I filled out my bracket before Dick Vitale finished talking, before Colorado was declared a martyr, before Virginia Commonwealth and Alabama-Birmingham were officially shunned.
I keep the bracket next to the computer and, I must say, it looks good. I love a pristine bracket. I did cross out one winner; I originally had St. John's beating Gonzaga, but changed my mind. I have the Zags beating St. John's and Wofford.
Whether it's hamburgers (Helen Schwab), rock bands (Colin Cowherd) or basketball teams, I love the concept of brackets, and so does America. My NCAA bracket was printed in Monday's Observer. I don't think PItt is the best team in college basketball and had no idea I'd pick the Panthers to win the NCAA men's tournament.
But there they were, in the Final Four with Ohio State, San Diego State and Notre Dame. I almost picked Kentucky to upset the Buckeyes. But the Kentucky is so young.
In unrelated basketball news, I went to the Charlotte Bobcats-Portland Trail Blazers game Friday. It was the kind of game that makes you want to return to Time Warner Cable Arena when the Bobcats play next.
As much as I criticized the Bobcats for giving away Gerald Wallace, the team offered Wallace a nice little video tribute introduced him before the game. The moment was moving. Everybody cheered. Even the media cheered. Every player I saw on both teams paused to clap for Gerald.
Enjoy the basketball, regardless of the level at which it is played.