Withdrawal Hurts But Hoya Paranoya Would Heal

By David Scott - March 20, 2007


I miss Buffalo.

That's how hard I've fallen for this season of college hoops.

I miss everything about Buffalo. The snow, the ice, the slush, the cold PBR in a can.

When you get around this thing called the NCAA Tournament and when you start inhaling its fumes and absorbing its message, you start to get a bit attached. Sure it's nice to get home, see the dog and sleep in your own bed. But it'll also be nice to get to East Rutherford on Thursday. There's a potentially brilliant second round looming and I'm ready to be immersed in some sky blue and some Hoya Paranoya.

If the re-match of the 1982 title game does come to pass, the Meadowlands Arena on Sunday afternoon could become a very historic place.

Wouldn't Jordan have to be there? And Patrick Ewing, of course, with his son involved. And John Thompson and Dean Smith. And Dave Gavitt for sure because of his vision to include Georgetown in the mix of his little conference that could. And who knows who else?

But no matter who is in attendance for that looming contest (and both Georgetown and UNC are the substantial Las Vegas favorites to win over Vanderbilt and USC on Friday night), there is no proper way to commemorate the importance of that game from 25 seasons - and an entire technologically advanced generation - ago.

Three years before the Jordan unveiling against Georgetown in New Orleans, there was Bird-Magic I when Michigan State brought down Indiana State and brought up the level of impact and import of the NCAA Tournament. By the time Dean Smith's Jordan sank his shot to sink John Thompson's Hoyas, Bird and Magic had already begun their bi-coastal resurrection of the NBA - and ALL of basketball was becoming better for it.

Bird/Magic begat Jordan which brought on Phi Slamma Jamma, Jimmy Valvano's NC State Wolfpack, the Runnin' Rebels, the Whoooeee Pig Sooey Arkansas Razorbacks, Duke's dominance and ultimately, last year, the George Mason Patriots. We skipped over a few important teams and events, but the endpoint - Atlanta next weekend - is the same.

Yes, all those offshoots could have happened without UNC and Georgetown's epic meeting, but we think they might have come a bit slower and bit less convincingly. March Madness wasn't transformed in one game or one year or even one decade. It has evolved to the point it's now at, but if you need to define a watershed moment, you probably don't need to look any further than that game involving the great MJ.

And sweetly, those two programs appear to be ready to stir some wonderful memories and bring out some big names.

. . . Our CSTV Expert Pool picks have us in the middle of the pack, but the JBL motto we've adopted - "Just Beat Lap (Steve Lappas)" - has served us well. We were going to have a JBG - Just Beat Gillen - rallying cry, but then we thought about having to go back and forth with the fast-talking Gillen at the annual Runyon's Party at the Final Four. It made us dizzy thinking about it so we took the next best former coach in the CSTV stable. Glad we didn't pick on Farnham, we'll tell you that.

. . .Looks like we'll be live at the Meadowlands in the noon-time hour on Thursday, so join us for lunch or your post-lunch cruise throught the important websites. Pressers start at 1 p.m. and the full schedule looks like this if you'd like to catch the open practices in person at the Meadowlands:

Noon-12:50 p.m. Vanderbilt Open Practice
1-1:50 p.m. USC Open Practice
2:10-3 p.m. Georgetown Open Practice
3:10-4 p.m. North Carolina Open Practice

News Conferences (FOR CREDENTIALED MEDIA ONLY)

1-1:15 p.m. Vanderbilt Coach Kevin Stallings
1:15-1:30 p.m. Vanderbilt student-athletes

1:30-1:45 p.m. Georgetown student-athletes
1:45-2 p.m. Georgetown Coach John Thompson III

2-2:15 p.m. USC Coach Tim Floyd
2:15-2:30 p.m. USC student-athletes

2:30-2:45 p.m. North Carolina student-athletes
2:45-3 p.m. North Carolina Coach Roy Williams

Posted by David Scott at 09:07 PM on March 20, 2007
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