Tuesday, March 17, 2009

March Madness meditation on a hazy Tuesday

March 17, 2009
Posted by Noah

First of all please accept a heartfelt b’gosh and b’gorrah from this Jew on such a fine St. Patty’s Day. I can never think of March 17 without remembering my years in NYC, on which March 17 was a mass sick day for thousands of workers in the city. And sick indeed they all became by the end of the day, what with drinking steadily since 8 a.m. that morning… Ah, good memories….

In light of the infuriating news of AIG bonuses, I will focus today on the fact that March Madness is finally set to begin. The NCAA tournament brackets have been finalized and there’s a pool supposedly making its way to around Heritage – not that I, or Heritage, condone such a thing – but so far no one has asked me to join. That’s just as well I suppose, given that a) I am lousy at predicting the future without a souped-up Delorean and Marty McFly to navigate the pitfalls of the future and b) I haven’t followed the NCAA tournament since my daughter was born three years ago. It wasn’t for lack of wanting to, though. You take her mid-February birth, however, and add almost four solid months of colic to that and you can imagine that March never stood a chance.

The last time I really followed the tournament in depth was actually in 1999, a few months removed from a life-altering journey across India and Nepal. I believe Arizona won that year, a number 5 seed.

This year’s tournament is shaping up to be pretty good, I reckon, what with the ever-changing #1 ranking this season. Louisville, Pitt, UConn and The Tarheels all take the #1 seeds, though I don’t imagine all four will be standing by the end. That’s as much as I can say. Were I to actually participate in the office pool, I would try and let one or two get through to the Final Four. My heart usually prevails over my head, however, and I most likely would support #16 seed Radford as the ultimate tourney winner. Go Radford! I’d be curious to know who the experts in the company have chosen – and there are many in our Sports Memorabilia department, as you can imagine – including our illustrious founder Steve Ivy. Word has it that Steve is passionate about basketball and is an experienced and successful bracketologist.

I do have to sound off on what I believe is the greatest championship game in the history of the tournament, and I hope a few people disagree with me. There really is only one choice: ‘Nova over Georgetown, 66-64, in 1985. It was the first year of the 64-team tourney. ‘Nova was an 8-seed and G’town a #1. The Wildcats shot an amazing 78.6 from the field, going 22 for 28 in FGAs. They shot 90% in the second half and just simply stunned G’town and poor Patrick Ewing, who I came to love as a Knicks fan in the 1990s. There! I wrote it and I won’t take it back…

I took the liberty of searching our archives for some choice NCAA Final Four memorabilia, in the hopes of finding something spectacular. What I found is interesting, not great, especially, but interesting nonetheless… I actually had more luck looking up individual players than an overall concept. The top seller is a lot of 1996-2005 coach’s press pins, which brought more than $700 in 2007. After that it’s more pins and several programs…

If you want to let me know your choices, or express empathy with my dark horse pick of Radford, then feel free to shoot me an email: NoahF@HA.com.