McCarthy: This year Bracket hype in full force

I’ve seen more bracket challenges, bashes and insanities the last week than I can ever remember from past tournaments.

Most publications in the country are trying to draw more attention to their work by sticking a bracket on any advertising space.

But the most important things get lost in all of this, because we hype it too much. I just hope people enjoy what the tournament is really all about.

Such as watching a player on a mid-major team hit a buzzer-beating upset shot and dive on the ground, waiting for the rest of his teammates to jump on top of him.

Pure, unprocessed emotion.

That’s one of the things that the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament offers that no other sporting event can.

These are my favorite sports days on the calendar. I sit down with a bag full of Chex-Mix and a case of Coca-Cola and watch 12 straight hours of basketball for four days.

The first weekend of the tournament is the greatest weekend of the year, because you honestly don’t know what’s going to happen.

The experts can talk and you can fill out a bracket, but by the end of this weekend, you’ll stare at your bracket and realize all it’s littered in red marks. (Or maybe you already tore it up and threw it away.) But by Sunday night, you’ll say to yourself, “Man, that was a great weekend.”

Now for the real question that’s on everyone’s mind.

Will the Jayhawks run into similar problems in past first rounds today against Detroit?

Many people have overanalyzed the Detroit matchup mainly because the media and fans have had nothing better to do all week.

Here’s the honest truth: Since there’s even been a sliver of a doubt about the Jayhawks winning this game, they’re going to win this game. Self will have them motivated, and the team will win.

I see this game playing out a lot like a game I remember from Kansas’ 2001-2002 run to the Final Four.The Jayhawks were matched up against Holy Cross, a No. 16 seed at the time.

I remember watching this game in my living room with my family and being scared to death that Kansas would be the first team to lose as a No. 1 seed.

The Crusaders even led the Jayhawks in the second half of the game at one point.

Eventually, the Jayhawks prevailed, led by Drew Gooden with 19 points and 13 rebounds, including an exclamation-point dunk at the end of the game, in the 70-59 victory against Holy Cross.

What I’m trying to say is this: Don’t be surprised if the Jayhawks struggle a little bit tonight. But they’re still not going to lose this game.

—  Edited by Anna Allen, originally published, Thursday March 15, in the University Daily Kansan

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