Conference Tourneys…Better Than The Dance

March 09, 2010 | Tom Federline

If you are a true mens NCAA Basketball fan……….this is your week. It is NOT the media hyped (66) team Bracket Ball. It is NOT watching limited viewing opportunities dictated by network TV. It is NOT watching teams hunt and peck at each other for a half until someone decides to kick it in. It is NOT filling out the crap shoot, $10 – $100 bracket pools. The best basketball of the season is NOW. It is going on as I type ( i.e. Big East – First round). Go to your tube – turn on ESPN, ESPN2, MASN, CN8, WNUV (RAYCOM), there’s a game on and the boys are pumped.

In my book, the conference tourneys far outshine the “Tournament/Dance/Party”. Give me Fairfield (2) vs. Siena (1)from the MAAC; they know each other, they don’t really like each other, one wants revenge from during the season and you get a team who fights back from 15 down (Siena) and they go into overtime, i.e. last night. Siena is going to The Dance. Give me the MEAC (Morgan State), America East (UMBC), Northeast (Mt. St. Marys) and of course the ACC (Terps), Let me see this Butler(1)  team (18-0 in conference) from the Horizon League play Wright State(2). Butler is in Indianapolis (Boooooooo, Indy), You Go Wright State (Ohio) – on tonight. For some of these boys, it’s their last college game, it’s payback, it’s let it roll ’cause this is our last chance to cash in.

The lower seeded teams are their for a reason. The not-so-good teams are still not-so-good. But give any athlete/team worth the salt in their sweat, a reason to pull it together for one night, then maybe another, then another……to go to “The Big Dance – Baby”, the competitive adrenaline kicks in and you have sports entertainment. I will make time to watch Utah State vs. Nevada in the WAC, but you will not catch me watching Puke vs. a #16 – Round 1 of the Dance. I root for the “Underdog” – (1964 cartoon theme song – Watts Biggers). I root for teams that  may have a chance at redemption from earlier in the season. I make sure the remote has new batteries. I enjoy having the option of numerous games and conferences to choose from.

“Don’t Get Me Wrong” – (The Pretenders), I like The Dance. I like a Cinderella story. I like the basketball fever. I like watching all teams from Maryland and the ACC (except Duke and Carolina). I like all the pools. Goodness knows, I’ve participated and run many of them. It is fun picking teams from a hat to get the whole company or family involved. It’s just a riot when Clara from HR or Einstien (VP of IT tech filing) who haven’t seen more than 2 college games in their life, pick a 12 seed that rolls and takes home the cash. I just love being sentenced to network decisions of what games they are going to show in your part of the country and that’s the only choice I have. It gets even more interesting when the 100,000 sports analysts/media, suddenly become NCAA Basketball experts. All a waste of time and money.

The Conference Tourneys – Bragging Rights, easier banner to acquire and hang in your gym, the last chance, the possible swan song. If you really want to get hooked on college basketball – Don’t miss this week. If the announcers have it together, the story lines are better than the NCAA Tourney.  If you have the time and your remote is juiced, you will enjoy the competition, the rivalries, the game on a different level.

ACC Tourney – As always – GO TERPS! But for fun, let’s go with Georgia Tech. Anybody but Duke. Your pick?