NCAA Tournament: Day 2 Diary

My Bracket

It’s really hard for me to reconcile the reasons I love watching college athletics yet despise the NCAA. I truly believe college athletics is a modern day plantation with the so-called student-athletes being the free labor. Sure, they say that the kids are getting an education, but when a scholarship can get cut when they have a career-threatening injury, that’s hardly a free ride.

Hell, I’m not even getting into the issue of athletics taking precedence over academics with most of the money generated going to sustaining the athletic programs with almost none going anywhere else.

Yesterday Jill Painter-Lopez of the Daily News tweeted:

This morning came this from Joan Niesen of Sports Illlustrated:

That shows you the extent the NCAA will go to grab their money, none of which goes to the “student-athletes”, the people who make the NCAA what it is. As San Diego State head coach Steve Fisher said, the NCAA requires teams that lose to immediately go home no matter what time of day (or night, as it were) it is. Like this is a twisted version of America’s Next Top Model.

The NCAA can afford to let the kids have another night in town and leave in the morning. But no. The profit making machine has to squeeze every penny out of the blood of the unpaid athletes.

I’ve always said that the NCAA is one of the most corrupt cartels this side of the Medellin drug cartel. It should be killed, maimed, murdered, whatever. It’s time to end this and pay the athletes.

So why the fuck am I awake at 9 am to watch a 3-seed Duke struggle against a 14-seed Mercer and continuing to be a part of this injustice? Hell, why the fuck do I wake up 9 am on Saturdays during football season to go on a day-long watching spree? I keep the two issues separate, and I really enjoy college sports. I’m not perfect.

Duke struggling against Mercer was indeed the upset of the day, the Bears from Macon, GA making Nancy Grace proud with the 78-71 lead. Again I found myself rooting for Mercer despite having Duke going all the way to the championship game. Deep down I know the feel-good story trumps my inane predictions that are doomed to be wrong.

Secondly, Stephen F. Austin State made a splash with their lumberjack mascot:


Abbey Mastracco of Fox Sports West told me that he had a mullet which is hard to see in these pictures. I told her to tell Mr. Lumberjack that if he gets rid of the mullet, I’d give him the night of his life. Sure SF Austin needed a four-point play at the end of regulation to get the win in one of most amazing sequences possible in the Tournament, emphasizing the “Madness” in March Madness. But I will always remember that lumberjack. Their win means three of the four 12-seeds have advanced. Like I said yesterday, this happens so frequently it’s hard to consider this an upset.

Although Coastal Carolina didn’t become the first 16-seed to beat a 1-seed despite leading by as many as 10 points over Virginia, I did learn their nickname is the Chanticleers, a rooster in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Their mascot is named Chauncey.

As for my bracket, thanks to Duke it’s completely fucked. Since the drama decreases with each round of the Tournament, my viewing will be sporadic over the weekend. In other words, sorry. No more diaries of the Tournament. Besides, in several hours I have to watch the Dodgers season opener. Ugh.

But one question remains: where is Mr. Lumberjack right now?

14 Mercer 78 11 Nebraska 60 10 Stanford 58 16 Weber State 59
3 Duke 71 6 Baylor 74 7 New Mexico 53 1 Arizona 68
11 Tennessee 86 14 LA-Lafayette 66 15 East Kentucky 69 9 Oklahoma State 77
6 Massachusetts 67 3 Creighton 76 2 Kansas 80 8 Gonzaga 85
9 G. Washington 66 11 Providence 77 16 Cal Poly 37 12 S.F. Austin 77
8 Memphis 71 6 North Carolina 79 1 Wichita State 64 5 VCU 75 OT
9 Kansas State 49 16 Coast Carolina 59 14 NC Central 75 13 Tulsa 59
8 Kentucky 56 1 Virginia 70 3 Iowa State 93 4 UCLA 76