Frantic February is the time of year when college basketball teams start making their closing arguments for selection to the NCAA Tournament. For sheer unpredictability, chaos, nail biting and whining there is nothing like the weeks leading up to March Madness.
Every year it seems there is a surprising Cinderella. The unexpected team from nowhere that makes a tantalizing trip through its conference, to the Sweet 16 and sometimes even the Final Four. Each season a breakout star captures our imagination. Sometimes its a guy with no shot at the NBA, but with everything it takes to lead his team to a college title. Further you can count on several top coaches coyly downplaying their talented teams’ prospects, while we also hear others whine about an unfair selection process that kept their schools at home. But that’s what makes this party great and this time of year incomparable.
And its already beginning. In the last week alone, number one U-Conn, which showcases pterodactyl-like center Hasheem Thabeet, gets manhandled by super aggressive Pittsburgh. Oklahoma, which was poised to take over number one, gets knocked off by Texas when player of the year favorite Blake Griffin suffers a concussion. And super talented number 3 ranked North Carolina, led by 3-time All America, Tyler Hansbrough is stunned by the over-achieving Terrapins from the University of Maryland. This is a Maryland team that still might not make it to the NCAA tournament. But at least now Maryland can make an argument. That’s how it goes in February as the conference tournaments loom and March Madness beckons. This is the point in the season when teams often make their most lasting impressions – for better and sometimes for worse.
Let me close by making this admission – I’m an NBA guy. I prefer the high quality, skilled basketball that the big boys in the “Association” play. Still during the final weeks of February and the Madness of March – college basketball always earns my attention. Unlike the NBA, everything is on the line each and every game. And just one letdown means its over. That’s what makes college basketball unique and Frantic February special.