If you thought I was going to dump one of the least essential pieces of NCAA Tournament preview content after a two-year break from said tournament, you were so very wrong.

If you thought the first round of the NCAA Tournament being pushed back a day meant I wasn't going to tap into my inner Frost, Plath, Whitman and Yeats, think again. 

We're about to begin the greatest four-day stretch on the American sports calendar and I've got Japanese poetry to get off my chest. 

It's my annual first-round NCAA Tournament haiku previews. Haikus by definition require 5-7-5 syllabic patterns. It's a fun challenge. It's a breezy read. I hope you enjoy, as we all gear up for a most precious return of the grandest tournament in American sports. 

As always, here it is, the field of 2021 -- as poetically as I can put it.


Gonzaga (1) vs. Texas Southern (16)

Unbeaten or bust
Six more wins and: immortals
It is Jalen's time

Oklahoma (8) vs. Missouri (9)

Sooners down a man
The 50/50 8-9
Non-scary Kruger

Creighton (5) vs. UC Santa Barbara (12)

Gauchos, amigos!
Big East final? Bluejays WRECKED
12-beats-5 trap game

Virginia (4) vs. Ohio (13)

Still the reigning champs
Wahoos flying in today
Preston = NBA

USC (6) vs. Drake (11)

Evan Mobley: TRUTH
Nick Drake > Drake > Drake (the rapper)
Feeling a close one

Kansas (3) vs. Eastern Washington (14)

More COVID impact
Kansas is down a starter
Battle of the birds

Oregon (7) vs. VCU (10)

Seems like a mismatch
Then again: a man named "Bones"
Ducks dunk together

Iowa (2) vs. Grand Canyon (15)

Run, run, run, run, run,
run, run, run, run, run, run, run
run, run, run, run, run ...

Everyone fading / Can Wolverines find their form? / Dickinson a stud USATSI


Michigan (1) vs. Texas Southern (16)

One of the Fab Five
So many fading U-M
KenPom says: still 2

LSU (8) vs. St. Bonaventure (9)

Now this is a GAME
These two teams: oil and water
Woj bomb meets strong-ass

Colorado (5) vs. Georgetown (12)

Best Buffs seed ever
Ewing needs no credential
R.I.P., Big John

Florida State (4) vs. UNC Greensboro (13)

Hamilton limping
Spartans are SoCon-sneaky
But Noles know March runs

BYU (6) vs. UCLA (11)

Zaga knows: for real
All these guys are very old
Mick Cronin > Wooden

Texas (3) vs. Abilene Christian (14)

Longhorns long on dudes
Shaka hair game is elite
Biggest 3 blowout

UConn (7) vs. Maryland (10)

Love Terps' trio
Hurley mask game: next level
Book it: Bouknight owns

Alabama (2) vs. Iona (15)

Fun coaching battle
Ball & Oats: harmony hoops
Pitino ... AGAIN!

NCAA Basketball: Final Four-Loyola vs Michigan
Sister Jean is back / Centenarian idol / Moses out for Tech USATSI


Illinois (1) vs. Drexel (16)

Ayo in that mask
Superhero the sport needs
Slaying these Dragons

Loyola Chicago (8) vs. Georgia Tech (9)

Misfire on the seeds
This team better than '18
Pastner's face shield owns

Tennessee (5) vs. Oregon State (12)

Orange on orange
Time to find your form, UT
Beavers: house money

Oklahoma State (4) vs. Liberty (13)

NBA top pick
Cowboys too hot for the Flames
Should be a 3-seed

San Diego State (6) vs. Syracuse (11)

Orange dodge First Four
Back that Az up: 14 straight
Don't question Boeheim

West Virginia (3) vs. Morehead State (14)

Dapper Deuce McBride
Huggins wardrobe: COVID-fit
Upset no one sees

Clemson (7) vs. Rutgers (10)

Rutgers ... finally!
Last danced 30 years ago
World, meet Aamir Simms

Houston (2) vs. Cleveland State (15)

Cougars March mojo
Kelvin returns to IU
Vikings know Cindy

Scott Drew redemption / Shoutout to Terry Teagle / And Bill Henderson  USATSI


Baylor (1) vs. Hartford (16)

Are scary Bears back?
Not the same since COVID pause
First tourney for Hawks

North Carolina (8) vs. Wisconsin (9)

Bucky: a riddle
Roy doesn't lose in first round
2000 flashbacks

Villanova (5) vs. Winthrop (12)

Gotta take the 'throp
No Collin changes Nova
Last tip of Friday!

Purdue (4) vs. North Texas (13)

Sweet Green? No! MEAN GREEN
Ho-hum, Purdue good again
South Region dark horse

Texas Tech (6) vs. Utah State (11)

I love this matchup
McClung is must-see TV
Hoosiers' joint to host

Arkansas (3) vs. Colgate (14)

Muss buss? Hog wagon!
Patriot tempo-pushers
Moody moves booties

Florida (7) vs. Virginia Tech (10)

Three games in six weeks
What Hokies team will we see?
Gators? Uh ... no clue

Ohio State (2) vs. Oral Roberts (15)

Top scorer in sport
Buckeyes: All O, little D
Points on points on points


Now it is your turn
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