Things that I HOPE will happen sometime during the next three weeks:
1. The UA basketball team pulls its collective head out of its huge, gaping maw of a butt and plays some real basketball. Not in spurts, not in flashes, but for 40 minutes. They pass and cut and play defense. I don't even care if they win it all; I just want them to play like they can.
2. Duke loses in the first round, giving Dick Vitale a case of laryngitis. I actually like Dickie V., and I respect Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, but it gets sickening after a while.
3. The head guy at CBS Sports forbids all announcers to use the words "genius," "destiny" and "Justin Timberlake."
4. A No 16 seed beats a No. 1. Especially if it's Duke.
5. USA Today announces that it will no longer consider Oak Hill Academy or any of the other basketball factory "prep" schools on the East Coast for its mythical national championship. The "school" travels all over the country, playing in tournaments from coast to coast with a lineup consisting of high-school All-Americans who should be going to school in their own communities instead of having whatever values they have drained from them.
6. Stanford and Washington win lots of games in the tournament, because I just NEVER get tired of hearing the phrase, "East Coast bias."
7. An announcer asks Brigham Young University player Mike Hall the question that's on everybody's mind: "So, how much does it suck to be a black guy at BYU?"
8. ESPN will show the UCLA-Memphis State championship game from the 1973 NCAAs in which Bill Walton went 21-22 from the floor in an era when it was illegal to dunk. Or maybe Christian Laettner's performance against Kentucky in 1992 when he went 10-10 from the floor and 10-10 from the free-throw line, scored 31 points and hit the game-winning shot in perhaps the most exciting college game ever.
9. All of the UA guys, realizing how good they have it in college and feeling a sense of unfinished business, decide to come back next year. They promise to work extra hard and dedicate next season to all of the Tucson fans who care so much about them and treat them like gods.
Things that WILL happen in these next three weeks:
1. The Cats will revert to form somewhere along the line and lose a game they very easily could have won if only the gaping maw had released its hold.
2. Duke will get calls they don't deserve. They'll trail some upstart team for most of the game and then come back to win a game or two that they shouldn't.
3. According to the announcers at CBS, the 65 coaches in the NCAA consist of 14 "geniuses," 27 "masters," eight "wizards," four "sly foxes" and 12 "real up-and-comers."
4. The four No. 1s will cruise, but at least one No. 2 will struggle mightily and might even lose.
5. USA Today will name Oak Hill its "National Champion" for the umpteenth year in a row, effectively slapping hundreds of thousands of real high school athletes in the face and giving a big "Screw You!" to high school coaches who have been lobbying for years to get the paper to stop the farce.
6. Stanford will play well, but Washington will succumb to the shock and awe of it all.
7. Whoever's doing the BYU game will never really mention Hall, but will mention Danny Ainge and his 1981 length-of-the-floor, buzzer-beating drive against Notre Dame at least five times.
8. ESPN will show one dunk after another, further solidifying for the pea-brains at home that that is the way basketball is supposed to be played. Meanwhile, it will go unnoticed and unmentioned that most of these dunkers have very few real basketball skills. Most of them couldn't score in a seal whorehouse if they had a bucket of fish.
9. One or more of the UA guys will basically ask to get bitch-slapped in public when he (they) stand in front of a microphone and start uttering the stupidest three words in the modern sports lexicon: "the next level." They probably think that means the NBA, but for most of these guys, "the next level" means becoming a solid, dependable, top-level collegiate player who plays hard all the time. The next level after that is playing in Bulgaria (ask Michael Wright), and about eight levels after that is the NBA.
Even if all this does happen, it's still the best three weeks in sports.