... in which I have been beaten thoroughly to the punch by a former colleague, the esteemed Sarah Trotto, who pretty much captures the zeitgeist of this weekend in just three words.
"Duke? Kentucky? Gross."
Well ... yes.
We all wish it could be Bo Ryan against Tom Izzo for the title Monday night, Big Ten vs. Big Ten, Sparty vs. Bucky Badger. Frank Kaminsky and the king of the postgame transcript, Nigel Hayes, against Denzel Valentine and Branden Dawson. Sam Dekker, assassin of the 3-point line, against Travis Trice, assassin of the 3-point line 2.0.
But if the Final Four is all about One Shining Moments, it's also about the death of dream. The ghost of one will still be rattling around Lucas Oil Stadium this weekend: Gordon Hayward's final shot, dead these five years, spins and shudders above the cylinder to this day. Then, as always, it falls away, depriving Butler of its fairy tale ending and every writer in the joint of the chance to tell it.
What that tells us is that The Luke doesn't do storybook. And so, reluctantly, the Blob is forced to conclude that this weekend's meme will indeed be Duke, Kentucky, Gross.
Everyone in America thinks Wisky is going to give the Wildcats everything they want and maybe more, a dangerous state of affairs for Wisky. All season long, as Kentucky chased perfection, it was never more lethal than when the country thought it was about to get it in the neck. And so it will be this time.
Wisky's got Kaminsky, but the Wildcats have Kaminsky times about four. Kats by 10.
And Duke vs. Michigan State?
You'd like to think the Wizard of March has something left in the bag for the Blue Devils. But one of the defining themes of this tournament always has been whether it's a Duke Year or A Not Duke Year. This is a Duke Year.
And so, great job, Tom Izzo, but it's time to step aside. The Spartans will put up a fight, but too much Jahlil Okafor sends the Spartans back up I-69. Duke by nine.
Duke. Kentucky. Gross.
And Monday night?
Kentucky. Forty-and-oh. And the Blob dines on a bit of ill-considered four-month-old newsprint at some point thereafter.
Speaking of gross.