Dear CBS, You can’t have my soul this year.

I lived each and every one of my first 22 years on this Earth smack dab in the middle of Tobacco Road in North Carolina. In that part of the country, you start to play organized basketball as soon as you can run. I remember being in junior high and watching the ACC tournament. In class. Completely sanctioned by teachers. At a young age, you picked a university to cheer for as if your life depended on it. How do you a choose? Who gives a shit? Just pick one. We got a game to watch. What’s your favorite color? Red? Congratulations, you’re a Wolfpack fan. Pass the Doritos.

Any affiliation to said school is unnecessary and unimportant. I saw grown men who had never so much as set foot inside the Chapel Hill city limits actually come to blows. All because of a slight—real or imagined—to the character of Jeff Lebo.

And you stuck with that team and only that team unless one thing happened in your life. You or child ends up attending a school other than the one you root for. I drank the Carolina Blue Kool-Aide and stayed a Tarheel fan up until the day I got my acceptance letter from Wake Forest. That evening I went to the mall and bought a Wake baseball cap. From that moment, I became a Wake guy. And I’ll stay a Wake guy until my ride is over.

College basketball is in my blood.

But you can’t have my soul this year. You can’t suck me into your endless web of highlights and feel good pieces. I don’t want to know how that one guard from that huge state school does community service with handicapped Iraq war veterans. I don’t want to know how that one coach from that tiny school that we’ve never heard of is retiring after a distinguished 40 year career. I cannot live and die with these people for weeks out of my life any more. I simply can’t do it.


I really do want to see if that Ohio State team has enough experience to deal with the pressure cooker of six NCAA tournament games. Even though Greg Oden ripped my heart out of my chest by choosing to be a Buckeye over a Demon Deacon, I still root for the kid.

I’d love nothing more than to have the pleasure of watching Kevin Durant explode for another superlative exhausting 25 point half. Watching Durant evokes memories of a similar baby-faced assassin named Carmelo Anthony literally laughing at his opponents during the Syracuse march through March.

What kind of seizure influenced dance moves will Joakim Noah will come up with if Florida finds a way to repeat?

Is this the year Tubby Smith finally gets those idiotic Kentucky fans off his back?

How many times per game will Billy Packer make a painfully obvious prediction and then pat himself on the back when it comes to fruition?

I guess there’s only one way to find out. See you on Thursday morning.

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