Filed by Gentry Estes
GREENSBORO, N.C. A sign leading into the media workroom at the Greensboro Coliseum reads, Through these doors walk the finest sportswriters in college basketball.
About half of them have gone home.
The hallways werent quite so crowded Friday, a day after four of the eight teams shipped here by the NCAA tournament committee were eliminated during Thursdays opening round.
Truth is, if it wasnt for Chris Loftons last-second heave to beat Winthrop, theres a good chance I wouldnt be here either.
Which would I prefer? Well, thats not up to me, revealing the dilemma of any beat writer following a sports team. We go where it goes, so in many ways, we benefit from its success.
I love every aspect of the NCAA tournament. So sure, I didnt mind Bruce Pearl taking Tennessees program to such new heights because I could enjoy them, too. At the same time, I certainly dont wear orange to the arena. I dont even own an orange shirt.
You learn, in this business, to resist emotional investment in the outcome of each game, simply because its both unethical and more difficult to do your job if youre not impartial. Thursdays game displayed such a range of emotions for those involved, you simply cant write about such a thing if youre elated or bummed out.
Neither would be fair to the people I cover or the readers who allow me to inform and entertain them each day.
Ive learned that the first round of the NCAA tournament is about who loses. From this point on, its about who wins. Another UT victory means a plane trip to our Nations Capitol and another week of hoping that the FBI terror alert about sporting events was more out of precaution than necessity.
I care more about that than if UT gives me reason to go there. Heres hoping my fellow, ahem, finest sportswriters in college basketball agree.