Answer Dude 4

Your Burning Queries On The Upcoming Contest Expertly Handled.
By Tom "I Always Believed" Danehy

THIS IS THE Answer Dude, a distant cousin of the guy who wrote in this very space (as far back as one full week ago) that the Cats would reach the NCAA championship game. Like everyone else, I'm all caught up in Final Four Fever. But I'm never too busy to answer your questions. So, ask away, Peasants.

Danehy Q. Are you surprised the Cats won those two games last week to advance to the Final Four?

A. Not really. The real surprise is that they played so badly down the stretch in both games and still managed to win. They looked horrible and gave their fans some unnecessarily tense moments.

There are points in basketball games which are pivotal. Some coaches assign numerical values to them (seven-, 10-, and 15-point margins, for example). But some basketball people can just feel them, even when watching a game on TV.

It's where one team has opened a lead and the other team is at a crossroads between fighting back into the game or becoming desperate and thereby digging the hole that much deeper. A good team will recognize those situations, whether they're trailing or in the lead. They're spots where you have to play extra smart and extra hard.

There was just such a point after the Cats had built a double-digit lead against Providence (thanks to the Friars' shit-talking proclivities) where the Cats could have put the game away, and we fans might've even been able to see John Ash play in the NCAAs.

But Mike Bibby missed two free throws, Providence roared back (thanks to some poor shot selection by the Cats), and suddenly we had a nail-biter. Well, the rest of you did. The Answer Dude doesn't bite his fingernails, especially during Lent, when no animal products are consumed.

Q. What are you not looking forward to this weekend at the Final Four?

A. Televised images of J. Fife Symington III seated with the Arizona contingent at the RCA Dome. I hate that stuff. It's just another reason for a crooked politician to travel on our dime.

'Course, on the upside, maybe he'll decide to ask for political asylum and hope the Governor of Indiana won't agree to extradite his sorry butt back here for trial.

Q. If the Arizona Wildcats win the national championship in basketball, what will Arizona Daily Star sports columnist Greg Hansen write about in his Sunday column?

A. Brian Peabody.

Q. Miles Simon was named Most Outstanding Player in the Southeast Regional. Who decided that?

A. CBS. They gave him the award after his ill-timed short jumper was swatted into next Tuesday, allowing Providence to come back and send the game into overtime, thus giving CBS a couple more ratings points. They would've made him royalty if he'd somehow managed to drop that last rebound, knock it into the hands of a Friar, and then foul the guy as he swished a three-pointer at the buzzer, setting up a second overtime.

Q. Only one Pac-10 team made it to the Final Four, but the conference is a gaudy 11-4 in the NCAAs. Does this mean the Pac is back?

A. Not necessarily. But it does mean fans around the country won't automatically hear the words "Pac-10" and think about wiping their shoes on something.

The league has a ways to go, but it's definitely on the upswing. The Southeast Conference (except for Kentucky) has had a horrible tournament; likewise the Big 10, except for Minnesota.

Q. What do you think of Channel 13's e-x-p-a-n-d-e-d coverage of the NCAA Tournament?

A. Well, I just love AC/DC's "Back In Black." Plus, somebody obviously put in some time doing the editing to make the opening a visual treat. I just wonder how much attention they'd be paying to the tourney if the Cats had bitten the big one in the first game.

I'm sure some people question KOLD's decision to open the newscast with NCAA stuff, but it certainly has the Answer Dude in Hoop Heaven. But even I am a little bit curious as to what the top news stories are.

Q. What are the top non-basketball news stories of the past week?

A. Well, I sorta like the one about the shut-in whose death was apparently caused by his own methane-laden flatulence. (I think I sat next to that guy at the packed-house showing of Independence Day last summer.)

But my favorite was the announcement by Sen. John McCain, the leader in the Congressional fight for campaign finance reform. McCain said that in 1998 he will voluntarily restrict himself to $2.2 million in campaign spending, unless someone runs against him!!!

This clown is willing to spend $2.2 mil for the one vote he would need to win an uncontested race, but let anybody step up against him and the rules are off. No wonder there's no hope for any real reform.

Q. What are we supposed to do with all of those daily newspapers that were shouting the start of the decline of the Wildcat basketball program just three short weeks ago?

A. All too often daily papers try to suck up to their reading public by flapping in the breeze whencever it blows. When the Cats slipped to fifth in a tough Pac-10 race, the doomsayers fired up their engines. But now, kids all over the country are going to want to play for Arizona, and (despite what you read in the dailies) that's the way it's always been.

Remember, the rule for reading daily papers these days is: Read, Regurgitate, Recycle.

Q. What's the biggest mystery this week?

A. Where do they find all those people to sell T-shirts on street corners? Are they stragglers left over from the Gem & Mineral Show? Or are they carnies in town a week early for Spring Fling?

Q. So who's going to win it all?

A. Arizona, of course. Why even ask? TW

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