The Louisville Cardinal faithful will feel a shiver. A momentary shutter. It will come and begone.
As will the aura in which they have basked since that wondrous Monday night last April.
As always, Thursday at tip off, Naismithius, the Greek God of Hoops, shall dispatch his emissaries, Ghosts of Champions Past. They shall retrieve that aura, the one that emanates “Defending National Champions.”
The past shall be no more. Unlike the cotillions and Bar Mitzvah parties of my youth, where you could fill out no break cards before the dance began, assuring a partner later in the evening. At today’s high noon, there will be sixty four suitors standing equal, all without a blemish.
This dance, The Big Dance, is survive and advance.
Are you ready? I am.
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But it’s not noon Thursday . . . yet.
So, one last tip for Cardinal fans.
Check out Jordan Conn’s great read at Grantland.com, “The Spike and Luke Show: Redux.”
Conn traveled to Ann Arbor and watched last year’s final with surprise Wolverine standout, Spike Albrecht, and to Louisville to view it again with Final Four MOP, Luke Hancock.
Read it, savor it, bask in the glow one last time.
When the bell strikes a dozen times, the quest for a new champ commences.
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My last random ruminations before tip off.
Tom Izzo has never had a four year player, who didn’t get to experience the Final Four. Which record shall be shattered if Sparty doesn’t make it back?
Florida has succumbed three straight years in the Elite Eight. Are the highly regarded Gators ready to kick it up a notch. Or two.
If you still haven’t decided to jump on the Wichita State/ Let’s see the little guy win bandwagon, consider this. The man Shocker Coach Greg Marshall most admires in life is one of the infamous arch-conservative Koch Brothers. Which brethren happen to be major Wichita State boosters. Just sayin’.
Love those funky purple and gold unis worn by the Albany Great Danes.
Can Doug McBuckets pull a Larry Bird?
Manhattan is one of the underdogs that seems to be making most of the lists of little guys prime to fashion an upset.1 Others on the list with the Jaspers are Stephen F. Austin, Mercer, Tulsa, North Dakota State, Providence, St. Joe’s and Harvard.
One or more of those schools will be playing over the weekend. It’s hard for me to conceive Stevie Mas beating the The Rick. Buuuuuuuut, that’s why they play the game.
Harvard has the longest distance to travel to its opening round game against Cincy. It’s 2,260 miles from Cambridge to Spokane.
You’ll never guess which school has the shortest trek to tip? No suspense here, Coach K’s Duke Blue Devils. It’s 21 miles from campus to Raleigh.
I’m not sure why, but I really want Nebraska to beat Baylor, which might lead to a second round UK vs. U of L-ish matchup with Creighton. Except that the underdog would be the overdog.
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My primary viewing schedule for opening Thursday.
Ohio State vs. Dayton (CBS. It’s that little city school against the big state university down the interstate that won’t schedule them for a regular season game. Sound familiar?
Also Cincy vs. Harvard (TNT), Oregon vs. BYU (truTV) and Sparty vs. the Blue Hens of Delaware (TNT).
After a quick nap and dinner, UConn vs. St. Joe’s (TBS), St. Louis vs. NC State (TNT), Oklahoma vs. North Dakota State (truTV).
And, of course, U of L vs. Manhattan (TNT), which I’ll click away from only during timeouts and the half.
— Seedy K