2012 is the first year in a very long time that I have no NCAA tournament bracket sheets to keep up with. The four-day college basketball orgy that started today, and continues through Sunday, is as big a ritual as there is in contemporary America. There’s always an office pool, or an online pool, or some other way of matching your guesses up against others who are convinced they somehow know the name of this year’s surprise team.
But the reality is that, in two weeks, it will have sorted itself out and the Louisvilles and the North Carolinas will still be playing on, with perhaps an upstart like Butler around for novelty purposes. Lots of attention will be lavished on these teams, and the schools may receive some notoriety, as VCU did at this time last year.
But when it’s all said and done, there are probably fewer than 10 schools that could actually win this tournament. The other schools are having their fun now, but it will all be over in a week, or two weeks at the most.
The Final Four, which is now just two weeks away, usually makes for some exciting moments, and I hope that this year is no different from the rest. I’m not down on the tournament as a whole. But I’m finding that not needing to consult a brackets sheet all day feels kind of liberating. We’ll have to see if that lasts through the rest of the tournament.