Have you heard the news? The Ohio State Buckeyes are now officially* the 2019-20 NCAA men’s basketball national champions!!
*not at all officially
On Tuesday, in lieu of the actual men’s basketball tournament — which we all know was canceled due to the need for social distancing amid the COVID-19 pandemic — The Washington Post’s Neil Greenberg ran a simulated March Madness via a collection of advanced analytics and statistics.
Chris Holtmann’s Buckeyes started as the fifth seed in the Midwest region and beat Yale and Oregon in the tournament’s opening weekend, then eliminated Kansas in the Sweet 16, and finally beat the Michigan State Spartans to advance to the Final Four, avenging their not very nice, regular season-ending, 80-69 defeat at the Breslin Center in early March.
From there, OSU avenged the program’s 2014 second round loss to in-state little brother the Dayton Flyers by knocking off the East region’s top-seeded squad by a score of 80-64.
After No. 1 Baylor defeated the Big Ten’s Maryland Terrapins 72-58 in the other national semifinal, the Buckeyes squared up against the Bears for the national title. According to Greenberg’s simulations, the Buckeyes pulled out a close victory, ending the season with a nice 74-69 win.
Now, these types of fantasy national championships are fun, but we realize that they don’t actually mean anything in the real world.. or do they? The official OSU men’s basketball Twitter account is already talking about hanging a (simulated) banner:
So, if you ask me (which you kind of did by opening this article) if Gene Smith and the university know what’s good for them, they should embrace this with as much earnest sincerity as they can muster without completely breaking like Jimmy Fallon in any “Saturday Night Live” skit.
The Washington Post is one of the bluest of blue blood publications in the country, so if it’s good enough for them, why shouldn’t it be good enough for the 2020-21 Ohio State men’s basketball media guide?
If this isn't in the media guide next season, everyone in the SID's office needs to be fired! https://t.co/rkFoFYuf5T— Land-Grant Holy Land (@Landgrant33) March 17, 2020
And let’s not act like there isn’t precedent for this? Remember when the incredibly well-known and legendarily venerated (checks notes) Colley Matrix selected the UCF Knights as the 2017 college football national champions?
The school had a parade, hung a banner, gave out rings, and celebrated for the entire 2018 season, which they absolutely should have. Hell, I even bought into the hype on this here very website multiple times:
And, trust me, I beat that joke into the ground, and y’all did not like it:
But, in the incredibly sage and insightful words of Icona Pop (feat. Charli XCX), “I don’t care, I love it. I don’t care.”
So, if you thought I was annoying when it came to acknowledging UCF’s fake national title, to paraphrase another great group in the annals of popular music, “B-b-b-babies, you just ain’t seen n-n-nothin’ yet.”
So, get ready folks, because whether you like it or not, from henceforth to the completion of the 2020-21 men’s college basketball season, I will exclusively be referring to Holtmann’s team as the defending national champions; after all, they’ve earned it, and our robot overlords are not to be contradicted.
Also, how anyone who voluntarily follows our Twitter account takes our comments on these types of things seriously, and can’t see the (admittedly not-very-funny) joke, is a bit mind-boggling.