The Madness of March is near

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DIDSBURY – Although not as popular in Canada as the United States, basketball still has a fervent following among ëWe the North.’

March is a big month for basketball fans. It marks the start of ëMarch Madness,’ which is the annual 68-team tournament to mark the national champions among the U.S. men’s college basketball (NCAA) elite.

What makes March Madness so exciting is that it is single knockout – one loss and your season is over. It doesn’t matter whether you went undefeated all season and your team is full of NBA draft choices; if you have a bad game and the other team gets hot – it’s season over.

March Madness office pools are huge as well. Millions of dollars change hands and, apparently, hours of office time are lost as employees devote time to watching their picks and hoping they can win. Is it smart to bet big money on the shaky jumper of an 18-year-old college student? Maybe.

The closest contender to our area is probably Gonzaga in Spokane. The Bulldogs were recently ranked number 1 after having an undefeated season. Sadly, that all ended with an upset loss to Brigham Young University recently.

Now the Zags are looking at a third seed or so meaning a much tougher road to the Final Four.

Still, you can’t find too much fault with Gonzaga. They’ve done better this season than anyone could imagine after losing four starters from last year and rebuilding with three transfers.

The Zags have never made it past the Elite Eight so a trip to the Final Four would be an amazing accomplishment.

For high school basketball, March marks playoff time. Some teams are already finished, having come up short, while others are gearing up for zone playoffs. Zones are always interesting as you are playing teams from out of your area that you don’t see often if at all. So that makes for some good basketball. Best of luck to all local teams from the Gazette.

I’ll end with the NBA, which admittedly is a long way away from its playoffs. To the pros, March means the start of the stretch run to the playoffs. Now, whether anyone can defeat powerful Golden State is questionable.

ëWe the North’ is, of course, the Toronto Raptors’ rally cry in recent years. Sadly, the Raptors are crying the blues after seeing their star guard Kyle Lowry going in for wrist surgery. Granted, the Raptors had dropped from second in the Eastern Conference to fourth after a losing streak but they were still in the hunt. Lowry should be back for playoffs but by then the Raptors may be buried in the east.

– Lindsay is the Mountain View Gazette reporter

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Craig Lindsay

Craig Lindsay is a reporter with the Mountain View Gazette who joined the newspaper in 2016. He covers news, sports and community events in Didsbury, Carstairs and Cremona. He is a photographer and columnist as well.