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Games that would make March really mad

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If Groundhog Day, Earth Day and Arbor Day can be acknowledged as sort of D-list holidays in this country, so can Selection Sunday.

Since when are we more concerned about whether a portly rodent held by grown men donning top hats sees his shadow than we are learning the four No. 1 seeds?

Answer: We aren’t.

Selection Sunday, which reappears six days from today, is the most delicious slice of the American sports pie. Sixty minutes of outrage, relief, confusion, nervous hand-wringing and surprise all shoehorned into a Sunday evening.


Depending on one’s generation, it’s “Who Shot J.R.?” or the final episode of “Seinfeld” once a year.

All because of information placed in front of us in bracketed form.

Indianapolis is back in the Sweet 16 rotation this month, with the Midwest Regional ultimately decided in Lucas Oil Stadium on March 29 and 31. It’s a great tuneup for the cavernous venue, which also plays host to the same round of games in 2014 and the 2015 Final Four.

It’s in this spirit I would like to present a few scenarios truly capable of injecting some serious mad into our upcoming March Madness:

New Mexico vs. Indiana at Lucas Oil Stadium: Picture Lobos coach and Hoosiers icon Steve Alford walking to his team’s bench in front of 50,000 spectators wearing one of Bob Knight’s old plaid sports coats. Talk about conflicting emotions running amok. Knight, who is still beloved by the majority of IU supporters, wants nothing to do with his former workplace. Would Hoosiers faithful be offended by such a wardrobe malfunction or pleasantly amused by the gesture?

Butler vs. Ohio State: Buckeyes coach Thad Matta is a former Butler guard who spent one shameless stepping-stone season (2000-01) coaching his alma mater. This, too, would be a wonderful game to be played in Indy, though my gut tells me both programs are destined to be shipped to other regions by the NCAA suits.

St. Louis vs. Indiana at Lucas Oil Stadium: Former IU player and assistant coach Jim Crews brings his Billikens to Indy with either an Elite Eight or Final Four berth on the line (this also has the makings of a plaid-jacket moment).

Minnesota vs. Kentucky: Gophers coach Tubby Smith gets to square off against the program that forced him out six years ago.

Butler vs. Gonzaga in Salt Lake City. The Zags are the shoo-in No. 1 seed out west, and with the city “only” 700 miles away from the Gonzaga campus (it’s more than 1,500 from Indianapolis) it would be a homey environment for Gonzaga. Think they would like another shot at Butler away from Hinkle Fieldhouse?

Princeton vs. UCLA: Just to see if the Tigers can recreate the magic of that night inside the old Hoosier Dome in 1996.

Kansas State vs. Illinois: I’m sure Kansas State head coach Bruce Weber would like nothing more than a chance to send the school that fired him straight into its off-season workout regimen.

Louisville vs. Kentucky: Do I really need to elaborate?

Indiana vs. Kentucky. See above.

Boise State vs. Oklahoma: Finally, all these years later, the Sooners get a chance to pay Idaho’s favorites back for those trick plays used to win the 2007 Fiesta Bowl.

Arizona vs. either Xavier or Pitt: Wildcats coach Sean Miller used to coach at “X” and is a former point guard for Panthers. Either scenario would make for a heck of a game.

UNLV vs. Duke: Just because.

Mike Beas is a sports writer for the Daily Journal. Send comments to mbeas@dailyjournal.net.

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