How To Cope Now That March Madness Is Over

I woke up this morning feeling like something was horribly wrong. The feeling was something akin to the feeling you get when someone gives you horrible news immediately after you've just chugged a triple venti latte. The problem, I realized, is that March Madness is over. What am I going to do with my free (and procrastinatory) time now? It happens every year, and with last night's emotionally exhausting double buzzer-beating Tar Heel dream dismantling barn burner in the books, Villanova fans can rejoice in the first morning of their year as reigning champions — but what about the rest of us?

Though I've been a die-hard college basketball scholar since I was in grade school, my first real experience with PMMD (Post March Madness Depression) came my sophomore year of college. I had been living in a tent since the wee early days of December, before finals had even begun, camping out for a game we would eventually lose to UNC on March 8. A few weeks later, my team was unceremoniously dispatched in the Round of 32 by the West Virginia Mountaineers, a lowly seven seed (the same Mountaineers who we would eventually eliminate two years later to advance to the National Championship game in 2010).

I had literally been living and breathing basketball for the past four months, and being upset by a team whose mascot looks like this —

— left me wondering what to do now that my dreams of banner hunting were over, and my bracket more than busted. Here are some things you can do now that there's no more Shining Moments of Madness until next spring.

1. Read a good book

Now that there are no injury reports, upset alerts, last chance brackets, or round-by-round fantasy pick 'ems to follow, you can pick up a book bound and printed on actual paper, and enrich your mind with something other than adjusted offensive efficiency ratings.

2. Actually go somewhere this weekend

I've turned down at least three road trips in recent memory because we might possibly still be dancing, and limiting my access to a television and a place to be shouting at said television just wasn't in the cards. You can totally make plans this weekend that don't involve making appointments with technology.

3. Get really involved with the upcoming election

Nothing replaces single elimination college basketball like the fiery fandoms of our presidential candidates. If you've been too busy watching this year's totally insane NCAA Tournament to decide who you'll be voting for, now would be a good time to look into it.

4. Call your family

If you've been truly entrenched in basketball since the tournament kicked off, you may want to verify that your mom hasn't reported you as a missing person.

5. Baseball just started

Baseball is a slow burn of a sports season, so there are plenty of months to go. You can easily stay busy with fantasy baseball if contacting your loved ones or reading a book are too far off-brand at this point.

6. Or just jump into the NBA playoffs

It's all basketball, right?! Plus, the NBA playoffs has a second-year player returning to steal all the headlines. I'm talking about the defending champion sportsbaby Riley Curry who is sure to generate plenty of winning moments in this year's postseason.

Images: Getty Images; Giphy (6)