The third (and final) installation of our “March Madness” series


Kyle Kerwin, Circa 1975

As I tuned into Oregon and Kansas playing Saturday afternoon in Kansas City I was immediately transported back to 1988.  Saturday’s game held at the sold out Sprint Center amounted to what was essentially a home game for the Kansas Jayhawks playing just 40 miles from their campus in Lawrence.  In 1988 my Oklahoma Sooners (where my dad was an assistant coach at the time) had the unfortunate luck of playing the National Championship game in Kansas City at Kemper Arena against Kansas.  The overwhelming pro-KU crowd that night roared in approval as “Danny (Manning) and the Miracles” cut down the nets after beating OU 83-79.  I was at that game that night and I was devastated.  I was mad because I was surrounded by so many Jayhawk fans at a “neutral site,” and I was mad because the better team that season did not win the title.  The better team that night won the title and such is the beauty and also the agony of NCAA basketball in March known as “March Madness.”

So I have to say I was happy to see the Oregon Ducks quiet the raucous KU crowd on that “neutral floor” Saturday afternoon.  I was also happy to see Arkansas’ coach of 24 hours (sorry for reminding you Razorback fans) and family friend Dana Altman, lead his Ducks into the Final Four.  Not that it did my bracket any good.  I didn’t pick them.  I don’t remember the last time I was oh for four in picking Final Four teams, but I was this year.  Too much faith in the west coast teams (thanks for nothing UCLA and Arizona) and Kansas (don’t they do this every year?), and I didn’t see South Carolina coming (not many people did).

In a charity bracket pool (they’re all for charity, right?) we have one person who picked three out of four Final Four teams (shout out to you Joey!).  Nailing three of the four teams is pretty dang good.  Four out of four is nearly impossible.  Out of all the brackets filled out on ESPN’s website (some 18.8 million), only 657 correctly picked all four Final Four teams.  Six hundred fifty-seven!  That is approximately .003 percent or about the same return you’re getting on your money market account or bank CDs that you have at a different financial institution (not at FNBNWA I’m positive!).  If you do have that kind of rate then you need to see one of our “Starting Five” real soon.

Kudos to the Final Four of Oregon, North Carolina, Gonzaga, and the true “Cinderella” of the bunch – South Carolina (only the fifth time a #7 seed has made it to the Final Four).  FNBNWA has it’s own Cinderella in branch manager extraordinaire Deanna Glass (you can find her wearing glass slippers almost every day of the week… just kidding).  Deanna has already won our “Branch Manager challenge.”  We had all five branches fill out brackets with the winning branch winning a free jeans week for their branch.  Deanna Glass (Gonzaga) has wrapped that title up and jeans for a week for her Dixieland branch in downtown Rogers, so be sure to congratulate her when you see her and you might get her contact information so she can help you fill out your bracket next year!

My favorite month of the year is quickly coming to a close.  I hope you did better on your bracket than I did, and I hope we get a really good Final Four this Saturday.  Not sure we can get a better championship game than we had last year (Villanova beating UNC on a buzzer-beater), but those of us that are true fans of this crazy tournament will be tuning in any way to see which team cuts down the nets and has their “one shining moment.

kylekerwinKyle Kerwin, his wife Rebekah, and their daughter Caroline have called NW Arkansas home since 2001.  He is a front runner so you will find him cheering for the Razorbacks, OU Sooners, and OSU Cowboys at various times throughout the year depending upon how they’re doing.  Kyle enjoys playing golf, reading, writing, watching sports, and he and his family are active members of Keypoint Church.  Kyle’s collegiate basketball career at St. Gregory’s College in Shawnee, Oklahoma, and at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah gets better with every passing year as his memory tells him he was way better than he actually was.  

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