Madness starts early with buzzer-beaters
by Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY Sports
In case you were out late partying Saturday night or went to bed early to get up for church, you missed some college basketball. Consider this the ibuprofen to your March Madness fever.
The first word:
As if it wasn’t already evident that March is here, college basketball’s final regular season Saturday couldn’t have painted a better picture for the reason the sport takes a new life this month.
It was a night defined by buzzer-beaters, small league teams punching their Big Dance tickets with conference tournament-winning auto bids, and SEC teams avoiding the NCAA tournament bubble better than Kentucky players ignore their degree for the NBA.
In a season dominated with the unpredictable theme — from various No. 1 teams crumbling to last-place teams slaying Goliaths — Saturday’s finale was, well, fitting. The best part? The fun has just begun, as today is the start of big-league conference tournaments. Remember that party you went to in college and you thought to yourself, “last night was crazy.” Then you realized it was only Wednesday, meaning you still had the weekend. Yeah, this is better.
As for the encore to all this early-March Madness, there’s this little 68-team tournament that a bunch of people watch starting in less than two weeks. Hence, the countdown has already started: One week until Selection Sunday.
1. Those buzzer-beaters
Typically, we don’t hear “at the buzzer” roll off the announcer’s tongue repeatedly. Saturday was far from typical, though. So, here they are ranked: