March Madness makes for must-see TV
Posted March 18, 2013
So, what's your excuse? I hope it's a good one. Kids home sick and grandma's not around to care for them? Water heater explode in your basement? Got your mogwai wet, fed him after midnight and now you've got a slew of gremlins terrorizing your neighborhood?
Whatever it is, make it believable when you call in sick to work on Thursday and Friday. Chances are, your employer has already heard them all.
Welcome to "Work Productivity Slowdown Week," the time of year the consultant group Challenger, Gray and Christmas Inc. just love. If you haven't heard of them, they're the ones ratting you out to your boss via their studies that project just how much money March Madness costs them come tourney time. This year, they predict three million Americans will "waste" one to three hours at work watching games. Couple that with scoping out scores online and filling out brackets (including those in workplaces where the head honchos shake their fists and scream bloody murder against doing so) and the firm estimates that more than a billion bucks is lost in worker productivity.
So, at the risk of angering upper management, let's examine some of the matchups worth streaming online at your workplace computer. Just make sure to keep your mouse/keyboard trigger finger froggy and your speaker volume low so you can minimize that broadcast and pop up that TPS report you're supposed to be working on at the drop of a hat. Maybe that way, you won't get chastised for messing up cover letter protocol again.
Or, if the shoe is on the other foot, maybe you can ditch the iron-fisted taskmaster label for two days and just let your staff watch the action live on WRAL-TV. Do it. I guarantee fewer people will pretend to not to notice you to avoid conversation at next December's company Christmas party.
By the way, I'm omitting all Triangle teams from the conversation, because I assume everyone will be watching them regardless, whether pulling for them to advance or tank.
#3 Michigan State vs. #14 Valparaiso, Thursday at 12:15 p.m. on WRAL
Here's that second round 14/3 upset you're begging to pick in your bracket. Valpo may have not been to the dance in nine years, but in terms of court time they are the most experienced team in the entire tournament. The team's top nine players are juniors and seniors. There are six seniors on the roster, and all of them play major roles. I'm not normally one to bet against Tom Izzo this early in the field of 68, but if there's one opposing coach who knows all too well about magical moments in March, it's the Crusaders' chief.
Bryce Drew took over for his pops, Homer, less than two years ago, and I'm willing to bet he's itching to top that iconic moment. Let's just hope he doesn't get upstaged by an astronaut.
#5 Oklahoma State vs #12 Oregon, Thursday at 4:40 p.m. on TNT
One of those instances where one team's slight advantage becomes another team's nightmare. Granted, while the Ducks were incredibly mediocre after January (only 5-and-5 entering their conference tournament), a 12 seed for the Pac 12 champion who only sat one game out of the regular season title too? A very balanced, and now angry badelynge (or brace, flock, raft, paddling, geez, why are there so many names for a group of Ducks?!) could spell trouble for the Cowboys.
#5 Wisconsin vs #12 Mississippi, Friday at 12:40 p.m. on truTV
Matchups involving two entirely different styles are always intriguing to see how they play out. One of the best defensive teams in the country versus a squad who's 7th in the nation in scoring. Oh, and for entertainment purposes solely, there's Marshall Henderson. Who, I'm pretty sure ignited a Mandy Mitchell outburst when this happened in Sunday's SEC Tournament Championship:
#4 Syracuse vs #13 Montana, Thursday at 9:57 p.m. on truTV
Because this is where I get to be a homer and tell you how this was probably the best moment of my college days in Central New York.
#6 Butler vs #11 Bucknell, Thursday at 12:40 p.m. on truTV
Mid-Majors explode!!! The postseason mastermind against maybe the best unknown player in college hoops: Brad Stevens v. Mike Muscala. America's favorite underdogs of the last half decade pitted against a team that's only lost one game by more than a single possession. Here's your showdown that goes down to the final seconds and could possibly provide the first fabulous finish of the tournament.
Happy viewing, maybe your brackets not bust, and may all your moments be "shining."
Currently listening to: Muse "Madness," 'tis the season!