The whole international pandemic thing that’s going down forced the 2020 March Madness to be cancelled. Or so you thought.
The NCAA is skipping this year’s tournament at all levels, but /r/CollegeBasketball has sponsored its own alternative Men’s Division I tournament: Reddit March Madness. Streamed exclusively on YouTube and executed with a college basketball video game from almost 15 years ago, this year’s March Madness is sure to be unpredictable and full of really dumb turnovers.
Nothing But Nylon is providing the exclusive* coverage of the event from the bedroom of our headquarters. Don’t miss any of the real* quotes and bone-breaking analysis that you’ll only find here because of how exclusive* this content is.
* = this means you can’t sue me
Reddit March Madness Elite Eight – 5 BYU 96, 3 Kentucky 86
For the first time ever, BYU can say it has been to the Final Four.
The Cougars outlasted Kentucky, 96-86, in the South Regional Final in Houston, accomplishing something no Provo team before it had.
“Our kind has never been this far before,” said BYU head coach Tom Riddle with a twinkle in his deathly cold eyes. “Nothing can stop me. Nothing can contain me. My power only continues to grow. I have already claimed the South as mine, and soon the whole country will be under my control. Then we can rid this nation of muggles once and for all. I am calling for all wizards to stand up and bring an end to the muggle tyranny. DEATH TO ALL MUGGLES!”
BYU guard Zac Seljaas was named Player of the Game, scoring 25 points on 8-of-18 shooting from the field, a perfect 6-of-6 from the free-throw line, and four rebounds and three assists to boot. He was prepared to ride on some muggles immediately after the game.
“Let me go get some. I feel ready,” he said he asked Riddle in the locker room. “He told me to wait, it wasn’t time for us to unleash our entire plan yet. But just wait. It’ll come.”
Interestingly, this game tipped off earlier than previously expected. It was supposed to start at 7 p.m. EST, but at some point Monday, it was flipped with the Baylor-Seton Hall showdown in the East Regional Final, taking the early 5:30 p.m. EST slot instead.
This would normally be ignored as nothing, but this is not the first time BYU has been in the middle of a last-minute scheduling change, and rumors have swirled that Riddle and the Cougars had something to do with the first one, which caused a week delay following a scratched disc.
I met with Deep Stroke after the game, and he told me Riddle instigate this change, too.
“Oh, he’s behind it alright,” Deep Stroke confirmed. “There were discussions about it in the office, and if there is a tape of that conversation, then it’s a smoking gun. I will try to get my hands on it.”
That is only one side of the story, though. For all the elation and controversy on the winning side, there is just as much anger and controversy on the losing side.
With the defeat, Kentucky has now fallen in the Elite Eight three times in the last four years, with 2020 joining 2017 and 2019 as almost Final Four appearances. Most schools would be thrilled with that kind of production in the postseason, but not Big Blue Nation.
“I said Final Four or never more for John Calipoopi before the doggone game, and my mind ain’t changed,” tweeted card-carrying Big Blue Nation member Peevis Moon from his handle @UKWildcatzFan1972. “That was pathetic! Never seen UK play worse! I’m done with Calipoopi the Fraud!”
#Calipoopi was trending in Kentucky in the final minutes of the game and after the loss, and it seems pressure is mounting from Wildcats fans who demand better than perfection. Unfortunately for them, Kentucky athletics has put its full confidence behind Calipari, and the coach couldn’t care less about what anyone thinks of him.
“Calipoopi has a nice ring to it,” Calipari said after the game, chuckling. “I think I might adopt it myself.”
The rage from Big Blue Nation continued on despite Calipari’s dismissal, though not all the anger was directed at the coach. Plenty of it was sent the way of the officials, who have somehow always had a massive conspiracy keeping Kentucky basketball down while simultaneously doing a terrible job of it because the Wildcats are arguably the most successful program of all time. Regardless, Big Blue Nation needed a scapegoat.
“The rooferies did this!” @BBNPrincess91 tweeted. “No way we loose to byu in a fair one!”
“They can’t keep getting away with this,” @TuckyTedHoops tweeted. “College Hoops 2K8 has to do something about the officiating. At this point, it’s getting out of hand.”
“Ref suck,” tweeted @ukbballfan2001. “UK got robbed.”
While the protests began in Lexington, the marriages have boomed in Provo. As warned if the Cougars won, the number of people filing for marriage in the city that houses BYU has spiked by nearly 300 percent since the final horn sounded.
Mormon priests have been shipped in by the boatloads, and it’s a good thing Provo acted with such foresight.
“It would have been a dark day in this city if we had been proactive rather than reactive,” said Provo Mayor Joseph Smith. “I’m proud to say that we have the proper accommodations for the number of marriages we expect to host, and I look forward to all the happy couples celebrating a national championship soon.”
The happiest of all, perhaps, is 8-year-old BYU fan Ammon Bluth, whose parents told him that if the Cougars went to the Final Four, then God was listening to his prayers. They told him that after BYU knocked off Vermont in the second round. He is now a forever believer.
“God really does listen to me and answer my prayers,” Bluth said, unbelievably relieved that his worldview had been substantiated by amateur basketball players in a simulated video game. “Now I’m certain he will solve world peace and hunger! And I’m gonna get all the toys I want on Christmas! Santa probably works the same way, right?”
I didn’t know what to tell the kid, so I said nothing and walked away.
BYU will play the winner of No. 6 seed West Virginia and No. 8 seed LSU in the Midwest Regional Final (Monday at 8:15 p.m. EST). Be sure to follow along with Nothing But Nylon’s comprehensively exclusive* coverage of the 2020 Reddit March Madness.
Part of the proceeds from the sale of each #RedditMarchMadness t-shirt will go toward helping those in the basketball community affected by COVID-19. We will be partnering with non-profits like the Give and Go Foundation on the effort. If you know of a worthy group that could use some extra funds, please reach out.