We've reached the end of March, when college basketball prepares for one final weekend of attention, and the NBA prepares to run the show for the next few months.
In such a strange, shortened season, it feels impossible to believe the NBA playoffs begin a month from tomorrow. Normally a cause for celebration, this season, one cannot help but feel something more like a sigh of relief.
Only one more month of watching subpar basketball brought on by a lack of practice time, too many games in too few nights and whatever other factors we consider blood on the hands of the NBA lockout.
Another month holding our breath as we watch star players limp around on achy knees, backs and wrists, hoping we read the injury report tomorrow as day-to-day rather than indefinitely.
One more month watching teams look bound for the Finals one night, the lottery the next.
It's been a confusing stretch of basketball, one filled with the drama we typically associate with the NCAA Tournament...as well as the quality of play typically reserved for the NCAA Tournament.
But this is okay, because we've had basketball. No nuclear winter, no forced emphasis on Tim Tebow to fill the void (OK bad example...).
While we watch the final month of the NBA regular season, keep in mind the beautiful game we saw in the 2011 playoffs is bound to come back in the spring of 2012. It will feel like Christmas morning all over again.