SportsProf

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Wednesday, March 09, 2005

"There Is No There There"

That's what Gertrude Stein wrote when she saw Oakland.

Could the same be said about the "other" Oakland?

On the one hand, it's great that just anyone can make the NCAA Tournament. On the other hand, it's unfortunate that a team that did northing to distinguish itself during the regular season can make the NCAA tournament. Then again, should anyone cry for any regular season champ that failed to take care of business in its conference tournament? Counterpoint: shouldn't the regular season mean something? Another point: should anyone cry for the bubble team that gets pushed further down the bubble when an otherwise stellar team from a mid-major conference (or lower) loses in its conference tournament but still warrants an at-large bid and gets it(as would be the case with Pacific this year were it to falter)?

Lot's of points and counterpoints. Oakland probably plays Illinois in the first round.

And loses by 40.

Or more.

And yet the question will linger: whose fans will have more joy this season -- the Oakland fans who watched their team's improbable run through their conference tournament, or the fans of a team from a major conference that loses in the Elite 8, barely missing the Final Four?

It's a good bet the Oakland fans will, however small in number they might be.

They don't call it March Madness for nothing.

And now it's sprung a new "disease", Mid-Majority-itis.

So which mid-major are you rooting for? Niagara, because of the compelling story about Coach Joe Michalich and his aging mother? Vermont, because well-liked Coach Tom Brennan is retiring? Oakland, because it's glass slippers are barely beyond sand? Pennsylvania, because the guys who hit the books also can hit the boards?

Yes, there is some there there.

Even if it only lasts through the end of the last game in the first round.

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