And first, a word from our sponsor. Do you suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome? Low blood pressure have you feeling dizzy? Are you tired of answering the same "How are you doing?" questions every day at work?
If these symptoms persist for more than four hours straight, please consult the NCAA tournament. Nothing spells relief like end-to-end action morning, noon and night.
If the conference tournaments are a precursor, we are in for a treat this year. Look no further than the Mid-Con finale.
Oral Roberts and Oakland put on a golden show. The Golden Grizzles suited up a Larry Bird clone in the first half. Thanks to a staunch defensive effort, he looked more like Larry Doolittle in the second half.
Caleb Green single-handedly prevented the Golden Eagles from falling too far behind. He showed three-point range and keep the Eagles within striking distance.
The oft-overlooked Ken Tutt provided the dagger. He sank a driving bank shot with under a minute to play. It proved to be the game winner.
A collective sign of relief left the UMAC. Coaches, players and fans celebrated the culmination of a season's hard work. Hollywood would be hard pressed to write a better ending to the season.
Actually, this is exactly the kind of ending Hollywood shoves down out throat with regularity these days. An unfinished script with a cute little bowtie.
We want more. We demand more. And next up for the 14-seed Golden Eagles? A date with Pac-10 powerhouse Washington State (25-7, 13-5 Pac-10).
If anyone in Oklahoma tries to tell you they know all about the Cougars from the Pacific Northwest, they are lying. The games finish about the time most of us are waking up for work.
Oral Roberts is once again a prime candidate for upset city. The Cougars gave up under 30 percent from behind the arch in their victories.
The five losses saw the team surrender over 45 percent from behind the arch. The inside-out game of Green and Tutt could prove to be the prescription for an upset of the twelfth ranked team in the nation.
Washington State's roster isn't full of Kevin Durants and Greg Odens. The star power just doesn't exist. They methodically wear their opponents down with hard-nosed defense and efficient but not spectacular offensive consistency.
Derrick Low, the 6-1 guard, averages 13.6 ppg to lead the team. They are not an extremely long team. A 6-10 player surrounded by 6-5 swingmen. The match-up is excellent for the Eagles this time around.
The Cougars don't beat themselves. They only average 10 turnovers per contest, so ORU must be patient and not waste possessions.
They also give up less than 60 points a game. No worries for Coach Sutton's crew. They are more than capable of playing a meticulous half court contest.
Something that may only humor me: the contest will be held in Sacramento, California, on March 15 at 2:40pm. The game is part of the East bracket setup. Correct. A win in the first two rounds will have ORU (or which ever team advances) traveling cross-country to New Jersey for the Sweet Sixteen. Fair?
If Green can lead the team past Washington State, a date with either Vanderbilt or George Washington awaits in the second round.
Of course, the team isn't looking ahead, that is just what we do.
Winners and Losers
Winners: the NCAA and CBS. These two entities are positioned perfectly to make a ton of money over the next three weeks.
The NCAA makes money hand over fist through game revenues and, more importantly, television contracts. You can pay a nominal fee to watch every game through the first few rounds.
CBS has the eyes of the nation cast upon its network by the 18-35 male demographic they covet. Prepare yourself for the latest crime drama or lame sitcom to be beaten into your cranium over and over by shameless in-game plugs.
Losers: the poor BCS conference schools that are subjected to NIT play. No one follows these games until they hit New York for their last four games. Even then, viewership is questionable.
Winner: Oral Roberts University. The match-up is fantastic for Coach Sutton. The workman like team will battle to the end and have a chance to prevail.
Loser: all NCAA players. They are the center of the entertainment. Droves and droves of television sets will tune in for one purpose only - to watch the teams/kids put on a fantastic show.
The bonus check for this? ZERO. The players get no royalties while universities watch revenues roll in hand over fist. Please, save the "well, they attend college for free" argument. Won't fly here.
At the end of the day, we are all winners. This is shaping up to be the most hotly contested three-week run of all times. Many of these superstars will be in the NBA for years to come.
We can thank David Stern for this tourney. His age limit on the NBA draft set this up to be a memorable postseason. Hopefully we will be subjected to Billy Packer preaching Green's success in two weeks. In the Sweet Sixteen!
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