As I sat down and started to pour over all the information for picking my tournament teams and my Final Four, I started
to wonder. Why am I doing this ? Oh, I get the whole tradition of what the event is all about, the emotions, the
buzzer beater, cheerleaders crying as Joe “All American” has played his last game and probably you for the last time as
well, and oh yes.. That One Shinning Moment”, but the the more I thought about the teams, how they got there and all
of the other things that go into making my picks, I just could not go any further. I can’t be part of what, at one time
was the sorting event of the year, that has now been relegated to just a lot of hype and fluff played by inept
teams in a flawed system conducted by suspect individuals.

The NCAA in all of it’s wisdom has messed this thing up as greed has taken over. This is not about the student athlete, it’s about presidents of the these schools and coaches and how they and their institutions are going to get paid. I could bore you with how the system is flawed in how the rules are broken and the punishments are handed out and
the player is the one who pays dearly but I will save that for a day when I am really upset with the NCAA. Today, I
have seen the light where greed in how this product is being run as lessened my desire to be part of it.

On to why I am not in this year. These teams are flat out bad. How many of the are in would normally be a mystery but
this one is easy… they have too many spots to fill. The nerve of the teams that were left out as if they had a ticket punched to play in the Final Four is comical. With that said, it has ben a bad year for college basketball on and off the court. And now you ask me to sit through three weeks of terms such as ‘big dance”, ‘Cinderella”, “buzzer beater” and oh yes, the announcer that is sitting in his hotel room rehearsing a line he hopes to use that will be as memorable as the lines I mentioned. Good luck!

No I am not bitter because I have not won my pool. As a matter of fact I have won several over the years and in most
cases won it with just one sheet unlike some of my colleagues that have so many that both paper and toner had to be replaced for the copier because of all the sheets they play. Call me cheap or lucky, I just don’t have the same feel, emotion or desire to be part iof this year’s March Madness ( another term that is like running fingernails along the black board). Throw in the the fact that the games are being shown on a variety of channels as the NCAA need more cash will make it a little confusing at the start. I only hope that the channel the Three Stooges is on will not be one of them. That would call to me calling into the KMOX Newsroom and complaining to Bill Reker as if he has the magic button to change the channels. No, Bill just answered the phone. Bad move when my programs are preempted. As I take a pass on this year’s tournament I will only hope that what 67 coaches, fans and players will say will give me hope.. Maybe next year. Hopefully they will have a better product.

Mike Claiborne can hear weeknights on The Sports Hub from 9p-12a


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