The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

March 20, 2014

Mike Pound: Spell of March Madness upon him

We are now into day two of the NCAA basketball tournament.

Well, I think we are, but since I’m writing this several days before the tournament actually began, I don’t know that for sure.

But, let’s assume that we are now into day two of the NCAA basketball tournament. That means there have been five “upsets,” two “shocking thrillers” and at least 27 “Cinderella stories” in the making.

“I don’t know how Millard Fillmore Junior High School even got into the tournament, but if they can defeat Florida, they have a chance to be a real Cinderella story, don’t you think, Biff?”

“You bet, Scooter. And if Tommy Bradford, their 13-year-old star forward, doesn’t turn pro, you can expect Millard Fillmore to be back in the tournament next year too.”

Big-time sports media types love Cinderella stories. They love to talk about the small school they’ve ignored the entire season, as if they knew all along that the school would be in the tournament.

“Scooter, you remember back in November when I said, ‘Watch out for Southwest Omaha Steak University come tournament time’?”

“No.”

“Well, I’m sure I did.”

“I’m sure you didn’t. And seriously, Omaha Steak?”

“They’re a small school, Scooter.”

One of the reasons I am writing this several days before the NCAA tournament begins is because I like to watch the games, and it’s sort of hard to write a column and watch basketball at the same time. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not impossible; it’s just sort of hard.

The other reason I’m writing this several days before the NCAA tournament begins is because I don’t want to worry about the University of Kansas while trying to do my column.

As I write this, I’m not even sure if KU plays on Thursday or on Friday. I just know that the team will be in the tournament. The first couple of games in the tournament are sort of nervous times for KU fans, and I don’t like being nervous while I’m writing a column.

By the way, I know people on Twitter who love to tweet out all sorts of stuff while their favorite team is playing. I don’t understand that. First of all, when I watch my favorite team on TV, that’s all I want to do. I don’t want to spend the whole time sharing every thought that runs through my pea-sized brain.

That’s what this column is for.

Most of the time, KU does pretty well in the NCAA tournament, but there have been times when KU has been eliminated early in the process. I may be making this up, but one year KU got eliminated from the tournament on the bus ride from the hotel to the arena.

But despite the pressure of following KU, I love the first two days of the NCAA tournament because it’s pretty much nonstop basketball. From the minute the first game begins around noon on Thursday until sometime late Friday night, you will constantly hear TV announcers repeat the most important words to the folks who run the NCAA: “We’ll be right back after a few words from our sponsors.”

In case you’re wondering, I always refer to the basketball event I’m writing about as the “NCAA tournament.” I figure that’s the best way to avoid getting sued by the NCAA. As I understand, during the NCAA tournament nobody is allowed to use the words “March” or “Madness” without the express written permission of the NCAA.

That’s why at military training bases all across the country, you will hear drill sergeants yelling: “FORWARD, WALK BRISKLY!”

The reason the NCAA is so strict when it comes to the NCAA tournament is that the organization makes about 8 zillion dollars a year off the whole thing. And, when you figure in all the cold pizza they feed the basketball players in the tournament, the NCAA takes home about 7.99 zillion dollars.

So, because I wrote this column in advance of the NCAA tournament, I am now free to watch basketball all day.

I just hope KU is still playing.

DO YOU HAVE AN IDEA for Mike Pound’s column? Call him at 417-623-3480, ext. 7259, or email him at mpound@joplinglobe.com. Follow him on Twitter @mikepoundglobe.

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