Mixed feelings about Final 4

By Jeffery Armstrong

I'm feeling mixed emotions right now concerning college basketball. The NCAA men's basketball tournament has reached its pinnacle, the Final Four. I'm feeling good because I picked the entire Final Four teams on this my eighth year playing the Men's Tournament Challenge on ESPN.com. I'm feeling a little sad, however, because in four days the college basketball season will be over and the only major sports left will be the likes of NBA basketball, major league steroid users (pro baseball) and the National Hockey League playoffs. Yuck.

I guess I could look forward to the Master's, a major golf tournament which this year ends on my birthday (April 11) and tennis will be in full swing, which means getting to check out Serena and Venus Williams and the other attractive female players on the circuit. Plus, I will have my sports movies to watch like I mentioned in one of my earlier columns months ago and the NFL Draft is on April 24.

But let's stick with March Madness, which will now turn into April Action and I can't wait for the Final Four to start. I'm especially excited that in the March 18th paper, I told all of you that the Final Four teams would be UConn, Duke, Oklahoma State and Georgia Tech. Look it up. And yes, I'm the type of guy to say I told you so.

I'm really excited that those Yellow Jackets of Georgia Tech, or as this one Georgia Bulldogs fan used to write in and say, those "Yaller Jerkets", made it to the Final Four. By the way, that guy hasn't written any bad letters to us about Tech in quite some time n he's probably too busy wallowing in his Alpo to write.

I predicted that the "Jerkets" would beat Kentucky to get to the Final Four, but beating Kansas was just as satisfying. Now I predicted that Oklahoma State would win it all, but if Tech should somehow beat OSU on Saturday, I truly believe they will win it all.

Should the Jackets win, they will either face Duke or UConn, two teams they have already beaten this season. And with all three teams having a star player injured, everyone will play on an even keel. A Tech championship would put a nice cap in the feather, or should I say stinger, of the school's basketball program. I was in high school when Tech's basketball program rose to prominence with the likes of John Salley, Mark Price and other talented athletes like Dennis Scott, Matt Harpring, Duane Ferrell, Kenny Anderson, Stephon Marbury and Brian Oliver.

After all these years, it's nice to see Tech make the Final Four again and it would be even nicer to see the Ramblin' Wreck win a national title like the football team has done. Should they win, I really believe a title ring should be given to all the players (and former head coach Bobby Cremins) who made the team what it is today. Not just the above-mentioned superstars, but former Jackets like Drew and Jon Barry, Tom Hammonds, Bruce Dalyrimple, Jon Babul, Tony Akins, Alvin Jones, Malcolm Mackey, Shaun Fein, Dion Glover and the immortal Matt Geiger.

Jeffery Armstrong is a sports writer for the Daily and his column appears on Thursdays. He can be reached at jarmstrong@news-daily.com.