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Ross Murray's Border Report
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Ross Murray
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is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at rossgrantmurray@gmail.com
Posted 3.23.19
Stanstead, Quebec

ROSS MURRAY

My March Madness take (since nobody asked)

March Madness basketball is upon us, and as in recent years, I will not be tuning in to the national college tournament because I have no cable, nor will I be following online because I try to restrict my screen time to hating myself for scrolling through Twitter.

But NCAA basketball finals are without a doubt fantastic sport,and the bracketed format is a great reminder that in this world you are either a full-on success or a complete loser. So even though I won't be watching, here are four of my favourite teams from the total tournament field of 348.

Gazebo College Garbanzos

The Garbanzos have been led for 62 years by Coach Milford "Don't Call Me Millie" Chanchanzki, and there's great hope that this might be the year the 87-year old finally gets a championship along with a new hip. Coach Chanchanzki is known for his unorthodox techniques that involve frequent trips to the men's room while broadcasting instructions over the PA, usually about dribbling. With a first-place finish in the Big Teeth conference, the Garbanzos seem to have translated their perennial confusion into a winning strategy that involves getting the ball into the opponent's basket more times than they let it into their own. They are quarterbacked by 5'15" point guard Derrik Gjames, a fifth-year player who only this season realized he wasn't playing football. Gjames led the conference in assists as well as a rousing singalong of "Cotton-Eyed Joe" that fans are still raving about.

University of East Virginia Conscripts

The Conscripts are enjoying their best season in school history thanks in large part to third-year Beer Bong major Devonn Franks, who leads the team in points, assists, rebounds, deceived girlfriends and essay deadline extensions. The lanky forward has reminded some of a young Kevin Durant, while others have likened him to a frisky Danny Kaye in Hans Christian Anderson, arguably his best film, though many critics note that it lacks the 3-point shooting of Walter Mitty. The Conscripts have capitalized on Franks' talents to effectively implement Coach Ward Postikker's patented 2-1-4 zone offence, which is two players too many but run so quickly that the ball is in the hoop and the extra players off the floor before anyone notices. It will be interesting to see if the team chemistry can last the tournament since Franks has conveniently "misplaced" his wallet every single time they stop at Subway.

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Swampland Tech Flauberts

"The Pugnacious Poets" have been turning heads in the Big 6-Pack this season thanks to consistently crashing the boards, whip-smart passing and smelling really, really good. Honestly, even after 40 minutes of running the floor and gutting it out in the paint, the Flauberts simply smell amazing. It's a kind of leathery, ginger smell with a hint of pine and a soupçon of grape Pez. Fans pack the arena just to get a whiff, and then they'll chant, "Flauberts, Flauberts, don't think twice/Kick their ass, and you smell nice!" Defenders often stop mid-court, transported by scent memory to that time their fathers swept them up into their arms after falling asleep watching "Power Rangers Vs the Demons of Unreasonable Expectations," suddenly realizing that they will likely never again in their young lives feel so secure. Of course, none of this will come through on the televised games, because otherwise this is oneugly bunch of dudes.

Tom Berenger University Monobrows

This is the feel-good story of the tournament. The Monobrows began their season by promising that, with each win, they would adopt a dog from a local pound, a heartwarming publicity stunt that, like the Monobrows' zone defence, wasn't fully thought through. By the time the Monobrows had earned their 20th win of the season, the barking of the dogs from the bench had become completely disruptive and the puddles of drool a hazard to players and officials alike. But then disaster struck when a contamination of the dogs' food dishes caused the animals to became cranky eaters. Rather than turn their backs on the beasts, the Monobrows have used their profile to raise awareness about Irritable Bowl Syndrome. The loyalty between these boys and their dogs has touched fans on both sides of the court. Will the mutt-loving Monobrows advance beyond the first round? Not a chance. They're terrible. So enjoy this story while you can.

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