A few Eagles fans have mentioned to me that our amazing Super Bowl victory has caused them to be fixated on next season, and many of them have said, “Isn’t it great that voluntary workouts start soon?” Well sure, I am as interested as anybody to see who the Eagles are going to cut, who they are going to keep, and, of course, who they are going to draft. All of this has me excited too but as much as I have identified with being a football fan and a big Birds booster, I love all sports.
Although there won’t be much real news in football to discuss for a while, spring training games have started in baseball and the Phillies’ young talent has us all dreaming a little bit. Is it possible lightning can strike twice in the same year? Probably not, but the kids will be fun to watch.
And although it’s true that we’re the best football fans in America, Philadelphia is also the best college basketball town in the US of A. If you’re a college basketball fan, this is an absolutely fabulous time of year because March Madness is about to dawn!
Around this time last year, I had to pick a date to have a procedure done and my doctor said I would have to stay home for four days following it. Ah ha, I thought! I had never had the opportunity to watch every game in the first four days of March Madness. I often watched many of the games, but work prevented me from watching all of them. So, post-procedure, I hunkered down with my dog Royal and an assortment of healthy food stuffs like pizza, cheesesteaks, hoagies and ice cream and watched every single game in the first and second rounds – NIRVANA!!
As good as last year’s March Madness was, this year’s promises to be even more mad, and therefore better. The reason is simple. It is almost impossible to pick a favorite to win the championship. If you look at the current top 10 in the Associated Press poll, I believe that only Cincinnati (10) and Xavier (3) don’t have a chance to win six games and capture the title. I could envision any of the other eight – Virginia (1), Michigan State (2), Villanova (4), Duke (5), Kansas (6), Gonzaga (7), Purdue (8), North Carolina (9) – winning it all. At the same time though, I’d be hard-pressed to pick one or two that I thought would be most likely to prevail because it has been such an up and down year.
Here in Philadelphia most of us will be rooting for the Villanova Wildcats led by the great Jay Wright. The Cats epitomize this topsy-turvy year. They dismembered a very good Gonzaga team (88-72) and lost to a few very mediocre Big East teams like DePaul, Marquette and Providence. The Duke Blue Devils have had a similar schizophrenic year. They beat second-ranked Michigan but lost to Boston College and North Carolina State, two ACC teams that will not make the tournament, and St. John’s, the worst team in the Big East. It’s been crazy all around. The other night I tuned in to watch the Saint Joseph’s Hawks take on the Rhode Island Rams, as I wanted to see how good the 17th ranked Rams really were. It was Senior Night for Rhode Island and they were 23-3 playing the woeful Hawks who were 13-15. I didn’t think it would be much of a game. After all, the Hawks had a losing record and were defeated handily by the Penn Quakers. I turned out to be right as it wasn’t much of a game at all. Saint Joe’s absolutely blew the lid off and beat the highly ranked Rams, 78-48!
So, this year it appears anyone can win. The top-ranked Virginia Cavaliers have only lost twice and they play stifling defense, but sometime during a six-game run, the other team is going to get hot, and I believe the Cavaliers will fall as they almost did to Louisville earlier this week. So, who do I think is going to win? Beats the heck out of me. This is a year when it’s almost impossible to pick a winner — and that’s what will make it so much fun. My dark horses to win it all are 19th ranked Arizona, 20th ranked West Virginia, or the fighting Penn Quakers (one can dream right?).