(I worked as a Sports Editor from late 2004 until the summer of 2006. This is one of the many columns I was able to save that were originally published in The Sun-Times of Heber Springs, Arkansas.)
For hoop junkies such as myself, Sunday is Christmas Eve, Shangri-La, nirvana, paradise, and gut-wrenching misery all rolled into one hour of riveting television.
And if I have to tell you why, you’re obviously not familiar with terms such as ‘Cinderella’, ‘the Big Dance’, ‘Sweet 16’, ‘bubble teams’ and ‘March Madness’. No, I’m not talking about the prom, I’m talking about the NCAA Tournament, and it all starts with Selection Sunday. The day the field of 65 teams that will make up the tourney is revealed.
But it’s also the day that the best show on television not involving Jack Bauer returns to HBO. ‘The Sopranos’ finally wakes up after two years of swimming with the fishes and I’m as happy as Vito Corleone on his daughter’s wedding day.
The NCAAs and Tony Soprano. It’s time to dance at the Bada-Bing!
At my house, Sunday will be like a holiday. The only thing that would make the day better would be presents and cake. (There will probably be cake.)
Luckily, I won’t have to sweat out the tournament selection show because Memphis has already qualified. The only thing that is a mystery is if the Tigers will be a number one seed.
The Conference-USA tourney started yesterday and barring an unforeseen collapse, Memphis should be cutting down the nets tomorrow.
Excuse me while I go knock on wood, throw salt over my shoulder, and rub my lucky rabbit’s foot while searching for four-leaf clovers.
If that’s not enough to claim one of the top four seeds, I don’t know what is. And believe me, I want that number one seed. There have been too many number twos knocked out by hungry 15 seeds recently. I don’t need the Tigers to be an early round victim of that dastardly ‘Cinderella’ curse.
You Hog fans however might be sweating a bit Sunday. I think Arkansas is a lock but depending on what happens in the SEC tournament will go a long way in determining what region the Hogs get placed in and who they might face in the first round.
I hope Arkansas gets a favorable placement, because this team is pretty good and I guarantee not many teams want to face them in the early rounds. Now if they would only play Preston Cranford more, an Elite 8 berth may be in their near future.
Memphis hasn’t been in the Big Dance in two years, and that’s about how long it’s been since the Sopranos ruled Sundays. I can’t wait to find out what happens with Tony and his crew. I’ve heard that something shocking will happen in the last 10 minutes of Sunday’s premier.
After the events of the last season, anything is possible. The New York family got busted, Tony killed his own cousin and then okayed the hit on Christopher’s fiancé Adrianna before charming his way back into Carmella’s heart.
There’s no way for this to end good for Tone. But I don’t think he’ll get arrested or clipped by anyone. You read it here first, Tony will have a heart attack, just like Don Corleone and Michael Corleone from the Godfather movies.
Whatever happens, I’m just glad it’s back on the air and I’m ecstatic that Memphis has a legitimate NCAA championship contender.
It’s a great way to start one crazy week. I hope all the shocks and surprises are out of the way by Thursday. Because if some amazing upset involving the Tigers happens this weekend, I may just have to go into witness protection.