Beware the Ides of March. Still solid advice even in the post-Roman era. Modernly, beware the madness of March. An easy ask for TCU faithful who are just plain pissed about how the season collapsed.
I promise I’m not going to wax bracketology right now. Even better, we’ll probably refrain from discussing bouncy ball for a solid six months. But whatever you do, ignore the tourney-bound alumni and their adopted clingers. Tournament participants will spend the next few days beating their collective chests about their prominence, or how their seeding is unfair, or how well they performed in whatever competitive expression they cherry pick. “At least we made the tournament” will become common vernacular after they’re beaten in the first round by a hot-shooting automatic bid from a conference we were all ignorant of just days before.
The Big 12 conference, collectively, dominated in basketball this year. Seven squads reached the dance, and I wish them well, even though they’re unlikely to win. If my well wishing sounds half-assed that’s because it is. If you sense I’m simply stomping sour grapes, you’re free to email me and claim your gold star for dissecting my pessimism with such ease. Whoever said freshmen psychology was a waste?
Yet I’m actually peddling staunch realism. Our conference and its previous iterations have snipped the nets after the final game only twice in the last 33 years, and both times it was Kansas. Spoiler alert: That won’t be happening for the Jayhawks this year. Baylor fans are so excited right now I’ve heard rumors Waco overpasses will be missing their typical Planned Parenthood protesters during game time. That said, the Bears still managed to biff the conference tournament against Oklahoma State — a team our fledgling Frogs swept this year — so there’s that.
The best course of action is refusing to engage with any of the trolling that I’m confident is already widespread among fanbases gearing up to avoid their bosses to watch inconveniently slated early-round games. Reminding tournament trolls that their schools suck at football is and will always be a solid retort, unless of course they’re Sooners.
In more relevant sports news, the ladies of TCU’s rifle team have returned from the campus of “That Ohio State University” and completed their season as a national champion but not the type they had hoped for. Our Frogs led all teams after the Air Rifle competition on Day 2 but finished overall runner-up to the new national champions from the University of Kentucky. I warned previously that the Wildcats had been shooting a consistently high average and the Frogs would need a standout performance to defend their title and top ranking. Unfortunately, the proof was in the bullseye last weekend. As discussed, the margins of scoring in Collegiate Rifle are microscopic — so much so that shots are scored by computer — and the championships were no exception. Smallbore, which was held last Friday, was won by Kentucky with a team score of 2,352. The Frogs logged the second-best finish and trailed by a mere 10 points. Along with team competitions, shooters can advance to individual finals. Danish Frog Stephanie Grundsoee — who punched headlines with only the 11th ever perfect Air Rifle round in the sport’s history earlier this year — advanced to finish as the second-best individual Smallbore shooter in the nation. Despite their silver as a team in Smallbore, the Frogs trailed by only 10 points overall to begin the Air Rifle portion on Saturday. Our ladies were literally and figuratively behind the bullet. Grundsoee, as she has previously this season, dazzled by shooting the match best of 598 (two points shy of a perfect score). Sadly, as a team, TCU eclipsed UK by only one point — 2,380 over 2,379 — in an astonishingly tight faceoff between two superior teams. The Wildcats’ first-day total cushioned them enough to secure Kentucky’s third national title and topple TCU.