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
Sweet 16 Schedule
Thursday, April 9, 2020
South Regional Semifinal (Houston) – 7 Illinois vs 3 Kentucky (5:30 p.m. EST)
West Regional Semifinal (Phoenix) – 10 Marquette vs 3 Michigan State (7 p.m. EST)
South Regional Semifinal (Houston) – 5 BYU vs 1 Kansas (8:30 p.m. EST)
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West Regional Semifinal (Phoenix) – 4 Oregon vs 1 Gonzaga (10 p.m. EST)
Friday, April 10, 2020
East Regional Semifinal (Charlotte) – 15 North Dakota State vs 3 Seton Hall (5:30 p.m. EST)
Midwest Regional Semifinal (Detroit) – 6 West Virginia vs 2 Villanova (7 p.m. EST)
East Regional Semifinal (Charlotte) – 4 Wisconsin vs 1 Baylor (8:30 p.m. EST)
Midwest Regional Semifinal (Detroit) – 8 LSU vs 5 Butler (10 p.m. EST)
Reddit March Madness Sweet 16 is (Finally) Upon Us
It’s a week late, but not a dollar short, because this is the NCAA, and it’s all about amateurism.
There 16 teams remaining in Reddit March Madness, and the race for the 2020 national championship is taking form. Three of the four No. 1 seeds, Baylor, Gonzaga and Kansas, are still alive, while Dayton has already bit the dust. Below the top seed line, there has plenty of other carnage, with only one No. 2 seed advancing to the Sweet 16 – Villanova – and five of the 16 teams in the regional semifinals are a No. 6 seed or below.
“IT’S A WAR ZONE OUT HERE,” shouted Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo from the inside an active helicopter, camouflage paint and clothing covering his body for safety precautions during the medical supply drop. “NO ONE IS SAFE, NOT EVEN DUKE.
“TRUST NO ONE,” he warned, ominously.
Some made it here easier than others. No. 4 seed Oregon handled No. 13 seed New Mexico State with ease in the first round, 78-68, then slaughtered Akron, 95-74, to survive this far.
“We have been adhering to a strict diet, exercise and sleep regiment,” said Oregon junior guard Chris Duarte in a nondescript military tent laying on his white-sheet bunk, vigilantly. “It’s crucial that us soldiers are healthy and prepared between each battle. Any moment spent inefficiently is a moment that the enemy could be using to surpass you, and the enemy is real, and it is coming, with vengeance and fever and likes of which haven’t been seen on this continent in centuries. They’re coming, by bus and by plane, to our cities, and it’s our job to eliminate them.”
Others have had to struggle hard to make it this far, needing hand-to-hand combat late into the clock to separate themselves from their foes to secure survival. No. 7 seed Illinois has had a couple of close calls, first a last-minute 69-63 pull-away win over No. 10 seed Utah State, then held off No. 2 seed Creighton, 78-72, to still be standing at this point.
“We’ve lost some good men,” said Illinois head coach Bunderwood, referring to senior guard Samson Oladimeji, whom Bunderwood cooked alive and ate in front of his teammates as a motivational tactic earlier in the tournament. “These missions haven’t been easy, they haven’t been nice, but we’ve gotten the job done, and that’s what we plan on continuing to do.”
There have been some strange underdogs to show themselves in this March Madness iteration. Oddly enough, a slumping Marquette has found itself still around this late in the game, and West Virginia, Seton Hall and LSU didn’t have fantastic endings to the season. And yet, here they all are, still playing in mid-April, albeit on a two-dimensional plane.
“Really, I’m as surprised as the rest of you,” said Marquette head coach Mike Wazowski from his secret bunker in an undisclosed location. “My plan through this whole war was to lay low and hope no one noticed me, and that has somehow worked. I did not think my life would look like this right now.”
The clear Cinderella in the field is No. 15 seed North Dakota State, only the second No. 15 seed to ever remain above water by the Sweet 16. The Bison first a huge splash laying No. 2 seed Florida State in waste, 71-64, then won its second battle against No. 7 seed Providence, 97-87, in one of the guttiest late-game performances we’ve seen so far.
North Dakota State head coach David Richman gave an impassioned speech to his team in a huge presentation, arriving on the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier in a fighter jet to deliver his message, a podium in front of him and a Bison-themed banner behind him that read, “MISSION ALMOST ACCOMPLISHED.” Wearing a flight suit and sunglasses while waving around a half-drank bottle of liquor, Richman gave his war cry.
“I want each and every one of you to know that I take your safety and lives very seriously. Some of you are going to die, and that’s something that I have to live with,” he said, putting the bottle to his lips and holding it then for a healthy few seconds, downing gulps full of alcohol. “But that will never stop be from sending you into battle. Never.”
And at that, his team roared, running to their coach and lifting him on their shoulders while he asked them to please be careful because he didn’t want to spill any liquor.
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.