As the NCAA Basketball Championship Tournament wears on, most Southland basketball buffs, especially those who love the college brand, are ho-humming their way through it . . . maybe even ignoring it. The shutout of all local schools cooled any heavy interest.
But for the Al McGuires out there, the basketball freaks who can't get enough and wish it was a year-round sport, this will be another banner weekend. CBS has scheduled double-headers of regional finals today and Sunday.
Today's schedule, starting at 10:30 a.m. over Channels 2 and 8: the Midwest Regional from Reunion Arena in Dallas--Oklahoma (31-5) vs. Memphis State (30-3), with Brent Musburger and Billy Packer reporting.
At approximately 12:45 p.m., the East Regional from Providence, R.I.--Georgetown (33-2) vs. Georgia Tech (27-7), with Frank Glieber and James Brown announcing.
Sunday's schedule, starting at 10:30 a.m. over Channels 2 and 8: the Southeast Regional from Birmingham Civic Center, with Verne Lundquist and Larry Conley reporting.
At approximately 12:45 p.m., the West Regional from McNichols Sports Arena in Denver, called by Gary Bender and Doug Collins.
It's a good thing Ron Luciano, the jolly ex-umpire giant, is busy writing books these days. Otherwise Joe Garagiola and Bob Uecker should be concerned.
Luciano, who should still be behind a mike somewhere, turned up on ABC's "Good Morning America" Thursday and it was as if he'd never been away. He's turned on, expressive, animated, a genuinely funny man without even trying.
Luciano was plugging his second book, "Strike Two" (first was "The Umpire Strikes Back"). It was true confession time with Frank Gifford, who was sitting in for David Hartman.
There's a third Luciano tome in the works. "The working title is 'Your Own Personal Diet,' that true?" Gifford asked. "We can't talk about that yet . . . what do mean diet ?" the huge, 6 foot 4 Luciano laughed. "I'm only 330. I'm from a little town in Upstate New York. They're all Italians and relatives. And when I walk in they say (breaking into dialect), 'Oh, you gotta eat. Sit down.' So I walk into a dozen homes and eat about 12 entrees a day."
Getting serious (almost), Luciano said what he missed most was the contact with players and fellow umpires. "How they could come up with those super, great lines! I never had great lines," Luciano moaned. "A manager would come up to me and tell me something. 'Oh yeah,' that was my great comeback.
"Dick Fellows, umpire in the National League, had the best line I ever heard. There was a foul ball hit down the line. Fellows indicated fair. The manager came storming out. 'Whadda mean it's fair, it's fair?'
"From 200 feet away, I could see the chalk (on the foul line) fly up," said Fellows. "'You couldn't see chalk at 200 feet,' the manager bellowed.
"Let me tell you something," Fellows said he calmly responded. "On a clear day I can see the sun and that sucker is 93 million miles away."
ROUNDUP: Today, NCAA Women's Tourney, Old Dominion vs. Ohio State, 9 a.m. ESPN . . . Tennis, Virginia Slims, 10 a.m. USA . . . Baseball, Orioles vs. Dodgers, 10:30 a.m. Dodgervision . . . Baseball, Mets vs. Braves, 10:30 a.m. WTBS . . . Golf, Las Vegas Invitational, 2 p.m. (4) (36) (39) . . . Skiing, Men's Slalom, 2 p.m. (7) (10) . . . SportsWorld, 3 p.m. (4); 12:30 p.m. (36) (39) . . . Pro Bowlers Tour, 3 p.m. (7) (3) (10) (42) . . . Wide World of Sports, 4:30 p.m. (7) (3) (42); 5:30 p.m. (10) . . . USFL Football, Arizona vs. L.A. Express, 6 p.m. ESPN . . . NBA Basketball, Clippers vs. Trail Blazers, 7:30 p.m. (11).
SUNDAY: Tennis, Virginia Slims finals, 10 a.m. USA . . . Baseball, Braves vs. Dodgers, 10:30 a.m. (11) . . . Golf, Las Vegas Invitational, 11:30 a.m. (4) (36) (39) . . . USFL Football, New Jersey vs. Tampa Bay, 11:30 a.m. (7) (3) (10) (42) . . . Sportscope, 3 p.m. (4) . . . Skiing, Women's Slalom, 3:30 p.m. (7) (3); 4 p.m. (10) . . . Sports-World, Superstars, 4 p.m. (4) (36); 1:30 p.m. (39) . . . NBA Basketball, Pistons vs. Lakers, 7 p.m. ON.