Note: Chuck Klosterman is in Atlanta covering the Final Four for Page 2. Check back all weekend for more updates.
LAST UPDATED: 2:59 p.m.
SATURDAY: Game day
THURSDAY: Final Four prep
Sunday, 2:59 p.m.
ATLANTA -- Every day is like Sunday; every day is silent and gray. Or at least this day is, particularly for anyone in downtown Atlanta who isn't trying to scalp tickets. It's been raining upon the just (and the unjust) for most of the morning, so the only people on the sidewalks are guys asking, "Anyone have tickets for tomorrow," which (of course) actually means, "Do you need tickets for tomorrow?" Word on the street claims that this has been a bad Final Four for scalpers, mostly because the only school within driving distance is (a) a football school that (b) self-reflexively reduced the intensity of its own fandom by winning the title only 12 months ago. CNBC reporter/Gatorade historian Darren Rovell told me that nosebleed tickets for Monday's championship game might be as cheap as $50.
I'm pretty depressed this morning, mostly because I could not find "The McLaughlin Group" on TV (I turned it to the appropriate channel at the appropriate time, but all I found was some guy with a Southern accent explaining how to revarnish antique furniture). Last week, host John McLaughlin ended the show by screaming this prediction: "The next man or woman to walk on the moon will be Chinese!" This is the kind of news I can use. I was hoping this week's episode might include Eleanor Clift urging for economic sanctions against Thad Matta's dry erase board, only to have Tony Blankley respond with something along the lines of, "Oh come on, you're just a girl." As an alternative, I'll probably have to spend my free time at the Margaret Mitchell House, staring at a manual typewriter.
A few things to think about, some of which you've probably thought about already:
• Because I (along with everyone else in this town) am mildly obsessed with his existence, I've overheard several conversations regarding Greg Oden's "readiness" for the NBA. More and more, I hear people speculating that he doesn't have enough of an offensive repertoire and is still too prone to foul trouble, prompting a certain kind of pundit to suggest that he should spend another year in college. This argument makes no sense. If Oden returns to Ohio State, he'll never face a single player who's as big and athletic as he already is. He will have no opportunity (or need) to develop his game, because he'll simply be able to overpower everyone he matches up against. In fact, it more likely would foster lazy habits. This reality applies to Kevin Durant as well: From a "long-term skills" perspective, both those kids would be better served to go pro, even if they played just 12 to 24 minutes a game for most of the season. At least they would be practicing against people who could duplicate their physicality.
• Some have speculated that Billy Donovan's potential departure to Kentucky might be a distraction for the Gators players, but I don't think this will have any impact whatsoever. In fact, I would assume that Noah, Horford and Brewer are secretly hoping he leaves for Lexington. All three of those cats likely will jump to the NBA next season; if Donovan leaves (and the Florida basketball program declines), their tenure will forever be remembered as the apex of the Gator hoop lineage. They will become untouchable, almost like what would have happened if Mick Jagger had broken up the Stones immediately after "Exile on Main St."
• Saturday, I wrote something that questioned the validity of live blogging the details of a sporting event that virtually all interested parties were actively watching on television. During the second game, one reader responded with an interesting, metaphysical explanation: He argued that readers want to know whether what they're seeing on CBS is actually happening inside the arena. There is, I suspect, an ever-increasing gap between (a) the public's accelerating skepticism toward media and (b) the natural human inclination to accept any visual image we see with our own eyes. Perhaps the Internet represents some sort of bridge across that chasm. I mean, if live blogging had existed in the summer of 1969, would people still have argued that the moon landing was fabricated on a Hollywood soundstage?
• If the NCAA still employed a third-place game, UCLA would defeat Georgetown 66-63. The last time such a game was played was 1981, when Virginia defeated LSU 78-74. I wish this particular contest were something I could remember, as it certainly seems like something I would be inexplicably nostalgic for.
Chuck Klosterman is the author of "Fargo Rock City," the essay collection "Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs," "Killing Yourself to Live: 85 Percent of a True Story" and the anthology "Chuck Klosterman IV: A Decade of Curious People and Dangerous Ideas." He can (sometimes) be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org