I’ve been having some doubts recently. As I watched this Indiana basketball season pass by at roughly the same pace as an economics lecture at Shermer High School, I had less and less interest in the college basketball season. I began to wonder whether I would care about the NCAA tournament without Indiana in it.

As I sit here, less than 24 hours away from the start of the tournamnet (it’s now 3:15 in the pm on Wednesday) I am happy to report that I am excited about the tournament. It’s going to be more fun to watch than last year, when I was just ready for the season to be over, that much is certain. If you are having trouble getting into the tournament this year, let me present to you, in no particular order some reasons to care.

1.) Kentucky isn’t in it either. I find this particularly gratifying as there are no extenuating circumstances. They have at least one REALLY good player. Their conference was particularly weak this year. They aren’t made up entirely of Freshmen, Juco Transfers and walk ons. They just failed.

2.) Illinois drew Western KY and I haven’t filled out a bracket yet that has them winning that game. If I’m right, big smiles.

3.) There is no stress this year. Of course I’d rather be in it and fighting for a championship, but as we’re clearly not good enough to be in that position, I’ll just enjoy not having to stress out over our performance.

4.) No Billy Packer. I don’t know if you’ve noticed the vacuum that has been created by the absence of a complete gas bag, but if you haven’t, I bet you will over the next three weeks. I hate Billy Packer and couldn’t be happier to watch a Final Four without his asinine comments. No wild statement completed unsupported by facts. No crazy predictions about what’s going to happen in the game that never turn out to be correct. No making up statistics to prove him points (Don’t worry, the Packet Method has been employed widely by others. It’s not going anywhere). And with Packer gone that only leave Bill Raftery to deal with and since there’s just one of him I think I can guard him MAN a MAN.

5.) Louisville is the #1 overall seed. I like this for a couple of reasons. 1.) While I hate UK I’ve never really had a problem with UofL, with the exception of hating Denny Crum’s chosen style of play and finding it nearly unwatchable. So, I’ll be pulling for the Cards. and 2.) And I’ll leave on this, most overly-optimistic of notes. The last two times Louisville won the national championship, we won the next year.

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