By DYLAN MALONE
It’s finally here and I’m so excited once again to be hosting the annual DDD Bracket Challenge!
It’s the one time of year where people actually call off work on a non-holiday just to stay up late to watch the NCAA tournament. What are they hoping to see? Everything.
Buzzer-beaters, angry coaches, kids diving on the floor for loose balls, pride-wrenching upsets, and the utter glory of producing the most accurate bracket in your friend’s pay-pool at work.
Well, you don’t have to pay to play here, folks, and this season I’ve got a slew of prizes for the top winners this year from some local businesses that I’m excited to give away.
I’m going to format the winning like I did last year because there really isn’t a “stand-out” prize that everyone would want if they won first place. Not that the prizes aren’t worth anything...
New this year to the prize pool, I’ll have a membership to give away for Curves as well as Anytime Fitness for a pair of winners. Also, I’ll have four free pizzas from Pizza Hut, two vouchers for a free hour in the private bowling room at Villa Lanes, a $20 gift certificate to the Back 40 Junction, a free oil change from Quik Stop Oil and Lube and maybe more if I can swing it!
It’ll be first come first serve for those prizes once again with the overall winner getting his/her choice of the litter all the way down to the final prize.
The brackets will become available to fill out online almost immediately after Selection Sunday in just a few days. For those who want to e-mail a bracket to my desk send it to firstname.lastname@example.org by Wednesday morning at 9 a.m.
I’m not usually picky about the brackets but this year I have to emphasize the way they come in to keep some sanity.
There are some who wish to fill out their brackets without actually using the names (ahem...Manley family!). Please remember not to use just the seed numbers when filling out the brackets but to actually write the names in! Abbreviations work just fine (i.e. Indiana = IU).
For those of you e-mailing the brackets, do so by sending a “PDF” file. On Sunday night I will post a link on the DDD site (www.decaturdailydemocrat.com) under the sports tab with a link to where on-line brackets can be filled out and e-mailed to me.
For everyone else turning in either a printed bracket or the one that will be in your DDD newspaper Monday evening, please have your name and phone number on the bracket somewhere and turn it in to the box at the front desk of the DDD before 9 a.m. on Wednesday.
THE THRILL OF YOUR TEAM
Ok, so Indiana, Purdue, and Notre Dame have an outside shot of getting into the big dance...ok like wilderness outside. Short of winning their conference tournament, it’s unlikely that any Indiana team will get into the holy land of college basketball this season, which is an anomaly for the state built around basketball...
Is it even possible or likely not to have a Hoosier-state team in the tourney? Well, it happened in 2005. Before that, however, you’d have to venture back to 1975 to see the day Indiana as a state was shunned from the big dance.
I had the rare opportunity to cheer for my al ma-mater the other night when IPFW played for their tournament lives in the Summit League championship. As they are in a small conference, winning it all and getting an automatic bid was the only way the ‘Dons were going to get in and they came up just three points short.
I watched the great game on the big screens at Buffalo Wild Wings off of Maysville Road. It was an awesome event to behold as I was surrounded by a sea of blue. The student body from IPFW was invited to the B-Dubs party chock full of fun as they were handing out water bottles, basketball bingo cards for the basketball knowledge impaired, and even reserved tables for the Don faithful.
It was such a great time and it reminded me what this tournament is all about, really. If IPFW would have won they would have likely held a 14-seed and been beaten in the first round. That’s not the point, though. On top of being the only team from Indiana to probably have made it, it would have been the Mastadons’ first trip...ever.
That would have been something to cheer about in itself. I haven’t had that much fun at a college basketball game in a long time. There was more fun there than at the Super Bowl party I was at this year...