March 14, 2011RATTO ARCHIVECOLLEGE PAGE COLLEGE BASKETBALL PAGERay Ratto
So heres the deal; Saint Marys got jobbed a little bit, and Randy Bennett may be torqued off hugely today, but he has his world and we have ours.
And our world says that when you ask non-basketball people who have earned their patronage spurs by never crossing the NCAA to sit in a room and make educated guesses about which team is better than which other team, mistakes will be made, and screwings will commence.
In other words, like the BCS, the system is gamed a bit. Live with it, or pray fervently that the NBA returns one day to Northern California. Or go to Folsom this weekend and watch the 10 NorCal basketball finals.
But having gone 20 years without the empty feeling the Bay Area has today, the only thing to do is expand ones vistas. If the NCAA cant grab you because its happening to other people, then do this instead:
Anyone can whip through an NCAA bracket; frankly, we have our own contest, and my entries are, as always, stone locks -- especially the eventual champions, the Indiana Pacers.
But if you want to find satisfaction while defending your local prerogatives, you need to find some friends, some alcohol, some designated drivers, and go deep.
Deep as in the other tournaments. The ones were invited to.
Like the NIT, with Kent State at Saint Marys Tuesday and Mississippi at Cal Wednesday.
Like the CBI, with San Jose State at Creighton.
Like the CIT, which has Santa Clara hosting Northern Arizona Tuesday and USF entertaining Idaho on Wednesday.
Those three tournaments eat 72 teams, which when you throw in the 68 in the NCAA makes 140 of 345 possible, or roughly 40 percent of the membership. That makes it the third most-exclusive club in North American sport, behind only baseball and the now-extinct NFL.
But then you throw in the womens side, where Stanford will be the Kansas of the field and is joined by UC Davis and Fresno State. And then theres the womens NIT, where Cal and Saint Marys might sneak into the 64-team field, plus the 16-team womens CBI field to total 144 womens teams. Those fields will be announced Monday night.
In other words, let people fulminate about the NCAAs, and how the tournament committee apparently got progressively more drunk as the weekend went on. You can work the less traveled side of the street, and still have the more familiar bracket for your less imaginative friends.
Because youre smarter than most, you can look at the NCAA bracket and laugh: You sign on to the others, and you can tell your reprobate friends that you follow 284 teams. They pretend to know about Virginia Commonwealth; you get to pretend to know about Quinnipiac.
I mean, lets face it: If the big kids arent going to invite you to their party, go out and make a bunch of your own. Just remember -- it doesnt have to be important to anyone else to be important.
Ray Ratto is a columnist for Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.