There is a never-ending argument for which sporting event or day is the most exciting of the year. The obvious choices are Super Bowl Sunday, or perhaps opening day in baseball. An argument could be made for the Daytona 500 — if you’re a racing fan — or maybe the NBA finals.
While there are endless possibilities — I’m sure golf fans would choose the Masters — I have always argued for the NCAA tournament, well actually the first two days of the tournament, are the most exciting days of the year in sports.
Is the quality of games remarkable enough to make it one of the best sporting days? Absolutely not. And while most of the population’s brackets get busted faster than the time it takes to actually fill them out, the drama and excitement created by the matchups cannot be equaled.
It’s the one time of year where fans and even casual observers of collegiate basketball find themselves cheering for the underdog and while that’s a human condition created by sports in general, March Madness has a tendency to fulfil that simple request.
This year was no exception. Over the first two days, 10 double-digit seeds found themselves victorious over the typical power-house programs. While typical programs such as Kentucky, Kansas and North Carolina have their rabid fan bases, teams like Middle Tennessee State tend to gain fair-weathered fans as the Blue Raiders knocked off the second-seeded Spartans of Michigan State, which marked the eighth time in the history of the tournament a No. 15 team upset a No. 2 seed.
After the dust settled Thursday and Friday, No. 10 Syracuse, No. 10 Virginia Commonwealth University, No. 11 Gonzaga, No.11 Wichita State, No. 11 Northern Iowa, No. 12 Yale, No. 12 Little Rock, No. 13 Hawaii, No. 14 Stephen F. Austin and No. 15 Middle Tennessee State upset their respective opponents.
Again, while the quality of basketball is porous at times; the drama, the excitement and the Cinderella stories produced make this time of the year the most compelling in all of sports. The only real question that remains is which of the aforementioned teams will become a true Cinderella Story and possibly threaten the power houses by making a Final Four run.
Maybe two or three teams donn the Cinderella shoe this year. Either way, it should be fun to watch.
Reach Chris Slone at 740-353-3101, ext 1930, or on Twitter @crslone.