The basketball ‘Madness’ starts today

Published 11:59 pm Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The madness has begun.

The 2009 NCAA men’s basketball tournament starts today with 64 college teams going head-to-head participating to win the national championship.

A big part of March madness is deciding which team will make it to the championship.

Now, people have successfully picked teams that have made it to the final round, but as for me, participating in this joyful and thought-provoking activity is fun.

I grew up in a family of three brothers and we have always compared picks well into the tournament.

In the past, I have not done well with my picks, having no sports sense at all.

But, this year is different.

Becoming so immersed in sports the past 11 months has trained my brain to look on this event a little differently.

When I started as sports editor at the Star-News, the 2008 NCAA basketball tournament ended when Kansas defeated Memphis.

I remember cursing myself for filling out a terrible bracket then.

This Monday morning I sat watching commentary on ESPN’s SportsCenter and observed what their analysts’ picks were to go to the second/third round and on to the final four.

To put it short, I learned a lot that morning and went to work wondering what team I will pick to go all the way.

I made my print-out of the bracket and looked at it for a moment contemplating on who I remember seeing on the news recently and who looked good to me to win the championship.

I made my choice and started to fill out my bracket.

There were times where I had to stop and really think about certain match ups because they were seeded so closely.

“Man, that’s going to be a close one.” I would think to myself.

When I got to the Final Four section of the bracket, I couldn’t help but notice how similar my picks were to the analysts’ on ESPN.

I felt pretty good for myself, but then remembered it was, to me, for fun and I didn’t want to waste that feeling.

I completed my bracket after work Monday when I put my section “to bed,” as we say in the newspaper world.

The bracket I filled out worked for me. It made me happy.

As to who I picked to win the championship?

I hope it’s ‘Sooner’ rather than later.

As for now, enjoy the madness that is March.