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Everlasting Joy - Up close with the madness
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I used to go to yard sales as a kid. More correctly, my parents would drag me to yard sales, usually at a time most people spend sleeping.

I remember as a young lad, maybe 10 or 11, playing with a ball at one of these yard sales while my folks rummaged through junk. My dad noticed I’d taken a fancy to this ball so he walked over to the lady and asked how much she wanted for it.

“It’s a quarter,” the lady said.

My dad replied, “Well, would you take a dime?”

Some 35 years later, that exchange has stuck with me and it might be the reason I’m not much for haggling. I know there are people who just love to haggle over price, but I’ve never found it enjoyable.

My haggling skills may not be refined, but I’m pleased to say I was able to bargain with a ticket scalper in Nashville on Sunday to land four prime tickets to the March Madness NCAA basketball tournament. Believe it or not, we didn’t even know who was playing when piled in the car and made the drive, but we were delighted by two of the best basketball games I’ve ever watched.

In the first game, No. 2 seed Cincinnati was toppled by No. 7 seed Nevada in a last-second thriller, 75-73. Cincinnati built a remarkable, 22-point lead with 11 minutes to play, only to collapse down the stretch.

Just as we agreed game two could never match that excitement, we were treated to a bodies-on-the-floor slugfest between No. 1 seed Xavier and No. 9 seed Florida State. Xavier built a 12-point lead, highlighted by a thunderous Quintin Goodin dunk, only to see a physically imposing Florida State team rally to win, 75-70.

So what’s in store for a tournament with arguably the most upsets in March Madness history? Villanova and Duke are looking awfully powerful as neither team was challenged in the first two rounds. Duke looked ridiculous in its second-round matchup against Rhode Island, scoring seemingly all its points on dunks.

The real intrigue lies in the South where No. 5 Kentucky is the highest seed remaining. Yes, this is the region where the Tennessee Vols choked when their road to the Final Four may have never been easier. Based on Nevada’s performance against a very good Cincinnati squad, I think the Wolf Pack can win this region.

This tournament has packed plenty of excitement, but I was disappointed to hear March Madness won’t be returning to Nashville for at least another five years due to a Bridgestone Arena commitment with the SEC Tournament. That’s a case of March Sadness.