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Basketball Flu

Greetings from The Booth!

Whew! Saved by the running gods and Old Man Winter. This past Saturday was to have been the running of the Edward Jones 5k Race For Education, and in last week’s VFB, I wrote about my commitment to running/walking the race. On Friday I received an email that the event was going to happen rain or shine. The weather forecast for race time Saturday wasn’t promising. Blizzard conditions were predicted for the Northern Shenandoah Valley, and Kemp Miller was right on the money, as I woke to blowing snow, and icy roads, not ideal conditions for running a 5k race. Reluctantly, race director Bret Hrbek had to pivot and make the race virtual instead of in-person. I felt like the kid who didn’t do his homework the night before and prayed for a snowstorm to cancel school. That being said, I will be running a 5k on my own and sending the time to Bret sometime in the next few weeks…

Well, there’s a pandemic sweeping through the nation this week, and I’m not talking about COVID or some mutated variant. It’s Basketball Flu. You know, the ailment that sends millions away from the office and into local watering holes all over the USA. March Madness is here as the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament begins in earnest this Thursday and Friday with first round games (let’s not have the tired old debate as to whether the First Four is part of the tournament). From noon until midnight it’s wall-to-wall basketball, and a steady menu of buzzer-beaters and upsets (watch those 12 versus 5 games!) as the pupils in your eyes turn to roundballs. You’ll find the games on multiple channels these days, but back in the day, CBS was the sole network showing games, as they took you in rapid-fire succession around the tournament.

This year, I don’t have a horse in the race, as the only playing my WVU Mountaineers will be doing is foozeball in the student union. The Mounties started 13-2 and finished 16-17. Bob Huggins lobbied strongly for an NIT bid, but he was living in a fantasy world. West Virginia won’t even be playing in the iconic CBI, where they were waxed several years ago by Coastal Carolina. I begrudgingly have adopted rival Virginia Tech in this years dance, because of their improbable run in the ACC Tournament which took them from a bubble team to an 11-seed. This Hokie team could be this year’s Jimmy V NC State squad from ’83-’84,  My feelings for Tech have mellowed over the years, I guess.

That being said, I really really really don’t care much for Duke, but they are the team I have going all the way. Yes, they have flaws, but I think the NCAA wants a going-away title for Coach K, and until a potential matchup against Gonzaga in the regional finals, they don’t have the toughest road to the Final Four. If you’re a conspiracy theorist, you might think the NCAA is setting up the Blue Devils for the National Championship.

Unlike chicken wings and cheap gas, the truth is out there! (Cue the theme from the X-Files)

Enjoy the hoop, good luck with your bracket, and until the next visit from The Booth…GO HORNETS!



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