March ushers in one of the greatest periods of the sporting year and madness ensues on campuses all around the nation. Brackets are filled out and wagers are made. Students and professionals alike play hooky and our nation comes to a complete standstill. It’s not long, however, until brackets are busted and 90 percent of betters have lost their money and we all go back to work.
For UVU students, this excitement was busted before the season even began.
There are 31 conferences with automatic bids for their champion, ranging from well-known to “who the heck is that?” Of course there are the ACC’s and Big 12’s of the world and then there are the MAAC’s and Ohio Valley Conferences. There are the well-known unknowns, like the Ivy League and there are the conferences like the Southland that only a handful of the most die-hard fans could name a team from. (Isn’t Southland a show on TNT?)
For all the conferences out there, the only insignificant ones end up being those without an automatic bid. For those keeping score at home that means Valparaiso or (insert your favorite underdog here) one, Utah Valley zero.
This year’s men’s basketball team has some real talent and not only found a way to put together one of the nation’s longest winning streaks but did it in a way that entertained anyone that made it out to a game.
It’s pointless to argue they deserve to be playing instead of a 13-18 Western Kentucky team because let’s be honest, even if they took their spot it would most likely be a game against a No. 1 seed and a speedy exit.
Deserving or not, what brings fans and teams together is pushing through and having a shot at the tournament. Hope that your team can make it and then maybe, just maybe, make some noise and be one of those Cinderella teams and bring a level of fan support to this university that has never been seen before.
Head coach Dick Hunsaker has developed this program to the point where it is ready to take the next step and if UVU hopes to keep him around they will need to get him a bigger sandbox to play in. Being competitive is what brings excitement for a team, and when the team wins 20-plus games a year and never has a shot for postseason action, it’s time to raise the level of competition.
The WAC may have said no, but the Great West Conference has got to go. I’m not saying changing conferences would all of a sudden take the team from 2,000 fans a night to 20,000, but hope sells.
Just ask President Obama.
Jonathan Boldt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @jboldt24