Junious Smith III: I'm just waiting for basketball season again
I miss basketball already.
As the final three games of March Madness are upon us, there is no real interest for most North Carolinians outside of ACC supporters and the few sifting through a shredded bracket with an ounce of hope. As a Carolina fan, I had to watch Auburn take 3-pointers on rookie mode in the Sweet 16.
As a Duke hater, I laughed as Michigan State knocked the rabbit’s foot out of the Blue Devils’ hand (for lack of terminology I’d like to post) in the Elite 8, but now there’s little to care about.
(I guess that’s how ESPN feels with Zion Williamson and LeBron James not playing for the rest of the season.)
Between a relatively lackluster Final Four, the inevitable Golden State Warriors championship and high school basketball a solid three weeks into the rearview, this is not the best time for my favorite sport. I’ll check out some Down East Wood Ducks contests and there’s plenty of prep sports to go around (baseball, softball, girls’ soccer, boys’ tennis, track and field), but that’s more for the people and fanbases over the actual sports.
Ok, there is some intrigue for the Final Four. It’s been four years since Michigan State has seen this stage, but Virginia hasn’t been here since my parents met back in 1984 and the other two schools (Auburn, Texas Tech) have never been here. Spartans coach Tom Izzo has the most experience of anyone, having led Michigan State to a title in 2000, but I had NBA aspirations back then — times change.
Either way, three schools have a chance of winning its first national championship and the other for the first time in 19 years — who doesn’t love a new champion?
For me, I haven’t done enough homework to really get involved. I avoided the brackets and really checked out after Carolina lost. I didn’t watch the Duke-Virginia Tech game and only caught the second half of the Blue Devils’ loss to Michigan State because I was with my dad. He’s a Duke fan and I love giving him grief for it, but right now it’s almost like a Pyrrhic victory.
(What am I saying? When Duke loses, America wins.)
I’ll watch these games because it’s basketball, sort of how people gravitated toward the Alliance of American Football before it folded. The excitement just isn’t there this year, similar to 2018. Maybe there is a shred of hope in the NBA, knowing there’s tension in Golden State and the chance to knock off the Warriors is better than ever.
*Reads about Stephen Curry getting contacts to improve his vision, which he didn’t know he needed until now.*