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My Oh My March Madness Reigns

March 18, 2012 - Al Stephenson
Today will be the fourth straight day that basketball junkies will be glued to the tube to watch endless hours of hoop action. My neighbor told me last evening that his eyes were bleary from watching so much basketball. Despite that problem, I'm guessing he will be just like me today. That is he will be watching to see who gets the final bids to the Sweet 16.

The men's tournament had its usual upsets involving 12 and 5 seeds as VCU toppled Wichita St. and South Florida took the measure of Temple. You can bank on a couple of those upsets every year. This year those games took a backseat to two other monumental upsets. The 15th seeds won twice this year as Lehigh knocked off Duke and Norfolk State upended Mizzou. #2 seeds have only lost in the first round four times in the history of the tournament and it happens twice this year. March Madness indeed.

The seeding process seems to be working though. In the East bracket the top 3 seeds have advanced and if Florida St. wins today it will be all four. In the South only #2 Duke will not make the Sweet 16. The top three seeds have advanced in the Midwest with only #4 Michigan losing. That loss, to Ohio University, was fun for my family. My daughter, an OU alumnus, was on the phone seconds after the win to share the moment with her parents. The Midwest will send a #12 or #13 seed to face #1 North Carolina next week as OU faces off with South Florida today. No doubt who I'm rooting for.

The women opened tournament action yesterday and the top overall seed Baylor, with 6'8" Brittney Griner leading the way, will be nearby as the Lady Bears play at the Stroh Center in Bowling Green. If Ohio State wins today they will play Baylor (assuming #16 seed 17-15 UC Santa Barbara doesn't pull the shocker of all time) at BGSU. That would be a great game to see.

If college hoops isn't enough for you the OHSAA girls state tournament wrapped up last night. Locally the Arlington girls team took top honors defeating Berlin Hiland 52-37. Arlington had never had a team make it to state prior to the girls basketball team this year. They will have to wait exactly one week to get another as the boys team took the regional title Friday night. Wow! No teams in how many years and two in two weeks. That's outstanding.

If there was a sour note to all of this it happened last night in the championship game of Division 1. Twinsburg defeated Fairmount for the second year in a row, but the game was marred by an ejection of a Twinsburg player with 9 seconds remaining. Ashley Morrisette threw a Fairmount player to the court and then glared at her in a display that made me sick. It was very blatant, and though I don't know what precipitated it, the incident cast a pall over the game. I hope Morrisette, who is a junior, will realize that there is no place in the game for this kind of behavior.

The view from my seat would suggest that we let the games begin - for the fourth consecutive day. I will be tuned in, though you will forgive me if I use the remote to watch the good old boys race around the bullring in Bristol from time to time.


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