A lifetime of focus and practice comes down to the next three days. THAT is the NCAA Tournament.
March Madness is a phenomenon. Fortunately for the Chico State men and women’s basketball teams they are each making their third straight trip to this most wonderful of basketball tournaments. As a supporter and fan of both programs, I don’t take these trips lightly. It is hard to get into this tournament. You ear the trip based on your body of work over a four month period, but in reality it’s a test of your physical and mental aptitude when it comes to the game. How much time have you put in? Did you take those extra 250 shots at practice or did you cut out early? Do you know where you need to be in a defensive rotation and why? The teams that answer “yes” to these queries are the teams that are here. You EARN your spot in this tournament. And, with 40 minutes of stellar or sub-par play, you are either moving on or replaying the “would’ve, could’ve and should have’s” in your mind.
Like their Division I brethren, the D-II tournament has a bracket. 64 teams, eight schools from eight different regions, out of the 300 plus schools earn the right to be here.
Most of these players have been playing basketball since they were small tikes. They played in grammar school, in AAU programs, in high school and now at the collegiate level. For many of these players this will be the last time they ever lace em’ up.
Unlike the many conference tournaments that take place around the country, there is a reverence for the NCAA Tournament, as well there should. If you are one of the 64 squads you are competing for a National Championship on the biggest stage your sport has.
After this weekend’s Division II regional action, many of these players will focus on school, get jobs and start families. But, whatever happens to them in their lives, they will ALWAYS remember THIS weekend for the rest of their lives. They have all worked too hard to non-chalantly brush aside these memories. THIS weekend will stand the test of time.