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An unprecedented, illogical tournament is a good thing


Mike Miller

Butler’s return to the Final Four means another week of The Mid-Majority reporting on college basketball. But VCU’s inclusion adds another dimension to the event.

One of The Mid-Majority’s teams will be playing for the national title. Again. That’s a good thing – even if it affects how we’ll cover college hoops in the future.

Don’t believe me? There are 344 D-I college basketball teams. Unless you’re a computer, it’s impossible keep track of all of them. Whelliston keeps tabs on the 259 teams below the Red Line, but even that’s a remarkably herculean task.

We tend to focus on schools in the big six conferences and more familiar programs like Gonzaga, Memphis, Butler and Xavier, but that has its limits, both for lack of resources and interest from an audience that tends to ignore college hoops until mid-Feb.

Thus, when a team like VCU defies what the experts say, it provides more opportunity for real local-level experts to showcase their knowledge when the national expert screw the pooch. From the Mid-Majority:

There’s a great gulf in between the two sides, the map-readers and the pushpins. The space between is unknown, as in the literal “I don’t know.” More exploration into this area has been done by Eastern thinkers than Western ones, but I’ve heard American Buddhist teachers (specifically Jack Kornfield) refer to this state as “Don’t Know Mind,” a realization that reality is far too complicated to calculate with a human brain, which is an acceptance that’s much more surrender than transcendence. It’s knowing that we have no power over the future, but that we can be part of God in small ways with our small actions.

Recent events in the NCAA Tournament have been so unprecedented and illogical, they may push more and more people into Don’t Know Mind. I hope so. There might be fewer brackets filled out next year, more As-You-Gos. Analysts might stop trying to predict the future, throw their hands up, and start using words like “random.” Look around you, it’s already happening. Local fans might stop making this event about what Jay Bilas and Dick Vitale say, and focus on the beauty of the event itself. And it is so beautiful.

VCU is in the Final Four.

Butler is in the Final Four. Again.

Don’t Know Mind reflects how I feel about this tournament. I don’t understand it. But I’m with Kyle. I have enjoyed it.

And if this is what the future holds, I’m in.

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.