Jordan's return saves sports

Jordan is back finally.

If there was anything that needed to happen to cure the ails of sports these days, it was for M.J. to come back.

The baseball strike doesn't matter. The Arizona basketball team's loss to Miami (Ohio) in the first round of the NCAA Tournament doesn't matter. The best basketball player in the world is back.

I am definitely not a Chicago Bulls fan. Never have been, never will be. But I have respect for Jordan.

I love watching him. You have to love him. It's like watching poetry in motion.

The only drawback to Jordan's return to basketball is that everyone and his brother is going to jump back on the Bulls' bandwagon. Well, forget it. The Los Angeles Lakers are back and going all the way, and there is nothing Jordan or anyone is going to do about that. ...

More on the Lakers: They are a team with stopping power. They beat the Phoenix Suns at home earlier this season and have been able to maintain their third-place status in the Pacific Division even without their best player, Cedric Ceballos, who has been out with an injury since the All-Star break.

Lakers point guard Nick Van Exel has been averaging over 18 points per game and Eddie Jones is a possible Rookie of the Year candidate. They can creep up on teams because they haven't gotten any respect since Magic Johnson retired.

Don't be surprised when the Lakers bring the title back to where it belongs in Los Angeles. ...

Now, on to the Arizona game and another first-round loss for the Wildcats.

What happened to the Wildcats?

Well, I hate to say I told you so, but yours truly warned everyone earlier this season that it was dangerous to continuously rely upon Damon Stoudamire.

Did Miles Simon come through for the Wildcats?

No.

Did Joseph Blair come through?

No.

Ben Davis was at home watching the game because of a stupid suspension. He really came through by getting suspended, didn't he.

Get out of here. All I can say is this: Unless Mike Dickerson becomes the next Jordan or Reggie Geary learns how to shoot consistently, next year will be worse. ...

So, Arizona State and UCLA are in the Sweet 16. At least these two teams have saved the Pacific 10 Conference from total embarrassment in the Tournament. What are their chances?

Probably as good as anybody else's.

This is by far the wildest Tournament to date. Sunday saw four games decided at the final buzzer. ASU has the athletes in "Super" Mario Bennett, James Bacon and others to make some serious noise in the Southeast region, but they still have to get past Kentucky and most likely North Carolina to get to the Final Four.

The Bruins definitely have the firepower with the O'Bannon (Ed and Charles) brothers and point guard Tyus Edney to go all the way, but they wavered a bit against Missouri.

So who's going to go all the way?

My Final Four picks are Connecticut, Wake Forest, UNC and Arkansas. The picks usually seem easy, but not this year. Anything can and has happened already, but these four look like the most solid teams left.

Defending national champion Arkansas has the experience. North Carolina has Rasheed Wallace, Jerry Stackhouse and Dean Smith. Wake Forest has Randolph Childress, who has yet to be stopped in big games, and Connecticut is the dark horse, with every

one expecting UCLA to come out of the West.

Who is going to be the big winner in this thing?

We are the fans because the next two weeks are going to be the best two weeks of college basketball ever.

Patrick Moran is a business and public administration senior and ,despite what people might think, he is always right. His column appears every Wednesday.

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