By RON MALY
One thing to keep in mind as the NCAA Final Four approaches is that the first two games will be played on April Fool's Day.
Which means, of course, is that anything can happen and probably will.
The opening game at 5:09 p.m. Saturday In the University of Phoenix Stadium at Glendale, AZ [a massive football arena that can seat anywhere from 63,400 to 78,600] sends Gonzaga, a team with an awesome 36-1 record; against South Carolina [25-10].
That's a tough one for me because, down deep, I'd like both teams to win and I know--as Uncle Otto used to say-- it ain't gonna happen.
I like the situation with South Carolina because of its coach, Frank Martin, who dressed in outfit that exhibited the school colors in his team's most recent game and has been regarded as so much of an underdog throughout his life that he's probably got the word tattooed across his chest.
I didn't expect ol' Frank and his players to be in the Final Four anymore than you did, but here they are 2 victories away from winning a national championship.
Still, I don't want it to happen. Sorry about that, Frank.
I want Gonzaga, the small Catholic university that recruits worldwide, to win. I've written it before and I'll write it again. Some aspects of The Gonzaga Story remind me of Drake in the 1968-69 season.
There will always be a soft spot in my heart for coach Maury John and that group of Drake Bulldogs.
That makes it impossible for me to want South Carolina to win.
Saturday's second game, which is scheduled to start at 7:49 p.m., sends Oregon [33-5] against North Carolina [31-7].
That's an easy call for me.
I never want North Carolina to win any basketball game. The Tar Heels have already won far too many of 'em.
I felt the same way when Oregon played and beat Kansas in the game that got the Fighting Ducks to the Final Four.
Kansas, like North Carolina, is a basketball blueblood and has won so many games--many of them very big games--throughout history that it's sickening.
I've never cared much for bluebloods.
So there you have it from my perspective.
But don't forget, like I wrote earlier, Saturday is April Fool's Day. Anything can happen and probably will.
I'll see you in front of the TV.
It'll be fun.