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Why I'm picking Maryland to win the NCAA Tournament (and why you should too)

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Andrew's final column for Testudo Times makes an impassioned plea to Terrapin fans.

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Why are you a sports fan?

More importantly, why are you a Maryland fan?

Maryland isn't Duke, they're not Ohio State, they're not the Cardinals, Spurs or Patriots either. To be a fan of an athletics program like Maryland is to know way more often than not that your team isn't going to win the big game. It's just not how the system is set up. It can be a depressing thought and can cause even the diehards to question if it makes sense to bother caring anymore.

Even when the team you root for - like we established, against all rational sense and historic trends - has the dream season, winning 27 games when few expected them to break 20 and finishing second in their new conference when the preseason polls pegged them between eighth and tenth, they still manage to get a rough draw from the committee.

Terp fans across the world tuned in for their first meaningful NCAA Tournament Selection Show in half a decade, and they were rewarded with a big, steaming dump on their heads: a potential match-up with undefeated powerhouse Kentucky in the Sweet 16. Even IF the Terps are able to get by plucky Valparaiso in the first round and either Bobby Hurley's Buffalo (gross) or West Virginia (grosser) in the Round of 32, they'd face a certain end of the road against the 'Cats. The NCAA Tournament Selection Committee had seemingly put a hard cap on Maryland's magical season.

That brings us back to the initial question: why are you a Maryland fan?

And to that, I have an answer.

Because **** you, that's why.

What's the point of all this silly sports fandom if I'm not going to pick the team I root for to pull off one of the great tourney upsets of all time? And if they're going to do that, why not win the whole damn thing? All of us are hoping against hope they're going to do it anyway, and sports are meant to be fun, not serious.

"But what about my Bracket Pool!" You say. "I gave $20 to Frank in HR to fill out this bracket and I'd really like to win!"

**** your $20 and **** your office. Follow me to freedom.

It's time to believe, friends. Believe in Dez and Melo. Believe in Jake and Richaud. Believe in Turge. This isn't some 10 seed that limped into the field and are just happy to be there (looking at you, Hoosiers). Maryland had a hell of a season and I don't know about you, but I'm not going to sit here wait for some "inevitable" end that everyone decided is coming.

So join me, fellow Terps. Pick Maryland to win the national title in your bracket. Be not afraid to follow your heart. Don't listen to the joyless voices trying to suck the fun out of this time of year. Sports are fun, sports are weird and sports can be magical, so why not steer into the skid?

Do you know what luck is? Luck is happenstance that cannot be controlled and, also, the quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts. Maryland having two force-of-nature guards that can beat any college players one-on-one and hit their free throws at the end of games is not luck. And when those guards are eating up Crusaders, Mountaineers (or Bulls) and Harrison after Harrison and the rest of the Wildcats, the world will finally see the light.

When you do finally realize this is the true path, I want you to take a picture or screenshot of your filled out bracket with Maryland as the last men standing and tweet it to me @AndrewEmmer and @TestudoTimes, and if someone tries to explain to you why it's wrong or dumb you just tell them "**** you, I'm a Maryland fan."

emmer bracket

This is my last column for Testudo Times. It's been a great ride writing for this site over the last few years, but real life responsibilities have made it impossible to devote the time necessary to create worthy work. I'll still be around, spewing my overly optimistic rhetoric, and hopefully I can make my voice heard either on the podcast or with the occasional guest column. Thank you for having me and Go Terps.