Falling behind, but not out yet

Published 3:17 pm Friday, March 22, 2019

The NCAA Basketball Tournament has already shaven a few hours off of my life.

For a bunch of teams that have no immediate connection or relevancy to my life, I sure am getting worked up over their success on the court.

Case in point: Thursday’s game between Auburn and New Mexico State.

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New Mexico who? Exactly.

But I picked them to win that game as one of my super-secret upsets of round one. I didn’t exactly expect them to come close. After all, Auburn had just won the SEC Championship and is by all accounts a very talented team, especially from the 3-point line. But by some divine miracle, New Mexico State fought tooth and nail to the very last second of the game… literally! The game came down to an inbound pass with 1.1 seconds left. In the end Auburn won 78-77, but for a good two and a half hours, I was right up there with the most hardcore Aggies fans.

Thankfully, a couple of my other upset picks came through for me. I chose 9-seed Baylor to beat 8-seed Syracuse. That was a gut feeling. I picked 10-seed Minnesota to beat 7-seed Louisville. That one is common sense, considering Rick Pitino’s son coaches the Gophers. He got revenge for his Pops!

A few of the other games weren’t upsets, but they came way too close for comfort. I have Florida State going all the way to the Elite 8 where they’ll play Michigan, but that almost went up in flames when Vermont gave the Noles a serious run for their money. LSU looked like it was going to slip to Yale for a short run, Michigan State let Bradley hang around a little to close and Maryland didn’t convince me they’ll be going much further after sneaking past Belmont.

That said, all of my Elite 8 teams are still in the hunt for the title as of noon on Friday. Hope is not lost for my bracket. This weekend brings more games, more nail-biters and more deodorant purchased to block my profuse sweating during this bonkers tournament.

Best of luck with y’all’s brackets.