The opening of college basketball. The first warmups, the first tips, the first dunk, the first three-pointer, the first bad call, the first coach to lose his cool.
It's what we've been waiting for since April, when Kansas ended the season in one of the best National Championship games ever played.
It's what you've been waiting for since your team inexplicably lost in the first round of the tournament (I'm talking to you, Vanderbilt fans).
It's what you've been waiting for since your team blew it in the Final Four and now you are considered favorites.
It's what I've been waiting for since Syracuse blew a chance to go to the NCAA Tournament because of a poor performance in the Big East Tournament.
But that was all last year. For many teams a chance for redemption started this week. The Orange start its quest tonight.
The stage is set. The dance team is ready. The pep band is prepared to blare The Final Countdown. And one team in five months will be ready to cut down the nets.
Across Facebook, students are counting down the days, hours, minutes, and seconds to the opening tip, to the chance to see the student-athletes they idolize chase that loose ball, put back that missed eight-foot jumper, and vie for that unfathomable upset.
The students are ready. Marquette's will come armed with psychedelic pinwheels to distract free-throw shooters. Oklahoma State's will line the court with deafening noise. Virginia's will watch an animated cavalry take down the opponent's mascot on the jumbo-tron.
USC fans will adorn themselves in Trojan Fever shirts. Pitt's in the classic Oakland Zoo apparel.
Fans will fill the Palestra, Mackey Arena, and Hinkle Fieldhouse.
The Cameron Crazies will be jumping, Jayhawk fans singing Rock Chalk, Jayhawks and Florida's fanatics gator-chopping.
Players will fear the Grateful Red, the Izzone, and Hoya Blue, but loved by their own Zona Zoo, 'Nova Nation, and Orange Krush.
Kentucky's E-RUPP-tion Zone will dish out the insults to opposing players who won't find a comfy home in UCLA's "Den," or see any friendly fire from Syracuse's Otto's Army.
No matter how much each fan and player hates its rivals and opponents, everyone has something in common. And that's hope.
Hoosiers hope this season won't be a disaster.
Oregon State hopes to win a conference game this year.
Mid-majors hope they can show they don't deserve that title.
And we all hope to be the final team dancing in Detroit.
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