Hate to admit it, but I did not pay as much attention to day two of the tournament. Once again, I had the games on for roughly three-quarters of the evening. But this time instead of missing the first half of the first game, I skipped the second half of the second game because I was tired and knew the next few days would be long. That seemed like the smart choice with Providence pounding USC at halftime.

Still, I was not entirely surprised when I woke this morning to a couple texts about Providence’s collapse and checked the score the see that USC had closed it out and advanced.

And, despite the winner of the NC Central – UC Davis game being KU’s opponent Friday, I kind of casually watched that game. It was entertaining. Both teams played hard. But, man, were there a lot of airballs, out-of-control drives that ended in turnovers, and general sloppy play. Sometimes teams are 16-seeds for a reason, I guess.

The highlight of the night was helping L fill out her first ever bracket. She told us, while watching the early game, that she didn’t understand what brackets were. So I printed one out and sent her to grab it from the office. When she returned, she shook her head and said, “Yeah, I have no idea what this means.”

So she sat down and I walked her through the basics: 64 teams are divided into four, 16-team regions and the teams are seeded 1–16 based on their regular seasons. You pick winners in the first 32 games, then the second 16 games, and so on. It still didn’t make a ton of sense to her, so I just read off each matchup: “Butler #4 vs. Winthrop #13,” and she made her choice.

She has a few wacky picks, as you might expect. She has Arkansas beating North Carolina, and Northwestern beating Gonzaga. Her Final Four is Baylor, Florida State, Butler, and KU. That seems like the Final Four an eight-year-old who rarely watches college hoops would pick.

She has KU winning it all, so this may be the March she gets to learn about the searing pain that is coming up short in the NCAA tournament. Or, more likely, I’ll be pouting around the house for a few days and she’ll move on with her life like a normal human being.

I’m already getting tired of the Charles Barkley, Samuel L. Jackson, Spike Lee commercials. I imagine there will be a long list of others before the month is done.

I locked in my picks this morning. Each year is a struggle between picking with the heart or emphatically against the heart. I decided to say “Eff it” and went with the heart this year.

Final Four: KU, UNC, Villanova, Arizona, KU beating Villanova in the final.

Despite that, current KU mood: Several times a year I have dreams about basketball. And they’re always frustrating. One I remember from last fall had KU just destroying Kentucky in the first half of the national championship game. And then someone called me and said they had an extra ticket, get down to the arena for the second half. Then the dream did one of those early morning things where you get stuck in a loop and can’t advance it: it took me forever to find my shoes, my car keys, then I had to do something else, etc. etc. etc. and my dream never revealed what happened in the second half. Garbage.

Anyway, lately I’ve been having a series of dreams about the world ending. Like literally. The night after KU lost to Iowa State in early February, I had a dream where a bunch of people and I were walking through the deserted countryside, looking for a big cliff, and then we stared at the sky, waiting for something to come that would signal the end of the world, and we would then leap to our deaths. No idea whether it was an asteroid, Russian missiles, or what.

I’ve had two other dreams about civilization as we know it ending in the past couple weeks. Maybe it’s Trump and his nonsense, maybe it’s just normal mid-life fears about the shortness of life. Or maybe it’s basketball that’s making me have these dreams. And the end of life is a metaphor for KU losing to some shitty team they have no business losing to. That’s totally possible, right? The meaning of the dream, I mean.

Anyway, I’ll be happy when 7:00 pm tomorrow rolls around and KU gets on the court and I can focus my stress a little more. It will be nice to (knock on wood) go to bed Friday evening stressing about Miami or Michigan State rather than the broader, non-specific stress I’m feeling now.

Honestly, sports are terrible.