The NCAA Tournament begins today. And Tablet Magazine’s official team* is playing in the final game of the day. At 9:45 p.m., the sixth-seeded Tennessee Volunteers will face the 11th-seeded San Diego State Aztecs in Providence, Rhode Island.
The Vols are our official team because they are coached by Bruce Pearl, the highest-profile Jewish college basketball coach working today. Pearl, soon to complete his fifth season in Knoxville (though hopefully not too soon!), also coached the U.S. team at the 2009 Maccabiah Games in Israel. Despite a spate of injuries, Tennessee finished the season ranked 15th in the country and third in the Southeastern Conference.
Tennessee was put in the toughest region: If they win all their games and the favorites win theirs, they’ll next play three-seed Georgetown, two-seed Ohio State (which many consider a championship contender), and tournament favorite Kansas. March Madness, people, March Madness! Go, Vols!
* A motion for Tablet Magazine’s official team to be “whoever’s playing Duke” was, sad to say, struck down at a staff meeting. But for the record: Mike Krzyzewski (“Coach K”) is not a Jew.
Marc Tracy is a staff writer at The New Republic, and was previously a staff writer at Tablet. He tweets @marcatracy.