IMG_1834Selection Sunday 2015 is upon us and the NCAA Tournament selection committee will extend invitations to the “Big Dance” for 68 college/university teams in a nationally televised show. And for the next three weeks, college basketball will the topic of sports conversation at the local bars and around the water coolers at the office. (Are there really still water coolers at the office? Since the advent of bottled water, many have disappeared I bet.)

For those of you who have been living under a rock every March (and perhaps for a few of you that is by choice) the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) annually holds their basketball championship tournament that begins in March.

As the Committee announces their pairings for the tournament during a nationally televised show on Sunday, college basketball teams all over the country will wait expectantly for their invitation to the Big Dance. (Ladies or fans of THAT show, it’s something like a bachelorette waiting for a rose.)

When the team’s name is announced the players are shown going collectively crazy for a chance, just a chance to play in the tournament. To go to the dance.

Somewhere along the line, the tournament has become known on this selection Sunday as The Big Dance. The origin of this term is embedded in some mythical folklore and from what I’ve read, the best source of the term comes from Al McGuire, a legendary coach at Marquette University and later a broadcaster.

Al was a colorful character. His Marquette university basketball team won the NCAA tournament in 1977. According to ESPN, the year they won the title, “Coach McGuire wore a lucky blue blazer. At the end of the season, a reporter asked him if he’d keep wearing it during the Tournament. Al said, “Absolutely. You gotta wear the blue blazer when you go to the big dance.” Ergo the term.

On this Sunday’s show, 67 teams will whoop and howl when they learn they will have their chance to get crushed by the University of Kentucky. It is very exciting though to watch the joy, the enthusiasm, the expectation of hope, and a chance to fulfill a dream and perhaps make a lifetime memory along the way.

Personally, I find the drama of any tournament basketball to be exciting and a virtually unsurmountable experience at any level, be it grammar school, high school or college. Win and you continue to play. Lose, and your season is over.

For those of you who don’t, think of it this way. Let’s try this analogy. You go to a theatrical production of a high school musical, let’s say it’s Annie. While you know the performances will be wonderful, you also know even before the curtain even comes up, that the sun will still come up tomorrow for Annie.

Now, you go to a tournament basketball game in 2010. Kansas is highly regarded as the best team in the country. They play Northern Iowa, who is not regarded at all. If this were a high school musical, Kansas win. Annie sings. And the sun comes up tomorrow.

But it’s not. It’s tournament basketball and the sun comes up for Ali Farokhmanesh (really, Wedwand did not invent this character in the drama) who sinks a three-pointer in the closing seconds. Northern Iowa wins a second-round upset over the top overall seed Kansas who clicks their heels and goes home. Cinderella UNI continues to dance at the ball. Season over for the Jayhawks. No curtain call. THAT’s drama.

The drama this year involves the University of Kentucky. No team has gone undefeated for an entire season since 1976 when the Indiana Hoosiers won the title with a 32-0 record. Can any of the other 67 dancers stop them? You’ll have to watch to find out. Maybe there will be a Cinderella story.