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Donovan: March Madness hasn't played out like we thought, but we've planned ahead
COMMENTARY

Donovan: March Madness hasn't played out like we thought, but we've planned ahead

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This was important, so we spent hours planning. It was going to be a whirlwind couple of days.

Every detail, every angle that we could think of for our coverage, we did. Then we thought of Plan B through K should anything fall through.

There were meetings and countless emails until we finally thought we were as prepared as we could be.

I’m actually not talking about the coronavirus.

This is about what we thought we’d be preparing for this past week, the NCAA tournament.

I’m the assistant sports editor. This is one of the most important parts of my job — planning. We have to get our story assignments ready and figure out who is covering what, when and where. We had eight busy days worth of coverage.

But first, we needed a little help — and Creighton came through.

If the Bluejays were at least a three seed or better, they’d land a spot in St. Louis for the first two rounds. Not only would interest be high, this was a perfect destination.

It’s a much easier trip for CU fans — and our staff. Not to mention the storylines of returning to St. Louis, site of many Arch Madness triumphs.

The other thing: The St. Louis bracket played Thursday and Saturday. Omaha, also a first- and second-round host, had games Friday and Sunday. Creighton wouldn’t be playing the same day as the games were here.

You aren’t supposed to cheer in the press box, forgive me. It’s just a lot happening on the same days, on our end and for the fans. Splitting those games up lets everyone divide their attention.

(Remember two weeks ago, when stuff like that was our biggest worry?)

Then the plan started to come together when the Jays captured the program’s first Big East title — a shared title, I know — March 7. It felt like I won a championship, too.

Truth is, March Madness is my favorite sporting event. Nothing matches, well, the madness. The first weekend, especially, though it’s extremely hectic in our profession. But we had a plan, it was going to be stressful, but exciting. I love looking at our finished product at the end of the night when I know the hard work it took to get there.

Welp. Best laid plans and all.

Within the span of 24 hours, we lost the NCAA tournament as well as every championship event in winter and spring college sports — including the College World Series. Not to mention postponements of the MLB, NBA and NHL seasons. The other shoe just kept on dropping.

Since then, many people have asked me what The World-Herald is going to do without sports. It’s more like what are we all going to do without sports.

Stick with us, there will still be sports — even without games. In Sunday’s paper, we launched the Still Spinnin’ series, which will chronicle the state’s rich basketball history. Some of the stories and names you’ll know, some you won’t.

Every athlete and coach has a unique story, too. From the senior in college who isn’t sure what to do with his or her final year of eligibility to the junior in high school who was hoping to flash his or her talent to college scouts to the coach who had to tell his or her team the season was canceled.

Yes, we will find stories you wouldn’t normally read if there was spring football. Or the NBA and NHL playoffs were starting. Or the MLB season was opening.

And that’s the plan. For now.