You’ll have to excuse Nebraskans for terrible bracket performances this year.
See, we’ve been through the lifetime of a first-time driver since the last time Nebraska’s basketball team reached the NCAA tournament. That’s 16 years.
The last time the Huskers played in the tournament, diapers were made of cloth and the only way to get a close shave was to go to the barber.
OK, it hasn’t been that long. But cellular telephones were a luxury that only the likes of Zack Morris could afford. That blond Tom Cruise.
So pardon Nebraskans for pinning their hopes and dreams on the reconciliation of 16-consecutive hopeless springs. It’s not our fault that we didn’t understand Mr. Belding’s call for us to shoot our hopes and dreams had nothing to do with making our picks.
Or anything in the real world, for that matter.
But not only were the Cubs fans of NCAA basketball given a reason to come out of our basements for the first time since Y2K scared us downstairs, we were lured in even further by the Creighton trap.
Yep, our little brother — the one with the good job, the pretty girl, the sweet cars, the cool neck tattoo and the vacation home in the Ozarks (because, you know, the Ozarks are the coolest place in the world to Nebraskans) — was going to be waiting for us in round two (Oops, it’s the third round now). And, if we played our cards (or basketball) right, we’d be able to steal his cars, sweep his pretty girl off her feet and laugh at his stupid neck tattoo.
We never thought they were cool to begin with.
Of course we were going to pick Nebraska to beat Baylor. Asking us not to would’ve been like asking Jem not to be truly outrageous.
Nobody would dare do that.
So we all picked the Huskers, thinking that — despite the ghosts of tournaments past that fueled losses to Pennsylvania and Xavier and one of those stupid New Mexico teams — the idea of a Nebraska-Creighton matchup in the NCAA tournament was not truly outrageous.
Going a step further, even if our brains told us otherwise, how could we pick Nebraska to lose to Creighton? Even if they did meet, and Doug McDermott scored 137 points to lead Creighton to a win, the mirror would have served as a haunting reminder of that our image bears more of a resemblance to Benedict Arnold than Jason Priestley.
Oh, right, it’s not the ’90s anymore. Priestley isn’t America’s heartthrob.
Sixteen years, man, give me a break. I don’t even know what a Justin Bieber is or if I really need Miley Cyrus detection for my computer. I am — we are — stuck.
But after Nebraska beat Creighton and then topped the same Wisconsin team it got past in the season finale to secure a tournament berth, we’d no longer be stuck. We’d be in the Elite Eight — where anything is possible.
But, as Nebraska coach Tim Miles slowly exited the arena following the oddest ejection in the history of Nebraska basketball, we realized our bar was too high. We had forgotten that Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Yep, we got ahead of ourselves. We put Facebook before MySpace. MySpace before Hotmail.
We jumped on Twitter, told the world of our greatness and forgot to use a hashtag. Didn’t even know what hashtags were, most of us thinking they were the cards used by customers at herbal medical outlets in neighboring Colorado.
And here we are now, staring at a bracket was shattered when Nebraska was penciled into the Elite Eight but could still be saved by the fact that Mercer is written into the Sweet 16.
It’s kind of like that new Alanis Morrisette song. What’s that called?
Oh yeah, Ironic. That one.
Yep, kind of like that.
Not really, but kind of.