Eight teams win and advance. Eight teams lose and go home. That's how the first round of a 16-team tournament works.
Unless, of course, we're talking about a beer-league softball tournament, where eight teams advance while the eight losers pound a case of beers and then struggle through the loser's bracket. The NCAA doesn't put up with that kind of nonsense, though, because recapturing the glory days of athleticism through pointless double-elimination is against the organization's by-laws or something.
The winners from this past weekend will get tons of Internet ink in the coming days, but let's take a moment to remember those that left us on Saturday and Sunday. Some were too young to go. Others had reached their expiration date and were running on borrowed time.
Someone roll Green Day's "Time of Your Life."
SIENA SAINTS, 13-5
SYRACUSE, NY -- The Siena Saints, late of the MAAC conference, saw the sunset of a fulfilling 2011 campaign dip below the horizon late Sunday evening in the Carrier Dome. They fought valiantly to the end, taking on fire from an opposition armed with Tommy Guns and superior explosive devices. Though light on ammunition, Siena did not hide in a bunker; goalie Tom Morr acted as a human shield, allowing his fellow fallen such as Danny Martinsen and Kyle Curry to return fire despite being armed with only Nerf N-Strike Blasters.
In lieu of flowers, Siena requests donations be made to its 2012 recruiting fund so that they may procure stronger weapons for future New York State territory battles.
HARTFORD HAWKS, 11-7
ITHACA, NY -- The Hartford Hawks passed away Saturday night despite what doctors called "an amazing recovery." Hartford had battled with many an illness during the first half of 2011, finally looking as if it had turned the corner just seven days ago while visiting Long Island for a quick holiday. Unfortunately, the Hawks were playing on borrowed time and, having no answer for its bout with a form of Scarlet Fever that biologists are tentatively calling The Red Menace, quietly passed away surrounded by friends and family.
Hartford is survived by Peter Lawrence, a man that resurrected Hartford from many a flat-line circumstance.
VILLANOVA WILDCATS, 11-5
DENVER, CO -- The last words from Villanova said to those in attendance were striking: "RPI rankings apparently don't win lacrosse games." While the autopsy is being performed, some in the medical community are predicting a potential re-birth of Villanova in 2012. When reached for comment, the Vatican said, "Bah! Humbug!"
Additionally, in a nod of respect to a tremendous career, the NCAA has renamed the caused turnover the "Gettin' Karalunas'd."
BUCKNELL BISON, 14-3
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA -- If the old computer game The Oregon Trail taught us anything, it's this: If you keep shooting buffaloes, they will become extinct.
Virginia shot the hell out of the Bison this week despite the herd's best efforts to survive. Bucknell's meat, however, will be put to good use, sustaining the Cavaliers for at least one more week in an effort to mitigate the onset of Cornell-imposed dysentery.
NORTH CAROLINA TAR HEELS, 10-6
CHAPEL HILL, NC -- I bet you didn't know that a turtle could totally kick the living crap out of a ram. Well, genius, they can. As a consequence, zoologists nationwide are reconsidering the animal food chain.
DELAWARE BLUE HENS, 11-7
DURHAM, NC -- Delaware, having had a spotty record in its previous bouts in the steel cage sponsored by an underground league known only as THUNDERDOME!, could not recreate their bloodied-knuckled run to a surprising title among the most grizzled and hardened in the country.
Despite profusely bleeding on the mat numerous times on Saturday, Delaware struck back as if receiving an adrenaline shot to the heart. In the end, though, Duke's chainmail proved impenetrable and the Blue Hens ultimately paid the ultimate price much to the delight of the fans in attendance.
HOFSTRA PRIDE, 13-3
BALTIMORE, MD -- Family of the deceased wish to only acknowledge Hofstra's passing. The pain is still too fresh to bear at this time. Services will be private as the manner of the Pride's elimination came as a shock to those closest to the program.
PENNSYLVANIA QUAKERS, 8-7
SOUTH BEND, IN -- Pennsylvania had suffered through five years of illness before the medical community offered a strategy of defensive treatments. Doctors were hopeful for a recovery, but Irish peers familiar with such procedures were skeptical of the effects of such efforts given the Quakers' overall condition.
Pennsylvania quietly departed in mid-afternoon on Saturday. In response, the Irish medical professionals questioned whether a "Stony Brook Inclusion" -- a procedure that had garnered the attention of the community over the last two years -- would have been a better option for, at minimum, scientific research.