In general, the rituals surrounding Monday night's national championship game are more predictable than a music critique from
Ladies and gentlemen, prepare yourselves for the real tradition unlike any other. Prepare yourselves for
Don't know what I'm talking about? Every year, as the final buzzer sounds, comes an uncomfortably tacky play on words from Nantz, so oozing with cleverness that you can't help but purse your lips. You know, for added effect and all. Why say "Michigan State is the champion!" when you can over-think the whole thing and yell "You can leave it to Cleaves!" instead? Why not proclaim Connecticut "The 'meka of college basketball" when they've got a guy named
So you know some kind of quip is coming on Monday night, but after a lackluster "Back-to-back and unforgettable" line last season, the question remains: What will it be?!? I've been giddy with anticipation over the last few weeks trying to spot Nantz's patterns, playing my own demented game of Guess the Jim Nantz-ism.
The first rule of thumb is to pick out a recognizable player or coach -- or, if all else fails, the team's name -- from each potential champion and squeeze it into a sentence. Nantz pulled this stunt back in '97 with Arizona's
Secondly and equally important is to fit that popular reference, if at all possible, into another common allusion. In other words take a guy like
(Bonus points to Nantz if he can actually quote one of his own phrases in the process. A national championship line of "All for one, and one for the ages!" for the Xavier Musketeers would've been off the charts.)
And finally, the whole thing needs to feel as scripted and overzealous as humanly possible. Nantz might read these straight from a teleprompter, or perhaps they're pre-recorded to capture the proper voice inflection. However it's done, the line needs to be recited in a manner that makes it seem as though it's been a work in progress for at least the last five months.
That's how it's done, boys and girls. Good luck trying to guess.
There are plenty of respectable media types downplaying the novelty of the Final Four due to the "staleness" of the top four seeds reaching San Antonio. Interesting. Seeing as how this exact scenario has failed to occur in nearly 40 years of NCAA Tournament play, "stale" is not exactly the word I'd use to describe it.
Actually, the mere fact that this Final Four is even occurring is the best Cinderella story of the tournament. There's no reason anybody should be calling a four-team playoff among the nation's four best teams anything short of "outstanding." In fact, if this were college football, it'd be widely considered the dream ticket -- why should basketball view it any differently?
And in related news, the NCAA selection committee is dancing in the streets, setting trash can fires, and overturning cars after finally guessing a damn Final Four correctly. Took 'em long enough.
A few years ago, Powerade ran a TV spot showing
CBS ran its own b-roll footage during Thursday night's Elite Eight match-up between UCLA and Xavier. In those clips,
Admissions officials at Davidson, I feel for you. Forfeit your personal lives now. Not only is your school back on the map thanks to dynamic sophomore
With a little common sense, you'd have to expect an absolute tidal wave of applications over the next few months. Studies have already shown that success in the NCAA Tournament translates to
(All kidding aside, this move by the Davidson trustees should be bronzed and put on display in the Smithsonian. What a fantastic gesture of generosity and camaraderie.)
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