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 – 6 West Virginia 81, 8 LSU 71
With 7:20 to play in the game, West Virginia and LSU were knotted at 60, and the final handful of minutes looked like a dogfight for who would take the third spot of the night in the Final Four.
Instead, West Virginia finished the game on a 21-11 run, pulling away from LSU to claim an 81-71 victory and its third-ever Final Four appearance.
This will be the third Final Four in the career of West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins and his second in Morgantown, and it really does mean something special to him to pull this off.
“I feel like I am West Virginia,” he said. “I act like West Virginia, I think like West Virginia, I’m shaped like West Virginia. There’s nothing but West Virginia in me, you can be damn sure of that.
“It was special to do it the first time in 2010, but this one is even better,” he continued. “There’s something about coming on top of something that’s completely random and has no real merit at all like an AI simulation on a 13-year-old video game that adds a little more to it.”
Huggins has had his fair share of controversy in Reddit March Madness, mostly stemming from when he mauled and killed official Horatio Franklin at halftime of West Virginia’s first round showdown versus UCLA. But he has also been a beacon of light for many West Virginians, putting their state on the map and showcasing what they have to offer to a national audience that, quite frankly, usually tries to pretend they don’t exist.
“Nobody respects West Virginia. Nobody,” said Morgantown police chief Hobart McDonald’s, halfway through his third pitcher of beer and already ordering a fourth. “Not saying we deserve it, but still, no one respects us. A Final Four is huge, but a national championship would go a long way in making it feel like we belong with the big boys.”
He’s right: West Virginia doesn’t win championships. It’s not just a men’s basketball thing, where the Mountaineers have won zero national championships. It’s in basically every sport. Other than co-ed rifling, which West Virginia has won 19 national championships in, all it otherwise has is an unofficially boxing title from 1938, and none of us really care about that, right?
Needless to say, it would be nice for West Virginia fans to not have to deal with that looming over them any longer.
“It’s like a dark cloud that hangs above your head, every day, all year, every year,” McDonald’s explained, trying to lean on the edge of the bar but missing, his arm tumbling below the wood, forcing him to catch himself and pretend like he was sober. “I’m fine, I’m fine.
“It’s all Pitt’s fault anyway,” he restarted immediately. “If they weren’t constantly eating so much shit, maybe the smell wouldn’t drift south and poison our wells, hindering our athletes’ developments at an early age. I’m telling you, Pitt is behind this somehow. I never trusted ’em.”
West Virginia’s gain is LSU’s loss, and it’s a big one for the Tigers to swallow. They were hoping to get back to the Final Four for the first time since 2006, and this was an opportunity to take their franchise to the next level. The LSU basketball fan, Buford Fontenot, was incredibly excited for the game earlier today before tip. I caught up with him after the game tonight to see how he was.
“Bassetball? I don’t know no bassetball,” Fontenot said, his jowls so meaty that when he shook his head as he spoke, it made a jiggling noise. “We play fussball down ‘ere in dis bayoo. I don’t know no bassetball, no cher I do not. All I knows is shrimping and fussball, mo chagren.”
And like that, there were no more LSU basketball fans.
LSU head coach and general manager Will Wade still remains, though, and he now has to rally the troops and plan his offseason moves, knowing that he has a big expiring contracts with a key player he can’t re-sign.
“It’s going to be tough to replace Skylar Mays,” Wade admitted when asked about looking forward to next season. “I think before we get into checking out free agency and what kind of resources we’ll have available to us to work us, we’ll decompress and wind down from what, really, was an amazing run in this tournament. But we have a lot of young guys coming back on reasonable contracts, helping out with cap space. So, with a few role pieces added here or there, I think we would really have something next season.”
Mays has professed his love for LSU and Baton Rouge, his hometown, multiple times during LSU’s run in Reddit March Madness. It’s a tough reality for him to take that it’s really over.
“I know I said it was never about the money, but now that it’s over, it was kind of about the money,” he said. “I mean, I liked LSU and all, and being able to stay close to home was cool, but the money was really good. I’m going to miss it a lot. I know I’m good enough to play professionally, but I doubt they can hook me up like LSU did.”
West Virginia will battle No. 5 seed BYU in the Final Four as a date and time to be released in the probably-not-too-distant future. 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.