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 Final Four – 5 BYU 97, 6 West Virginia 90
The muggles might be fucked.
With 20.7 seconds to go and the shot clock winding down, Zach Seljaas drained a three from the wing, delivering the final blow to West Virginia hopes and securing BYU’s first-ever national championship game appearance.
His three extended the lead to seven, which would be the same as the final margin: BYU 97, West Virginia 90.
One year ago, the Cougars were searching for a coach to replace a 14-year man. Now, they’re leaps beyond where they’ve ever been.
Head coach Tom Riddle is the man who took over in Provo, and the job he has done with this program is becoming more evident by the game.
“I’m so blessed to be here, at this school, with these guys,” You Know Who said after the game, his presence in the room becoming so strong that slowly, the energy from every living thing within several feet of the coach evaporated, visibly, out of their bodies and into the air. “The goals I’ve set for me, for us, I couldn’t achieve them without their blind, fierce loyalty and willingness to sacrifice for the betterment of our people.
“DEATH TO ALL MUGGLES AND ALL THEIR SYMPATHIZERS!”
Riddle said that at halftime, with his team only 45-41, he gave them a blood-curdling pep talk focused on the inferiority of muggles.
“We are truly at the precipice now,” he said he encouraged his players. “The darkness is near. Soon, the muggles will have no light with which to live, and the darkness shall envelope them. It shall be you who bring the darkness, and you will continue our long path to eventual muggle eradication in the second half.”
The speech worked, resonating with the Cougars as they rallied behind their Dark Lord. Seljass was especially inspired, and he showed it on the court. He earned Player of the Game honors with 24 points on 7-of-14 shooting from the field, plus a 5-of-7 mark from three, and three steals.
But none of it will be more memorable than that triple to seal the deal.
“All us players have taken to calling ourselves the ‘Death Eaters,’ because we’ve been eating the souls of our opponents all tournament long,” Seljaas explained, his jet-black hood covering most of his face as he looked down over the mic. “I could feel that West Virginia was weak at that moment. I wanted to be the one to take the final bit of life out of them. I wanted to make the Dark Lord proud, and I believe I have.”
Seljaas’s teammate, senior guard Draco “TJ Haws” Malfoy, who made the pass to him on that unforgettable shot, was disgruntled that he didn’t get the glory of the moment.
“It was a pretty good pass,” Malfoy said, somewhat annoyed. “No one talks about it, though. It’s all, ‘Oh yeah, Zac made that shot to secure the game,’ and it’s like, sure, I guess, but you know why he was able to do that?”
Malfoy paused, pulling his thumbs out to point them at his chest.
“This guy,” he said, sassily.
Regardless, the shot ended West Virginia’s hopes of ever winning a national championship, because if they can’t even do it in a video game, then, shit, I don’t know. It’s a tough pill to swallow for senior guard Chase Harler, who knows this is entirely his fault.
Yesterday, I broke the stunning news that Chase Harler has collected stamps dating back to his preschool years, living a secret double life until his head coach Bob Huggins found some of his paraphernalia. The story became massive, spreading through social media feeds like wildfire, especially on Reddit, where it received 10 whole upvotes (as of 7:30 p.m. EST on April 18, 2020).
After watching the display from the Mountaineers tonight, it’s clear that the scandal played a role as a distraction.
“Man, fuck Chase,” said West Virginia guard Jordan McCabe, who yesterday said he loved Chase Harler and referred to him as a brother. “Him and his dumbass stamps messed our game up. I don’t wanna see that punk again for the rest of my life. He’s dead to me.”
Huggins, who voiced support for his player yesterday in his time of dire need, acknowledged that Harler’s issues may have had a slight impact.
“Yup, that did us in alright,” Huggins said at the podium, nodding his head along in clear frustration. “Could have won my first national championship. Would have been nice. Been doing this for a long time. You guys know that, right? Been at this a long time. Been here before, even. Twice. Never won the whole thing, though. Could have been this year. Could have been, huh? Could have been…”
Chase Harler did not come out for the post-game press conference like usual, which I found to be strange. I decided to look around for him, but couldn’t find him anywhere. Exhausted, I went into the bathroom to smell the poop of strangers when I was suddenly met by soft sobbing.
“Hello?” I asked into the dark void that is a public bathroom.
The sobbing stopped, but he knew he was caught.
“Go away,” a trembling voice said. “I don’t want to talk to anybody.”
I could hear the distress in his voice. He needed a friend.
“Hey, man, it’s okay,” I said, slowly walking further into the bathroom. “You can talk to me about it. Everyone needs someone to talk to.”
“No, go away,” the voice insisted. “I’m not worth it. I’m not worth anything.”
“Come on, that’s ridiculous,” I said, trying to encourage him, walking deeper in the black-and-white tiled, uncomfortably puddled abyss. “You’re worth plenty. We all are. I promise, I want to hear your story. I want to listen to you.”
I reached the stall I could tell the voice was coming from, and as I got closer, he realized. The door swung open, and out came Chase Harler, his eyes puffy and red from the weeping and his jersey covered in a mixture of too many bodily fluids.
“I’m a stamp collector, Justin,” Chase Harler said, clearly recognizing me as the handsome and charismatic reporter from the press conferences, raising his arms up to his sides and flopping them back down in a show of forfeit. “I’m a fucking stamp collector. That’s who I am, and that’s who I’ll always be.”
That’s when he broke down, collapsing to the tile and losing control again, helping explain why his jersey was so wet.
“They all hate me! I hate me!” he shouted, pulling himself up off the floor and switching from sorrow to furious anger like a hormonal teen. “I’m a freak! LEAVE!”
A bit scared and wholly uncomfortable, I complied, turning and hustling my way out the door I entered.
I reached out to the Harler family again for comment, this time via letter in a show of support for our great U.S Postal Service (support the Postal Service, hooray advocacy journalism). This time they sent back a box full of used diapers with a note reading, “COLLECT THESE!!!” Again, I deserved that.
BYU will play the winner of No. 1 Gonzaga and No. 3 Seton Hall, which is being played right now as I type this, in the national championship Monday at 8:15 p.m. in Atlanta. 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.