Let the 'Madness' begin again

Bring on "The Dance," Baby. It's March!

Mike 'Chico' Bormann
March 21, 2019 - 9:57 am
Mar 20, 2019; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; General overall view of the March Madness logo at center court before the first round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

© Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

With apologies to those sitting by a fire inside Butler Cabin, the "Tradition Unlike Any Other" doesn't take place at storied Augusta National in Georgia every April. Rather, it's another big event which captivates a country just a few weeks earlier that has workplace copy machines getting jammed by the hour.

Welcome back, March Madness.

The NCAA Division One Men's Basketball Tournament officially gets underway just after Noon today, and although I favor baseball and football over the hardwood, I never hesitate when asked about my favorite sporting event of the year.

Bring on "The Dance," Baby.

Like seemingly everything else in sports, time and technology has tweaked a few of the nuances over the years. Perhaps the coveted bracket sheet that never was out of my sight for more than fifteen minutes and was often torn and tattered by the Sweet 16, has been replaced by an app on your phone. Or maybe the flu bug that coincidentally ravaged your immune system every Wednesday prior to those first two days of the tourney, has decided to find somebody else to pick on in recent years.

Yes, times have changed a bit. But seeing a bracket and hearing that unmistakable CBS intro music gets me every time. From Al McGuire's, "Holy Mackerel!" to Verne Lundquist yelling, "There's the pass to Laettner..Yes!!!!!" It doesn't get any better.

Is there another event that brings office departments and families together every year quite like the tourney? Meathead Mark in Accounting has as good a chance of winning the pool as Sandy in Tech Support. I'm more convinced than ever that selecting Wisconsin over Syracuse based on Bucky the Badger being a better mascot than Otto the Orange carries as much weight as being able to break down Jim Boeheim's vaunted 2-3 zone.

Need more proof? I know a certain talk show host on this station who loves college hoops and consumes his fair share of it once conference play rolls around. Last year, this guy (he's balding and his name rhymes with "Rico") confidently chose Virginia to cut down the nets in San Antonio. Tony Bennett's Cavaliers now have the dubious honor of being the only #1 seed to lose to a #16 seed after his team was steamrolled by the juggernaut known as the University of Maryland Baltimore County. 

Ultimately, that is what makes the NCAA Tournament so great. While only a handful of schools have a realistic chance to hoist the trophy, 64 teams dream of closing out their season as the lasting image accompanying 2019's "One Shining Moment".

For what it's worth, (nothing) I'll go with Duke, Florida State, Virginia and North Carolina in my Final Four with Virginia putting last season's nightmare to rest with a victory over the Blue Devils. My apology is on it's way to Charlottesville as we speak because, well, my bracket getting busted is also a tradition all it's own.