Let The Games Begin

Chattanooga ushers in March Madness with overtime buzzer beater to clinch NCAA Tournament berth

If you haven’t checked the calendar in a hot minute, it’s March. Birds are chirping, fairways are melting back into view. Rebirth, renewal, all that crap. Most importantly, however, the Madness™ is upon us, with conference tourneys underway and Selection Sunday barreling toward us like a pissed-off bull. It seems like each year there is a defineable moment—a veritable sounding of trumpets; a cutting of ribbons—that heralds the arrival of college basketball’s craziest fortnight. You never know when it will be or who will deliver it, but this year that honor belonged to the Chattanooga Mocs.

Even ol' Bill Shakespeare would blush at that drama. Down a bucket with 4.3 seconds remaining in overtime of the Southern Conference championship game with a tourney bid on the line, David Jean-Baptiste took the inbounds and drove up court. There was no stop sign from the bench, so he kept going, crossing half court before putting up a prayer from the Ingles Supermarket logo. Against all odds, that prayer was answered.

One small step for Chattanooga. One giant leap for Ingles.

Fans stormed the court (one seemingly in nothing but his underwear). A dog pile quickly formed on top of Jean-Baptiste. Old ladies in Furman purple choked back tears in the stands. It was chaos. NAY, it was madness. Safe to say, if this is just the start, we can’t wait to see how it ends.