The calendar will try to tell you March began 12 days ago. Do not believe its lies.
Numbers? Days? Pssh. March is not measured in such petty contrivances. March does not bend to the laws of the Gregorian calendar. It is not interested in the physical alignment of the Earth's orbit around the sun. March is not a month. March is a state of mind.
And on Friday, March officially arrived.
Two days before the NCAA tournament selection committee reveals the 2016 bracket, the tail end of Champ Week offered up the best, maddest day of the season to date. Fourteen-plus hours of wall-to-wall college basketball action? Check. Upsets? Check. Buzzer-beaters? Check. Wild, unthinkable finishes? Check, check, check.
The first game to check these boxes -- and to hint at the kind of day that was coming -- began at noon ET, at the Big Ten tournament. Michigan, stuck on the bubble and in dire need of a quality win, faced a daunting path toward acquiring it: On Feb. 2, Indiana pummeled Michigan, 80-67. It wasn't even that close. Before the first half was over, Indiana put together a 25-0 run that utterly demoralized U-M. That game was in Ann Arbor. This game would be in Indianapolis, which might as well have been Assembly Hall.
Yet, somehow, Michigan kept it close and got unlikely stops late, and found itself with a chance to win the game at the buzzer. And Kameron Chatman -- who had made seven 3s all season before Friday -- took that chance, burying a contested winning 3 from the corner.
Four hours later, Chatman had already been outdone.
How? Because four hours later, Connecticut and Cincinnati staged the best conference tournament game this sport has seen -- and one of the best games of any kind, frankly -- since Syracuse and Connecticut traded six overtimes at the Big East tournament in 2009. The Huskies and Bearcats would need four to settle their differences. Huskies freshman Jalen Adams handled most of the settling. It was his drive, late in the second OT, that preserved UConn's chance to win it in the third OT. And it was Adams, in that third overtime, who somehow took less than 0.8 seconds to hit a 60-foot bank-shot buzzer-beater to tie the score and send it to a fourth.
Cincinnati had just scrambled for a rebound and kicked it out and made what was supposed to be the winning 3. When Adams' shot went in, the Bearcats threw up their hands. Some seemed close to a smile. By the end of the fourth overtime, they were beat.
Naturally, that would be the last game-winning, half-court heave of the day. Ha! Nope! Er, well, sort of. Also yes?
What we're trying to say is that Buddy Hield made a shot from half court in the final seconds of Oklahoma's Big 12 semifinal matchup with West Virginia. Hield, the putative national player of the year favorite, had thus far submitted his worst scoring night of the season: 1-of-8 from the field, 1-of-6 from 3, six points. But he had a chance to be a hero, with his team down a point and the ball in his hands with the final seconds ticking off the clock. He made it.
"It was like a movie. They have the camera on the main character the whole time," West Virginia's Jevon Carter, who had a front-row seat, said after the game. "Championship game, it's going to be a tough game -- main character makes the last shot. So when he made that I was like, 'Is this possible?' "
The officials reviewed the play. Hield was too late. It was not, in fact, possible.
Of course it wasn't! Seriously? Two half-court buzzer-beaters in the same day? One of them to force a fourth overtime? The other flying through the air just minutes removed from another game that featured a four-point comeback in the final 10 seconds of regulation? (Arizona-Oregon. Oregon won in overtime. Do check the highlights. And not to be outdone, in the second Pac-12 semifinal, Utah's Lorenzo Bonam drove the ball the length of the floor and hit a tying layup to send the Utes to overtime against Cal. The Utes won, 82-78.)
Now you're just being greedy.
Not that it's your fault. If December is your run-of-the-mill, average social media profile, March is Rich Kids of Instagram. It's spoiled, and spoiling.
From here on out, the standards are different. Everything is heightened. Your dopamine receptors are in for an all-out assault, and the best course of action is to wave the white flag, sit back, and soak it all in.
That didn't start 12 days ago. The calendar is lying.
March begins now.