Friday, March 22, 2013

NCAA March Geography Madness

by Bill Holmes

It is no wonder our children are confused about geography. Every year about this time the NCAA releases the brackets for the NCAA Basketball Tournaments. I will be concentrating on the men's tournament but the women are just as guilty of this travesty against US geography.

The NCAA Division I Tournament is made up of 68 teams from colleges and universities all over the country. These teams play a single elimination format until a champion is determined. The teams make the tournament based on their regular season records or conference tournament results. These teams are seeded and placed into a bracket which shows the team pairings and locations for the games. Because there are so many games, as many as 16 per day in the round of 64, several locations are used. The four main divisions of the bracket are called regions and it is here where the devious plot begins. A plot obviously designed to undermine every geography expert, teacher, professor, author and mapmaker. Let us examine this plot in depth.
Partial 2013 Bracket
The bracket regions are named East, West, South and Midwest. I have no idea what North did to piss off the NCAA. Maybe Midwest has a better marketing department. The names are innocent enough, you just divide the country into four sections based on physical location and population. If a university or college is in that region that's the section of the bracket they play in. Perfectly logical right? Au contraire Mr. or Ms. Geography. That would be too simple.

Let me give you a few examples of this debacle. The number one seed in the South is the University of Kansas and number one in the East is the University of Illinois. The four locations for the first two rounds of the South region are Kansas City; Auburn Hills, MI; Austin, TX; Philadelphia. Four of our most famous old south cities, steeped in southern charm and tradition. Those four cities are also used for first round games in other regions. Austin in the East, Philadelphia and Auburn Hills in the Midwest and Kansas City in the West. Confused yet? There's plenty more. Pittsburgh, Southern, Mississippi, Wisconsin, Kansas St., Harvard, Notre Dame, Iowa St. and Ohio St are playing in the West region. In the meantime UNLV, California, Montana, Colorado and Pacific are in the East. It goes on and on with teams and game venues in the wrong geographical locations but I think you get the point. If you don't then the NCAA has already succeeded in their plan to eliminate all geographical accuracy and knowledge.

This is even worse when you consider that this mangling of geography is being done by the NCAA, the National COLLEGIATE Athletic Association. An organization composed of our institutions of higher learning. An organization that supposedly has many college educated people, some of who probably passed a geography course or two. Even if there are no geography experts working in the NCAA it would seem that they would have access to a few at there member institutions.

That being said I can only assume that it is a devious plot to confuse the public, undermine geography teachers, keep our children uneducated and ultimately destroy our country. We have already seen evidence of the results of this plot. Those who programmed the Apple Maps app are proof our young people don't know where they are or how to get where they want to go.

I demand that we change the region names to something geographically neutral. Some suggestions might be colors like red, white, blue and green. How about named after famous basketball people like John Wooden, James Naismith, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Lew Alcindor) or Michael Jordan. Please, don't suggest coach Mike Krzyzewski, nobody could ever spell or pronounce the region name. There are hundreds of other possibilities, let your imagination run wild.

So it is incumbent on those of us who know that Harvard is not in the West to correct this situation. Do whatever is necessary to get this changed before the 2014 tournament. Start a petition, contract congress and the president, send a donation to The American Geographical Society, picket the games. Get out there and support the return of responsible geography and save our country. Stop the March Geographical Madness.


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