeting thoughts of having your name in the paper as the team that tossed the kings out of the kingdom! 

I was elated to see my Oklahoma Sooners make our first appearance in the Sweet 16 since the Blake Griffin days.  With this appearance came Coach Lon Kruger’s distinct honor of being the only NCAA coach to take a record four teams to the Sweet 16.  Now if I could just get him to stop resting players within the first few minutes of the game…which gives all appearances of throwing off the team’s rhythm….the stars would be in true alignment!

On the ladies side of the tourney….sadly, my Sooners were escorted out by the Cardinals of Stanford.  Because life has a ying and a yang…closer to my backyard, the Lady Terps of Maryland are most definitely doing a darn thang.  In their inaugural year in the Big 10, these ladies were unstoppable as they went undefeated in the conference….during the regular season and tournament, capturing the championship!  Their fierce determination is truly admirable.

Well, there will not be a follow-up course to Bracketology 101 this weekend…my brackets have been sent to the recycle bin in hopes of coming back better than ever next year!  The excitement, however, is stronger than ever!  Once again, good luck to the teams…but most of all to the University of Oklahoma Sooners!!

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