Sunday evening, the field of 68 that we all salivated over for weeks had whittled itself down to four teams.
Remember a month or so ago, guys like ESPN’s Joe Lunardi were predicting the last four in and the first four out? Remember how wrong those mock predictions were, similar to football predictions in early November?
Sure, March Madness is an event to behold. Nearly everyone who is a sports fan fills out his or her own bracket or takes part in an office pool. Those who filled out a bracket this year must feel like they cut their finger on the page.
Three of the four one seeds were ignominiously dismissed from the proceedings. Then there was Kentucky bowing to media-darling St. Peter’s. The Peacocks, as they are known, got all the way to the Elite Eight before their bubble burst. But what a story those guys provided.
I’m fairly confident folks in Lexington and Murray, Kentucky, aren’t too amused. St. Peter’s is a college in Jersey City, in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty. Word is that this program is strapped for cash and this magical ride has cost them a pretty penny. I suspect, however, they’re going to be just fine.
In this name/image/likeness era, I could see American Express resurrecting that you-don’t-know-me-but … marketing campaign, featuring the St. Peter’s team.
I’m on the minority here, but I think Duke getting to the Final Four is a great way to send out Coach K. I know most folks find Duke annoying, but my dad was a Duke alum and Blue Devil hoops was a big deal at our house.
It’s even more fitting that his team will face its archival North Carolina in the semifinals. If the Dukies can vanquish the Heels and go on to win the title, which would be Duke’s sixth, that would be a fairytale ending for Mike Krzyxewski, who has guided the Blue Devils for the last 40 seasons.
But if Duke does win, how long before we hear the drumbeat of how it was all fixed?
Editor’s notes: In last week’s From the Pressbox: “Big Year in the ‘Boro,” dated March 23, 2022, the writer noted “Gibson County, girls’ champs in 2018 … .” That was a typesetting error. Gibson County girls were champs in 2019, while Greenfield won it in 2018. We regret the error. Jim Steele is a correspondent for Magic Valley Publishing and the host of The Pressbox radio show, which airs 4-6 p.m. CT, Monday-Thursday on 95.9 FM, WRJB, Camden, Tenn.