The cruel math of the NCAA tournament is inescapable. By around midnight tonight, one out of every four participants in this tournament will be eliminated. Roughly 24 hours later, a full half of the teams involved will be gone. By the end of the weekend, three out of four teams invited to this greatest of American sporting events will see their seasons end.
It ends so fast, so suddenly. There is almost no warning.
It is so damn heartless -- this silly little tournament. You take 68 of the nation's best college basketball teams and you set things up so that 67 of them will end up miserable.
After spending countless hours in gymnasiums all around the country over the last five months, after hopping on weird flights to cross the country to satisfy the suits at ESPN and fill hours and hours of programming, after years of hard work and endless lonely hours in the driveway and gym, after doing all of this while trying to successfully navigate the terrain of the student-athlete, you arrive here. If you are lucky.
You are sent to a place like Pittsburgh and check in to a downtown hotel with a little meal money. You are placed in a grouping of four teams. Three teams will come home sad, while the fourth will earn the right to play the next weekend, a weekend that is most likely to end in sadness.
This process will occur all over the country.
It is so damn cruel. And amazing. And it starts today.