In the modern age of covering sports, we often find ourselves throwing around hyperbolic statements and exaggerated inquiries. A lot of “best ever” and “ greatest of all time” sentences get spit out. I am part of the problem myself, so I think I can comfortably say that the comparisons have been abused so much that they have started to lose potency. A debate about the “most incredible (fill in the blank) in sports history” is taken with an often-appropriate grain of salt.
The opening weekend of March Madness 2016 though, might just qualify for a tag like “Best Ever”. But since “best” is subjective for a lot of heartbroken fans this weekend. Maybe we’ll stick with “Craziest Ever” . A twelve-seeded Yale team grabbed the school’s first-ever Tournament win by upsetting a five-seed to set up the yuppiest game ever in DUKEvsYALE (no actual blue blood was spilled). A fifteen-seed dethroned a two-seed for only the eight time in history . TEN double-digit seeds advanced to the round of 32 to set a new mark for upset tomfoolery, and the Pac-12 conference experienced a disastrously poor showing from all but one eligible member institution. A twelve-point lead was blown in less than 60 seconds for the first time. Ever. Poor Northern Iowa will never live that down. History was made on several fronts.
If you bet significant money on a favorite, there is a chance that you hated the round of 64. The round of 32 was somewhat friendlier to those wagering on front runners, although not without its surprises (sorry Ute fans). But no- matter who you bet on or who you rooted for, the basketball fan in you had to appreciate the bedlam. There is a rather unique beauty in the chaos that greets hoops fans every March, and no finer masterpiece of insanity has ever been painted by the roundball gods. When the next spat of upsets rolls around, and talking heads like myself start throwing out things like “wildest EVER” just throw out a reminder of 2016. The numbers will probably hold up. Best Ever.