Friday, March 30, 2012

So... Who's Don Rosa Rooting For?

Tomorrow's Final Four presents an unusual situation: a national semifinal game that will probably wind up getting more attention than the Monday-night championship game itself. Kentucky and Louisville, playing in the first game, jus' plain don't like each other, as the average Kentuckian might put it. The hard feelings go back to the days of Adolph Rupp, when UK was the #1 power in college basketball and wouldn't deign to play an in-state rival unless it was absolutely forced to. Back in March 1983, the teams played in the Mideast Regional final, the first time they'd met since 1959. The hype this year is tremendous because the stakes are so high, but, IMHO, some of the edge has been taken off due to the fact that the teams now play on a yearly basis. In '83, there was legitimate uncertainty as to how the teams would match up.

(John Tesh interviewing a basketball coach? Shouldn't he be conducting operations in a "kiss and cry" room?)

Fittingly, the '83 game went into overtime, leading to one of the most one-sided extra sessions I've ever seen. If there were a mercy rule in college basketball, it would certainly have been applied here.

The present UK/U of L set-to has given rise to the standard complement of media stories about crazed fans taking the rivalry too far. This bizarre tale, for one, gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "kidney punch." Nicky has gone so far as to predict that there will be at least two fatalities attending the game in Kentucky, plus one in New Orleans, where the game is being held. Let us devoutly hope that the "under" prevails in that particular wager. Restricting my own soothsaying to the games themselves, I'm picking UK to beat U of L and Ohio State to defeat Kansas in the other semi, with UK taking the (non-Mega-Millions) jackpot on Monday.

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