March Madness and Basketball Fever Strikes

Can Nuggets Repeat as World Champs?

Trevor Phipps


Recently I read an article from a Denver news source saying that the Denver Broncos are close to losing their long-lived title of being Denver’s favorite pro sports team.

With no quarterback and less than stellar off-season, Colorado sports fans are slowly shifting to other teams who they can stand behind.


And let’s face it, without Russell Wilson or the Broncos having any sort of big name to cheer or pick on, the team could lose its popularity. And with Nathan McKinnon killing it for the Avs and Nikola Jokic with the Nuggets basically changing the game of basketball, who really needs the Broncos?


But since the Broncos just seem to keep disappointing everyone, many Colorado sports fans chose to forget about them for now and change their focus to basketball like the rest of the country does in March. During most of March, fans everywhere have their brackets filled out and they spent their down time watching the tourney closely with a cold one in hand.


Now that the tournament is winding to a close, Colorado basketball fans still have a few things to be happy about.


March Madness Action Hits Home


Every year when March hits the calendar it seems like Colorado teams are left out of discussion because they have often already been eliminated. But this year, Colorado college basketball fans got to join in on the March Madness festivities and watch their teams in probably one of the most exciting postseason displays in early stages of the tournament.


It seems like since the beginning of the season sports casters across the state have been talking all about the Colorado State Rams. The team came out swinging in the beginning of the season and they stayed high in the ranks.


With their 25-9 finish, the Rams fared well enough to make it to the big tournament. Even though they failed to make number one in the Mountain West after falling to New Mexico 61-74 in the semifinals, the Rams squeaked their way into the First Four.


During their first match, the Rams hit the road east to battle Virginia in a match that many though would be better than it was. The disappointing game that was televised national, had basketball fans everywhere chucking beer cans at their television sets after the Rams destroyed Virginia 67-42.


But then the hype came to a screeching halt when the team played Texas. The team was eliminated from March Madness action during the first round after they fell to Texas 56-44.


For CU fans, the Buffaloes also had their chance to prove themselves in the big tourney. The Buffs finished their season 24-10 which was enough to earn them third place in the Pac-12.


The Buffs dominated Utah and Washington State in the Pac-12 Tournament before losing to Oregon 75-68. But the Buffs qualified for a match in the First Four where they beat Boise State 60-53.


The Buffs celebrated the first time since the 1950s where they won two games in the same tournament. However, once the Buffs made it to the Round of 32 they were beat by Marquette 81-77 ending their season.


The Colorado women’s team actually fared the best out of the college hoopsters in Colorado as their 86-72 win over Drake and their 63-50 victory over Kansas State earned them a game in the Sweet Sixteen.


Nuggets Still Fighting to Earn Respect of “Sir Charles”


Earlier this month former basketball pro and commentator Charles Barkley, dubbed “Sir Charles” by his broadcasting peeers, went viral for criticizing the Nuggets franchise for not going to the White House for a visit to congratulate them on winning the championship last season. “You should always go whether you like the president or not,” Barkley quipped.


But in my mind, the Nuggets had a good reason to play hooky on the presidential visit and it had absolutely nothing to do with whether they like the current POTUS. The real story is that the White House rescheduled the team’s visit to March 18 which was a date that was stuck right in the middle of two big games.


The Nuggets had a huge game against Dallas Mavericks on the 17th and then they played the Minnesota Timberwolves on the 19th making the 18th a hard time to be freed up. And to make it worse, the Nuggets/Timberwolves matchup at the time meant that the winner would have the number one seed.


The Nuggets dropped a close one on the 17th to the Mavericks 107-105, but then they came back and upset the Timberwolves in the final seconds 115-112. I’m glad the Nuggets made the decision to skip the White House visit because it seemed to have paid off.


However, even though the Nuggets overcame the T-Wolves they still did not quite get up to the number one seed in the Western Conference. The Oklahoma Thunder jumped up in the ranks and are now just barely ahead of the Nugs by one game.


But regardless of their ranks, Nuggets fans still seem to have their eye on the game and their fingers crossed to see what the team can do in the second half of the regular season. In fact, sports writers everywhere have been impressed by the team especially by their star Nikola Jokic.


Writers and fans seemed to be extra-intrigued by the Joker probably due to the fact the basketball star is shrouded in mystery. Jokic famously doesn’t talk to any press and he will only give comments during post-game press conferences because he is forced to.


Whatever the case may be, Jokic has changed the game of basketball while exhibiting an unusual style of play that defenders have trouble stopping. Maybe it’s due to the style of B-Ball he learned in Serbia or maybe his team is just able to help him make magic happen.


Anyhow, Nuggets fans are watching him and the rest of the team closely to see if they have what it takes to be repeat national champions after never winning an NBA Finals until last season.