PlayBook: Tides Up

By Fraser Lockerbie

Welcome to Hoops Country, Population: You.

Tides up and turning; we’re settling in for the calm before the storm. The dark days of February are behind us with the madness still to come. Soon we will be all-consumed. We will be the all wanton caricatures of vice; of the gambling, the greed and the glory that have long been associated with the month of March.

This has never been a good time for Caesars or soft seeded programs like Florida and San Diego State. They’ll be trounced, gutted by Longhorns and wild dogs from Mississippi. They won’t last long in a tournament built for men when they play like boys and the distinction looms large when the games are broadcast on National TV. Errors, even frivolous ones are watched by more eyes in those three weeks than they are all season and every single one is amplified about a thousand times when a berth to the sixteen or the eight is on the line. No, March has never been a wise time to lose your head, to inbound pass to the other team.

Other losers on the month will be Newt Gingrich and Creighton if they get seeded with Cincy. Newt because he’s an ugly person who speaks in tongues and Creighton because Cincinnati is a full-blown, full-court menace built to run teams ragged for the full 40 minutes. They will be no fun for anybody, especially Creighton, and will likely wander through to the eight if Notre Dame has anything to say about North Carolina.

We’re speaking in extremes of course, likelihoods based entirely on brackets and breaks. We won’t know anything for sure for at least another week but wild and free speculation has never been known to hurt anyone so why stop now? So what, right?

Marquette will win and so will Murray State. And Louisville, Las Vegas and Long Island so long as they aren’t strung to a sixteen seed and playing Syracuse.

Washington, Wisconsin and Wichita State? All Winners. And the Wildcats too. This is the upper crust here people, the cream of the crop. Who’s a Hoosier when they Huskies come to town?

Nobody. That’s who. There will be no room at the table for losers or Hoosiers when March rolls around. None. This is Hoops country; we don’t even leave scraps for the losers. This is not a game of leftovers.

One and done and that’s how we like it. Twelve or fourteen straight hours of hard court living and maybe six or ten games at a time. Never a dull moment. Total non-stop action. Only fast living for the freaks. We’ve got the bucket disease and a cure is out of the question. We’re basketball people and this is the way we like it.


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