The annual pleasures of Selection Sunday, which marks the formal beginning of March Madness, were diminished this year by every basketball commentator from sea to shining sea rattling on about this, that, or the other team’s “body of work.”
Excuse me: We’re talking about college basketball here. A “body of work” is what Rembrandt created over decades. A “body of work” is what Justice Antonin Scalia is creating at the moment. A “body of work” is what the late John Updike produced. A “body of work” is not what the University of Memphis Tigers managed to accomplish in thirty-four games this season.
The emergence of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament as one of the three biggest sports events in America speaks for itself. It’s all fun all the time, and not infrequently full of drama — something that can’t be said for the endless NBA playoffs. Talking heads — and particularly ex-jock talking heads — don’t need to tart things up during March Madness by using phrases that suggest that the games are more than, well, games. In a culture with a proper appreciation of sport, that would be more than enough.