Opinion: Start the madness

Published 9:08 am Tuesday, March 19, 2013

March Madness is here. The brackets will be filled out soon, and everyone will await the first big upset. I remember when I was in high school watching what I still consider the greatest basketball game ever. The 1985 championship game between Villanova and Georgetown was a lopsided matchup on paper.

The Hoyas had future pros in Patrick Ewing, Reggie Williams and David Wingate, and had already defeated Villanova twice in the regular season. I was watching the game because it was fun to watch Patrick Ewing dominate college basketball. I was also tuned in because starting in 1979, when Magic Johnson and Michigan State beat Larry Bird, a great college basketball revival began that included Michael Jordan canning a jumper to win in 1982 and Jim Valvano running all around the court in 1983 as his N.C. State team was that year’s Cinderella team. Ewing was just so much bigger and better than everyone back then. Georgetown was the dominant force with Patrick and they just seemed so invincible.

Villanova got my attention because of its run to the final game was so impressive. Knocking out Michigan (number one seed) with Roy Tarpley, North Carolina (number 2 seed) and a Final Four victory over Memphis State with Keith Lee, who went 31-4 and was my pick to win it all that year, was quite the shocker. Another reason it got my attention was a funny coach named Rollie Massimino, who led Villanova. He was very active on the sidelines and fun to watch.

Email newsletter signup

The Villanova Wildcats started the game with Dwayne McClain, Harold Pressley, Harold Jensen and Gary McClain not ever missing a shot. It was crazy. The only player I had ever even heard about on Villanova was Ed Pinckney. Every time Georgetown shot; the Wildcats came back and hit another jumper. They also never missed a free throw and at the half led the Hoyas of Georgetown 29-28. The second half was a standing in front of the television, crazy experience as Villanova continued to just hit jumper after jumper and ended the game shooting a remarkable 79 percent from the floor. Villanova was a giant killer on this night as Georgetown and Patrick Ewing lost this spectacular championship game, 66-64.

This game was so significant because for me only hockey and the Packers were games that I would yell and jump around about. Now, I guess I could add college basketball to that list.

So bring on March Madness! I am ready.