It’s time to settle down to business and talk about tonight’s games—and I’m not talking about the beer hockey tournament at the Sheraton.

Let's look at the second game first.  Basketball blueblood North Carolina takes on Syracuse which just might be the hottest team of the Final Four. The defense of Syracuse, that swarming press for those few minutes, is what got them here when they bedazzled and befuddled Virginia. However, North Carolina demonstrated a defense so amazing that it will definitely go down in history. In August, just four days before UNC was to formally answer the NCAA’s charges against them, they pulled a defensive switch for the ages: they said that the school’s own internal investigation had turned up some new possible violations in women’s basketball. That mean the NCAA had to amend its charges and start the investigative clock all over again. They turned Dean Smith’s four-corner offensive stall into a brilliant defense, and here they are in the Final Four. Sorry, Syracuse. ADVANTAGE: NORTH CAROLINA.


The opening game – Oklahoma vs. Villanova -- shapes up as an up-tempo sharp shooting match. OK’s Buddy Hield won the Oscar Robertson Award as the nation’s top college player. Villanova’s gritty guard, four-year captain Ryan Arcidiacono is their obvious leader and … wait a minute. I can’t do this. I know I’m supposed to be impartial, but with full disclosure, I must admit that I have a rooting interest in this one. Throw out the stats, even the important one that shows Villanova’s average player weight of 214.1 pounds outweighs Oklahoma by a full two pounds. I confess. I want Villanova to win. I want them to win for one reason and one reason only: I desperately want to hear the on-air guys – including Kenny and Charles – to continue to struggle to pronounce Arcidiacono for two more games. ADVANTAGE:VILLANOVA.


The flight to Houston was fairly pleasant except for one strange incident. While we were in our descent, a flight attendant made an announcement that we weren’t going to land in Houston, but had to land in San Antonio. After many of the passengers gasped, she uttered words you don’t really want to hear from a flight attendant: “April fool.”

The weather here is overcast and a little windy, or what those from Houston call, “a beautiful day.” There are signs announcing the Final Four everywhere, and the whole town is abuzz. The favored attire is “mob casual”— warm ups or track suits. They dress like this everywhere, even in the nicest restaurants. I assume they own swimsuit outfits with Under Armor long pants.   

People are talking louder than they do at home as they grab some food and down some drinks. In a few hours, the food portion of their diet will be dropped for the rest of the weekend. In their collective stupor, they will become completely consumed by the games. Their sense of happiness or sadness, their very self-worth will be determined by the actions of a few kids who are barely old enough to drive. And before you know it, they’ll be back home and one day soon, they’ll be reprimanding their kids, “Stop goofing around. Act like a grownup and take life seriously.”