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 Sweet 16 – 3 Michigan State 92, 10 Marquette 82
For the 11th time under head coach Tom Izzo, Michigan State is in the Elite Eight.
The Spartans trumped Marquette, 92-82, in the Sweet 16 of Reddit March Madness despite a valiant effort from the Golden Eagles. In the end, though, coaching made the difference.
“I was having a panic attack at the end there,” said Marquette head coach Mike Wazowski, still trying to catch his breath in the post-game press conference. “It was getting dangerously close to me having to coach in the Elite Eight. Seriously, me in the Elite Eight. I mean, can you believe it? The Sweet 16 is insane enough.”
Meanwhile, Izzo was as cool as ever on the other side, calmly screaming at Aaron Henry for one of his four turnovers and keeping a cool demeanor during an acrobatic condescending demonstration for Xavier Tillman on how to rebound a basketball. That’s the mark of a great postseason coach.
“It’s all about yelling at your players, but doing it the right way,” Izzo explained. “You gotta do it in a way that makes people laugh. Screaming is fine as long as you’re little and goofy, especially in comparison to your players. That’s the key.”
It has been an incredible ride for Michigan State under Izzo. With another win Monday, the Spartans would secure their ninth Final Four under him and 11th in program history.
“It’s special to be coached by him,” said Cassius Winston, who put up 25 points, 11 assists and four steals in the Sweet 16 triumph. “He helps motivate me every day to want to be a better person than the one I was the day before. He’s always there for me. He’s always there for all of us.
“He’s the apple to my pie, the cherry to my blossom. The toothpaste to my toothbrush, the gutter to my possum. There’s nothing bad you can say, about my dear Coach Izzo, but if it’s beef that you want, I have some veggie orzo.”
Winston didn’t win Player of the Game honors, though. That was reserved for Henry, whose 26 points were a game-high off 11-of-17 shooting from the field. In all, five Spartans scored in double figures, a sign of their unselfish mindsets.
“I like to score, but there is something special about setting up your teammate,” said Henry, who recorded five dimes on the night. “Then you can lord it over them later, saying that they couldn’t have scored if not for how unselfish you were. Those could have been your points if you hadn’t dug down deep in your heart and found it in your to pass them off to your buddy, your pal, your teammate.”
This spells the end of Markus Howard’s Marquette career. The senior put up 20 points and eight assists, but it wasn’t enough to buy him another game and Marquette its first Elite Eight trip since 2013. Howard will leave as one of the most prolific players in Golden Eagles history, and the conclusion of it all had him overwhelmed with emotion.
“I can’t believe it’s really over. It’s really done,” he said, sobbing into his hands and shaking his head. “It’s over. I’m finally done with Wazowski”
He ran out of the room, arming raised above his head in celebration as he shouted for all to hear.
Michigan State will take on the winner of No. 1 seed Gonzaga and No. 4 seed Oregon (Thursday at 10 p.m.) in the Elite Eight. The Spartans next game will be played Monday at 9:45 p.m. EST in Phoenix.
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.