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March Madness Miracles Herald NCAA Tourney Time

by on March 15, 2011 6:50 AM

Welcome to what I have lovingly named the March Madness Miracles. I have two reasons behind that title.

1.) We built our house 14 years ago this month, and although it took me a few years to catch onto this, every March 3—like clockwork—I notice every bird species around our home battling for the best real estate on our land. Robins, wrens, sparrows, indigo buntings, cardinals and others that I haven’t been able to identify as of yet all search for the perfect place to build their spring homes.

Every March 2, I strategically place tennis balls on top of the pillars on our front porch. I love the birds, just not the mess they create on our porch—not exactly the "welcome wreath" my wife would like to extend to visiting company! Once all the birds have found their homes, one of our favorite things to do on a warm spring morning is to eat breakfast on our side porch and listen to the symphony of chirping. It’s like our own exclusive and unique concert!

2.) And now from our private concert to a much more public dance: The NCAA tournament!

This is more well-known than the previously mentioned subject, and just as much fun to observe. I was very surprised the other night when I was talking to my older sister, Diana, and she mentioned this tournament.

Diana knows a lot of things, but I did not know that the NCAA basketball tournament was one of them. She said that all the people on the West Coast were talking about it! Her younger daughter Kara is attending the University of Michigan for graduate school and she was hoping that they would get in.

My other older sister, Alice, also mentioned the tournament. She lives in Ashville, North Carolina, and her local school, UNC Ashville, actually won the Big South Conference, so they are automatically in. Here I thought I was the only one in my family excited for all of the upcoming basketball games to be played. I love that both of my sisters are into it as well. Even though I don’t think UNC Ashville will win it all, I’m definitely cheering with Alice for them.

Unofficially, March Madness started on March 9, which is when the NCAA tournament committee began its process of picking, seating and bracketing all of the 68 teams. Of the 68, 31 are conference champions that automatically get a bid into the Big Dance; the remaining 37 seats are at-large spots which can be decided all the way up to the official announcement that was broadcast at 6 p.m. this past Sunday night.

One of the highlights of turning our clocks ahead and losing an hour that day was knowing that we had one less hour to wait for all the teams to be announced! Like me, after the announcement, people all across the nation began the task of creating their winning selection formula in order to become the winner of their office pool, family pool, friend pool, neighborhood pool -- you get the idea…!

Last year, I gave you two of the teams that ended up in the final four. But this year, because I think the title is truly up for any team who got in to grab it, I’m offering you my top six teams, in alphabetical order:

  • BYU (Cougars)
  • Kansas (Jayhawks) 
  • Notre Dame (Fighting Irish)
  • Ohio State (Buckeyes)
  • Pittsburgh (Panthers)
  • San Diego State (Aztecs)

Of course, my sleeper selection and hometown favorite team is the Nittany Lions! (A special congrats to the entire team, coaching staff, training staff and student managers--feel free to stop in this week to receive a special Jimmy Bowen discount!)

Did I mention Ohio State (wink, wink)?! I saw Ohio State play at the Bryce Jordan Center, and if they play as well as they did that night, you would be a nut not to pick these Buckeyes. Although, after 10-plus years watching those birds in my yard, I figure that if the Jayhawks play as aggressively as our robins and sparrows, they may end up winning it all.

Good luck with your selections and have fun watching this great tournament tradition. My final piece of advice to you is the following: Whether you win or lose whatever pool(s) you entered, take your significant other/special someone out to dinner.

They have just watched an insane amount of basketball and, throughout the March Madness Miracles, have developed an amazing April appetite! 



Mike (The Mailman) Herr gives his stamp of approval to all visitors Monday through Friday at the University Park post office in the ground floor of McAllister Building, adjacent to the HUB. His views and opinions do not necessarily reflect those of Penn State University.
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