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Burns: March Madness? More like March clueless

Did I ever tell you I was a terrific test-taker? SAT’s, ACT’s, final exams; you name it. My gift was cramming. I could cram with the best of them. Load up on the Mountain Dew in the early evening and cap it off with a 2 a.m. trip to Denny’s….order up a Moon’s over My Hammy to go with my text book and highlighter pen.

You might see me at a Denny’s one day next week. I got me some cramming to do. On college basketball.

Selection Sunday is this weekend; one of the holiest of the holy days of sports (Super Bowl Sunday, final round of the Masters, NFL Draft, Opening Day of the baseball season, etc). Every Selection Sunday I morph into an unabashed sports nerd. I take a blank bracket, fill the teams in as they’re revealed and immediately identify the upsets, the Cinderella’s, the favorites and so on. When I’m done, I really let my geek flag fly by then watching the ESPN selection show that I’ve tivoed, taking meticulous notes on the teams so I can glimpse something I might have missed the first time around. The whole process takes hours, but I love every minute of it.

But this Selection Sunday will be different. I won’t be able to identify the upsets, the Cinderella’s or the favorites. The truth is I have no idea.

Like I said, Moon Over My Hammy, here I come. Time to cram for the big test.

Where did college hoops go in my life? I used to spend this week religiously updating myself on the speculation. Bubble teams. Last four in, first four out. I could look at a team and guess, within a number or two, what seed they would be on Selection Sunday.

Who is responsible for this (other than me that is)? Who is to blame?

Blame Tucson. Or more specifically, blame the demise of U of A basketball. When you’ve got an elite program in your backyard, whether you love them or hate them, you notice them. Lute. Elliot. Bibby. Simon. Terry. Walton. Jefferson. College basketball greatness was 90 minutes to the south; you were forced to pay attention to them.

Blame the Pac-10. Not their fault they lost all that talent from one year to the next. But on a Saturday afternoon, if you can’t think of 1,238 better things to do than watch a Washington/Oregon college hoops game, I can’t help you. And let’s be honest…..no one is ever going to confuse ASU basketball with the most entertaining product in town.

Blame the Arizona Cardinals. The Arizona Cardinals never, ever, ever monopolize our attention span in the month of January. Shoot, they are never, ever, ever compelling or relevant in December. But they are now and it changes the whole equation. I hosted my weekly chat on Tuesday at sports.ktar.com (you really should check it out every Tuesday from Noon to 1 o’clock) and all anyone wanted to talk about was Anquan Boldin and Karlos Dansby and so on. College hoops never came up.

Blame “ER”. I stole this one from Sports 620 KTAR’s resident intellectual Rod Lakin. He compared college hoops to the TV show “ER”. That program hit the skids once they lost all their stars (George Clooney, Anthony Edwards, the guy who played Benton, the guy who played Carter). Once they checked out, I checked out. But the show kept going (with John Stamos no less). College hoops are the same way. The stars are gone. Point the proverbial gun to my head, I couldn’t name them. And if I could, they’d just be gone after their freshman year anyway.

I still love the NCAA Tourament. I’ll still fill out a bracket, still root for the Cinderella’s.

I just need someone to tell me who they are.