Sixty-five reasons we love March Madness

By Lucas Deal

For as long as I can remember, it’s been the duty of the Illinois basketball columnist to write a “65 reasons we love March Madness” column.

And since this year that columnist is me, it’s my turn to keep the streak alive.

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So, here they are: the 65 reasons we love March Madness.

1. Conference tournaments bursting all sorts of bubbles.

2. Selection Sunday bursting several more.

3. Tuesday night in Dayton, what fun.

4. Missing two days of class and not feeling a bit guilty.

5. Agonizing over your bracket even though you have no chance to win.

6. Gus Johnson going crazy.

7. Bill Raftery rooting for “THE-LITTLE-GUY…”

8. … And coaches who play “MAN-TO-MAN.”

9. Live look-ins.

10. Bonus coverage.

11. The 12/5 upset.

12. The other 12/5 upset.

13. Bill Self and the curse of the letter “B.”

14. Tyler Hansbrough’s Hannibal Lector mask.

15. Va. Tech’s dunkmaster Deron Washington.

16. All sorts of overtime.

17. Kevin Durant.

18. Thad Matta punching the scorer’s table.

19. The Bruce Weber face.

20. VCU over Duke … it’s coming.

21. Bobby Knight press conferences.

22. The excitement of a last second shot …

23. … Whether it goes in or not.

24. No more J.J.

25. Watching Greg Oden play defense.

26. Watching North Carolina play offense.

27. “The Masters on CBS.”

28. How good is Memphis anyway?

29. Acie Law IV telling us, “That’s what I do.”

30. Tom Crean vs. Tom Izzo.

31. Over/under on how long Kelvin keeps the jacket on.

32. Rooting for the 16 to take down the 1 …

33. … Even if you know they can’t.

34. Clark Kellogg describing “Spurtability.”

35. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Prince of Cameroon.

36. Did I mention Kevin Durant?

37. The CBS basketball theme song.

38. D.J. Strawberry, Patrick Ewing Jr., John Thompson III and other famous sons.

39. The North Texas Mean Green (actual nickname, I swear).

40. No more Dick Vitale is good …

41. … No more Erin Andrews is bad.

42. Praying for Joakim Noah to cry.

43. Southern Illinois’ in-your-jersey defense.

44. Battle of the Wildcats (‘Nova vs. Kentucky).

45. Georgetown’s big men.

46. UCLA’s guards.

47. Eric Maynor picking Greg Paulus’ pocket twice.

48. The occasional pick-me-up trip to YouTube.

49. Alley oops to Julian Wright.

50. Rick Pitino back in Rupp Arena.

51. Trying to pick a Cinderella.

52. Notre Dame vs. Oregon, potential 100-point game.

53. “One Shining Moment.”

54. Scottie Reynolds driving the lane without a conscience.

55. Columbus for Spring Break … at least it ain’t Buffalo.

56. Chris Lofton and A.J. Abrams, America’s best pure shooters.

57. Hoping the Big Ten survives the weekend.

58. Battle of the Cardinals, technically (Stanford vs. Louisville).

59. Gonzaga back as underdogs.

60. Mike Conley Jr. and D.J. Augustin are good …

61. … But Darren Collison is better.

62. Climbing the ladder, cutting down the twine.

63. More Kevin Durant.

64. Knowing only 65 teams have a shot …

65. … And we’re one of them.

Lucas Deal is a senior in Communications. He can be reached at [email protected]