I woke up yesterday morning with a distinct feeling in the pit of my stomach — Selection Sunday, one of my favorite sports days of the year, was going to be a sad, depressing state of affairs this season, especially after the excitement of the viewing party at Crisler Arena last year.

I knew I was going to hate watching all the conference championship games, stewing about the Wolverines’ dismal 15-win season, which ended in just about the worst way possible. I knew I was going to hate John Wall, Evan Turner and other teams’ go-to players in the wake of Manny Harris’s less-than-stellar season.

And I knew that the actual show, watching the teams celebrate tourney berths, was going to make me nauseated.

But you know what? I enjoyed myself. Just because Michigan made the tournament once doesn’t mean I forgot what it was like not to have a direct rooting interest in the field.

It wasn’t hard to get over the grieving process after Turner’s ridiculous shot, because I’ve hit the seven signs throughout the regular season:

Shock-Denial

This stage came rather early. Do you remember that terrible three-game stretch when Michigan took its first serious NCAA Tournament blow? Losses to Marquette, Alabama, and Boston College — only one of which made the tournament — and I was ready to deny.

Of course Michigan is going to make the tournament, I told myself. The shooters have to hit their strides and the Wolverines will roll through the Big Ten.

Pain-Guilt

Losing to Northwestern at home. I don’t want to talk about it any more than that.

Anger-Bargaining

A court-rush-inducing win over No. 15 Connecticut. Okay. It took some time but the final push is here, and it’s going to be a hell of a second-half run.

Depression-Loneliness

The Michigan State loss a week later. As any of the dozens of Sparty fans who saw my very, very sad cameo on ESPN and texted me to rub it in can attest, I was definitely depressed that night.

Upward Turn

Consecutive road wins at Minnesota and Iowa, and even though the season’s almost over, I’m at least feeling okay about it.

Reconstruction

I had no hopes of a Big Ten Tourney title — just try hard, guys.

Acceptance

Season’s over. On to the next one.

So now I can really enjoy the coming weeks, though I didn’t think I could before.

I’m loving that Pat Forde is picking Baylor to be in the Final Four — even though former Michigan standout Ekpe Udoh is lighting up the scoreboard for the Bears.

I actually feel worse for Virginia Tech than Michigan (how could you not? The Hokies had a better record than Wake Forest and Georgia Tech, and beat them head-to-head but still got shafted in favor of both teams).

And I’ve even moved into that regional love, where I’m rooting for teams like Michigan State and Minnesota. Although I still can’t bring myself to side with the Buckeyes.

When all was said and done and Dickie V’s last words were said, I felt good at the end of the day. March Madness is in full swing, I’ve already gone through too many matchup scenarios in my head and picked my favorite mascots in those few early-round games that are too close to call.

Michigan or no Michigan, it’s still March.

— Reid doesn’t know if he’s more excited for the NCAA Tournament or IM Broomball. He can be reached at andyreid@umich.edu

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.