How 'bout them Dawgs!?!
I've gotta say it. You know I do. And this time it really is an appropriate question.
I mean really, now. If we were in Indiana they'd make a movie about this past weekend. Or maybe not. The script might be rejected as being too implausible.
But we aren't in Indiana, or Hollywood - the Land of Oz, maybe, but not Hollywood - and the events of the past weekend were not a part of "Hoosiers Part II." They were real life, or as real as life gets in the sports world.
And you think there was madness in March basketball before!
OK. Just in case you were in Hawaii last week, or in the former Soviet Union, or on another planet, here's what happened.
The Georgia basketball team, which hasn't been very good this year - OK, they've been just two degrees north of terrible - entered the SEC tournament at the Georgia Dome seeded dead last - sixth in their six-team division. The worst record in the conference. The administration was probably just waiting for the tournament to be over to fire the current coach Dennis Felton and start looking for his replacement.
They were playing Ole Miss in the first round - a team that had beaten them handily just a few days earlier - in Athens. "One and done," the smart money was saying, and let's get back to spring football practice.
Well, glory be! These much-maligned mongrels matched Mississippi in regulation and beat them in overtime.
A rare conference win, but nothing to get particularly excited about. All that meant was that Georgia would play the part of sacrificial lamb to Kentucky in Friday night's late game. When I say late, I mean late. The scheduled game time was 9:45, but everybody knows that these things run behind and that the game would start later than the announced time.
You would have had to be a prophet to know how much later!
At 9:40 Friday evening a tornado hit downtown Atlanta.
That's worth repeating, since it had never happened before in the history of the world.
At 9:40 Friday evening a tornado hit downtown Atlanta - including the Georgia Dome, where Mississippi State and Alabama were trying to finish up their game. I wasn't at the game but my 11-year-old nephew Tyler was. He said it sounded like a freight train was passing by, which isn't very original but is probably accurate since everybody who has ever been around a tornado has said the same thing.
I wonder what tornadoes sounded like before we had trains?
At any rate, inside the dome the catwalk swayed and the scoreboard swung back and forth and debris fell from the ceiling. The teams scurried for safety and the 25,000 or so fans who were still inside the arena wondered what was going on. Eventually, of course, Mississippi State was able to finish their game with the Crimson Tide, while the Cat and Dog fight was postponed for 12 hours and would take place at Georgia Tech, of all places.
And, hats off to the Institute, by the way. They worked all night making their facility available - and at no charge. The Trade School showed enormous class, and I don't mind giving credit where credit is due.
But since only 40 percent of the fans holding tickets to the game would fit in Alexander Memorial Coliseum, the powers that be decided that no one would be allowed inside except close friends, family and support personnel.
Advantage Georgia. A lot more blue-clothed people were holding tickets than red-and-black.
The game tipped off at high noon as more threatening storms approached from the west. And, miracle of miracles, the undermanned Bulldogs fought and scratched and clawed and somehow stayed in the game until half-time. They were still in the game at the 10-minute mark of the second half. They were still in the game at the end and when it was all over, they were ahead - by four skinny points.
Nice little mini-run under unusual conditions, but they had to turn around and play another game that night, against a Mississippi State team that had been lying around in bed while Georgia was involved in a bare-knuckled brawl that afternoon. End of the story. End of the season. Maybe Georgia AD Damon Evans would reconsider the decision he had yet to make about firing Dennis Felton.
Except the wrong Bulldogs won the nightcap. The Dawgs defied the odds and beat the No. 1 team from the SEC West, earning a trip to the Conference Championship game on Sunday afternoon.
Not even Hollywood would have the last placed team winning three games in 29 hours to win their league and advance to the NCAA tournament.
But Georgia did just that. Amazing. A miracle. Put on your dancing shoes.
How 'bout them Dawgs!