More than 35,000 souls gathered under the Carrier Dome top to fete Carmelo Anthony and the championship team from 10 years ago (10 years already?), and to see the current Syracuse lot battle Georgetown one more time as a Big East rival.
Only one other basketball crowd will be bigger this season – the one on the first Saturday and Monday in April, under another dome roof, this one in Atlanta.
In between is the best time of the year in sports, one bursting with more possibilities than normal due to a chaotic college basketball regular season where no one stays on top for long and the overused term “upset” somehow gets more overuse.
Other terms and people are there to also grow tired of real quick, from bubble to mock brackets to Cinderella to Joe Lunardi to RPI. Avoid all of them. It will make your March so much more pleasant.
The only bracket that matters is the real one that shows up Selection Sunday, put together by a real NCAA Tournament committee that gets no ego points for their work, just unfettered grief from the usual “experts” and “geniuses” aggrieved because the committee didn’t do things their way.
Just remember that these same pundits were all mad about Virginia Commonwealth in the field in 2011. And look how that turned out. Maybe, just maybe, the committee knows what they’re doing.
Still, their job for the 2013 version of the Dance is a heavy lift, and it’s not just because Selection Sunday falls on March 17 (insert your own Irish pub joke). Other than making Indiana a top seed, literally anything else they do is likely to cause some form of debate.
Go down the list. Florida has rolled, yes, but has done so in the worst SEC in 25 years. Miami has risen fast, but had some ghastly early losses. Gonzaga has its best team yet, but still has to prove it can make a deep March run. Duke, Michigan, Kansas, Arizona – name the big name, and there’s two or three reasons to disown their feats.