MILWAUKEE -- Anyone up for a little outdoor hoops? OK, that would be too much. With four good first-round games on the docket here today, we're already spoiled enough; moving the hoops outdoors would be the sort of positive stimuli overload usually reserved for David Foster Wallace novels. But it is that nice outside today. If we really wanted to, we could move these games to a park down the street from the Bradley Center, and life would be, all things considered, just about perfect.
The walk from the media hotel to the Bradley Center isn't more than a block, but already I've seen the following things this morning:
A surprisingly large number of Oakland fans lustily cheering "O-Who? O-U!" at no one in particular.
The Pitt band warming up outside the team bus in front of a crowd of onlookers and camera-ready Pitt fans, drilling a few pertinent bars of today's repertoire in front of a clearly nervous conductor.
A guy wearing Indiana gear from head to toe. No, IU isn't playing today. That guy's just really dedicated, I guess.
LOTS of people wearing Wisconsin stuff. This is slightly easier to explain.
Virtually no one wearing Marquette gear. Also easy to explain.
The most polite ticket scalpers of all-time. "Who needs tickets? No? OK then! Have a great day!"
Lots of handsome, pepper-haired middle-aged men wearing tidy gray Xavier vests, loafers, and jeans, apparently the prevailing style among the Cincinnati faithful.
The aforementioned beautiful day -- brisk, calm, sunny, the sort of day we Midwesterners spend all winter dreaming about. Those of you in year-round warm climates got nothing on that first beautiful spring day. There's nothing quite like it.
And there's nothing quite like the NCAA tournament. We're about ready to tip off here in Milwaukee -- first up is No. 6 Xavier and No. 11 Minnesota, out of the West bracket, a game which should be a lot closer than the seeds. Get the day's full preview here. I'll be posting thoughts and recaps all day, so check back often. I'll also be dropping by our live chat from time to time. You should too.
Here's to a Friday half as good as Thursday, eh?