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Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2016
I love MarchPosted Tuesday, March 23, 2010, at 11:07 PM
Basketball is quite simply not my game. I'm quite possibly the worst basketball player the great state of Indiana has ever produced.
Can't even dribble properly.
I was a swimmer in the winter months and would have been a wrestler long before stepping on the hardwood.
But none of this changes my love for the game as a fan. I appreciate the history this state has with the game at every level from high school on up. I love the fact that we have an Indiana hoops legend right in our midst, coaching at Cloverdale High School. I love the beauty of a perfect jump shot.
Most of all, though, I love March Madness.
There are a lot of aspects to it. I cut my teeth on the IU teams of the early '90s that were always among the nation's best. While my favorite teams never won it all (I just barely remember the '87 squad), they taught me to appreciate the college game. I like programs that stay clean and keep their players for four years.
I also love the underdog.
And that's what has made this year's NCAA tournament so special for me. Sure, my Hoosiers have fallen on hard times, but the college game as a whole is still a lot of fun to watch.
I get to watch four teams seeded ninth or worse -- Northern Iowa, Cornell, Washington and St. Mary's -- play in the Sweet 16 this week. While I wouldn't exactly define Washington as a traditional Cinderella (They're more like a bunch of underachievers who finally got their crap together.), it's still fun to see the unlikely teams staying alive.
We also still get our villains. In the east and south regions, respectively, we get Kentucky and Duke, probably the two most hatable programs in America. As much as I don't want either of them to even sniff the title, it's still fun to root against them.
It's also fun to still have two Indiana teams alive, even if one of them is Purdue. Our fair state is one of only three, along with New York (Syracuse and Cornell) and Ohio (Ohio State and Xavier) to have two teams still alive. That really is something to be proud of.
So I guess I know what I'll be doing with my weekend. I hope the next two weekends live up to the first. They rarely do, but I can always hope.
I'd like to make a pick for you all, but my picks have been the kiss of death so far. I had Kansas, Villanova and New Mexico all in the Final Four. Whoever I pick now is probably doomed.
On second thought, I pick Kentucky to win the whole thing.
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Jared Jernagan is a 2003 graduate of Wabash College and has been in journalism since 2005.