Forget Christmas, it’s conference championship and NCAA tournament time! Even with the Memphis Tigers needing the benevolence of divine providence to make it into the field of 68 this year, I still love this part of the season. Last weekend and earlier this week, I got to watch some of the small conference championships. These are often more exciting to watch than the power conference tournaments, because you’ve got these one-bid conferences whose tournament champion receives an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, usually as a 14, 15 or 16 seed. Most often these teams get smashed by the Kentucky’s and Duke’s of the world, but to watch them compete and celebrate you’d think they’d just won the national championship. I love their enthusiasm. So we’ve got wall-to-wall college hoops through Sunday, then the selection show Sunday evening, then 48 games from next Thursday through Sunday. It’s a basketball fan’s dream, all the upsets and buzzer-beaters, the roller-coaster emotions, watching the brackets slowly fill in. I watched the NCAA tournament starting in 1982, and it has never lost its allure, not even as an adult does it lose its magic.