While downloading and filling out my 2010 NCAA Bracket, I realized something.
College basketball is the sports equivalent of saying "Nice to meet you," when you meet someone who you'll probably never see again, and really couldn't care less about.
We watch and cheer and obsess and even take off work, but really, do we care? Do we really know anything about any of the teams, except that Duke is good, and any seed higher than 4 is bad?
Filling out my bracket, I realized that my knowledge of the 2010 season can be boiled down into five points.
1. John Wall plays for Kentucky, and he's really good
2. Evan Turner is on Ohio State, and he's good too
3. Kansas is really good this year, apparently
4. Notre Dame has a white guy named Luke ... not sure if he's good or not.
5. Tom Izzo coaches the Spartans.
And that's it. I know Duke and Syracuse are #1 seeds, and the Big East is apparently stacked. I know Purdue's best player is hurt and they're screwed. But in general, if college basketball is on the radio, I change the station.
In fact, I think most of us do.
But once March 15th rolls around, we become maniacal. Filling out brackets, researching the rosters of New Mexico and Xaiver and convincing ourselves that we are informed because of something we heard Digger Phelps say on TV. Falling in love with some random team like Murray State because their coach's wife has cancer, even though I couldn't guess whether Murray State is east or west of the Mississippi.
A couple years ago, I became obsessed with the Winthrop Eagles. I became facebook friends with over 100 guys named David who attended Winthrop, just for the heck of it. They were invincible; in the regular season, they went something like 35-1. In the tourney, they lost their first game. Stupid.
College basketball is nothing like the NFL or NBA, where my opinions are informed and usually pretty brilliant. Not even like the MLB, where I have some idea what's going on. I probably know more about NASCAR than college basketball, and I hate NASCAR. College basketball is the friend that you don't really like and don't really hang out with, and March Madness is like spending a month straight with that friend and being forced to be BFFs, because nothing else is on TV and eveyone else is doing it. You have to pretend to be obsessed, because otherwise your friends will make fun of you for not being 'a real sports fan.' Really? Watching a sport I don't care about is what makes me a real fan? But then once we get to the Final Four, we can't wait to ditch our stupid friend and watch some playoff hockey or golf.
I know, college basketball is raw and more exciting and the players actually care, because they're not getting paid. That's the argument against the NBA. I can't disagree, the NBA is full of millionares who want to get paid and laid. But you know what, it's also full of the world's best basketball players, and when I watch college hoops, I see nothing but slop. Turnovers, transition passes that go flying into the crowd, missed 3-pointers clanking off every corner of the rim. The thirty-five second shot clock. Give me a break.
For the record, I've got three #1 seeds and Villavona going to the Final Four, and KU over UK in the Finals. My upset specials are Siena and Houston to the sweet 16.
And next year, after Wall and Turner are drafted 1 and 2, I will be back to not knowing the name of a single player in college basketball.
Nice to meet you.