it's the only time of the year i follow college basketball intently, because the most consistently interesting sporting event in the united states. super bowls and world series are often onesided and therefore uninteresting. but not so for the ncaa tourney. many times, upsets have happened within the first three rounds.
indiana university, my alma mater, often makes the tourney. but this year, it wasn't invited because it had a terrible season,
so i'm cheering on north dakota state in fargo. it got into the tourney the first year is was eligible.
saul phillips, the coach of the bison, had wanted tourney officials to assign his team to a warm place -- like miami -- for the first round. instead, north dakota state will play kansas -- the defending champ by the way -- this coming thursday in minneapolis.
then i'll be cheering on butler university, because:
- it's in indianapolis;
- i had relatives attend it. some even graduated.
and there is no way in hell, since i'm an i.u. alumnus, that i'll be cheering for purdue.
in the past, starting on thursday, many people -- mostly men -- came down with what's been called tourney flu. earlier in the week, they told people they felt run down and poorly. then they called in sick to work on thursday and friday.
to cure their illness, they took it easy. instead of sleeping it off in bed, many took to their couches and watched a lot of television . but they didn't watch soap operas of the daytime talk shows; they usually watched the tourney games broadcast in their area.
they also drank plenty of liquids. but instead of water or some sort of electrolitic drink like gatorade, most of them drank beer.
tourney flu made them do crazy things, like betting that a number-16 seed would beat a number-1 seed in the first round.
(tourney flu, by the way, isn't the same as march madness. tourney flu occurs during the first week. march madness occurs throughout the entire tourney.)
i said this happened in the past. with this shaky economy, i doubt that people with jobs who also are strong fans of follow college basketball will call in sick. but i believe they'll try to watch the games on their computers at work.
then there are people who aren't working. i bet they'll take a few days off from their respective job hunts to watch the game.
in the past, because of the tourney, the economy usually lost about $1.7 billion in business productivity during march, according to a chicago consulting firm. that's exactly what a shaky economy needs.
but i've heard that a total of $3 billion will be bet in tourney pools, and that's a nice piece of scratch.
one final statement: when someone is talking about the tourney and you giggle with embarassment when he mentions morehead state ... shame on you!