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March Madness? My Pick Is Coastal North Dakota

By now March Madness is half over and though deadlines force me to write this column before the very first tip-off of the initial game I am convinced that my tournament pick is progressing nicely to the Final Four.

There is no way that Coastal North Dakota State University at Fargo and Bismarck can fail to live the dream this year on The Road to Houston.

The CNDSU@F&B Beachcombing Beagles are undoubtedly thrashing such also-rans as Ohio State and Duke with a vigor that can only be imagined.

Of this I am certain.

I am imagining it now and I must candidly admit the sight is impressive to a degree I can barely describe. An historic event.

The Beachcombing Beagles have never been selected to compete in the NCAA Tournament and there are some who doubt their presence in the tournament now.

Obviously, I am not among them.

My bracket has those effervescent Beachcombing Beagles busting out all over.

You can't keep a good team down and any university called Coastal anything in North Dakota must be driven by enough power of positive thinking to send a man to the moon. North Dakota, I have verified, is a land-locked state. A state land-locked, in fact, between two countries-Canada and the U.S.A.

To that utopian vision add the pure chutzpah to nickname Coastal North Dakota's team the Beachcombing Beagles in a state with an average winter temperature equal to that found on the dark side of Saturn's furthest ring.

Indeed, CNDSU@F&B was initially founded on the furthest ring of Saturn but scheduling basketball games was problematic and enrollment flattened out in the late 1920s, hence the move to F&B, or Fargo and Bismarck.

Coach K can only drool with envy. In fact, he may be whistled for double drooling.

I am also impressed by Coastal North Dakota State University's ability to be located in both Fargo and Bismarck simultaneously.

The ability to play both offense and defense, dribble with both hands, and run with their left and right legs working in conjunction with one another, necessarily follows.

Class tells.

March Madness lives and the Beachcombing Beagles are forensic evidence supporting that declaration. Just look at their mascot, which resembles something ordered after midnight from a Jimmy Buffet website.

Most of my colleagues made the obvious picks here in the office as the brackets were filled out.

Not me.

I nearly picked UTSA/Alabama State, not realizing those were actually two different teams who had to win their play-in game against one another to see who advanced to face Ohio State.

But then my eyes fell upon CNDSU@F&B and Cinderella began twinkling her toes in the glass slipper.

Now, it is true that cheering for Coastal North Dakota State University at Fargo and Bismarck is more difficult than rooting for the North Carolina Tar Heels, whose fans can divide up 50-50, one set chanting “Tar” and the rest chiming in “Heels” over and over again as they lose to Duke.

And even up in Charlottesville, the fans and cheerleaders have a straightforward “U-V-A!” cheer.

Try dividing up the fans in your gymnasium in enough sections to chant C-N-D-S-U-@-F-&-B one after another-that's nine cheering groups.

Such technical skill would be worthy of NASA.

Perfect.

The Road to Houston is set.

Houston, these Beagles have landed.