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Young Alumni Triumph in “March Madness” Tourney

By Gabe Zinn ’15 on March 14, 2014 12:15 PM

Alumni dominated Reed’s annual March Madness basketball tournament last week as Just Blasé (composed of younger alumni) edged out the Has-Beens (older students) 30-26 in a hard-fought final match.

Now in its 26th year, the madcap single-elimination tournament features eight teams, composed of students, alumni, professors, and staff. Some players show considerable skill, others haven’t touched a ball in years. It’s not uncommon to see teams fielded by dorms, academic departments, the Ultimate Frisbee team, or the rugby team. The combination of wildly different levels of talent makes for exciting games, which progress from fun and sloppy to tense and skilled as the tournament moves into its final rounds.

There are some unique rules, too, that add elements of unpredictability to March Madness, including a running game clock, meaning that play is never stopped during the 12-minute halves, and the three-foul-limit per player, which requires any player who commits three fouls to leave the game immediately. This can cause teams to have to play with less than five players, if too many of their players foul out.

This year’s tournament featured three student teams: Kookies and Kareem, the Hot Boyz, and Flatball (the Frisbee team in disguise). There were also two alumni teams: House Daddies and Just Blasé; and a faculty-staff miasma, the T-Birds. In addition, Reed’s student basketball team was split into younger and older factions, the Up-and-Comers and the Has-Beens.

In the first round, the Has-Beens totalled the T-Birds 43-25, the House Daddies scolded the Hot Boyz 33-17, the Up-And-Comers munched on the Kookies 20-12, and Just Blasé spun Flatball 41-12—an unusually lopsided result considering that the Frisbee squad may have been the team with the best physical conditioning.

In the second round, Just Blasé hit the Up-and-Comers with several three-pointers early on, and held a comfortable lead to win the game 33-23. Meanwhile, the Has-Beens lost a player in the second half to foul trouble, leaving them with only four players, but still managed to trounce the House Daddies 34-31.

The final round was a tense matchup between Just Blasé and the Has-Beens. The Has-Beens once again lost a player to foul trouble, this time in the first half, but Just Blasé magnanimously voted to allow the player another foul, keeping the teams at an even five on five. Just Blasé went on to win what proved to be a nail-biter, 30-26, making them the champions for the second year in a row.

As per tradition, many players met up at a local pub after the tournament, to celebrate victory, cast doubt on the visual acuity of the officials, or simply drown their sorrows.