It was on the schedule for weeks, and it was the dangling carrot getting me through the February doldrums.
But all of that anticipation and excitement eventually gave way to disappointment, shock and fear. That is our reality as sports fans and Americans.
Many of us, myself included, did not truly grasp the severity of COVID-19 until last week when everything changed.
As I watched Syracuse take on North Carolina in the ACC Tournament and pondered whether it was going to be okay to fly to Las Vegas, I found out that utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the virus.
Right then and there, everything changed.
The NBA announced its season would be suspended indefinitely, and it was obvious that the rest of the sports world was going to follow suit.
As I dialed into the second half of Syracuse-UNC, it dawned on me that it was going to be the last sporting event I watch for a while.
Sure enough, I was right.
Conference tournaments were soon cancelled, Opening Day for Major League Baseball was pushed back for months and - the worst news of all as a sports fan - the NCAA Tournament for 2020 was cancelled.
No bracket, no Selection Sunday, no one shining moment.
It is still very hard to process.
Now, there are far bigger problems right now in this country and in our world than not being able to watch sports.
The leagues are doing the right thing, and the most important thing we can do is listen to the doctors and scientists to stop the rapid spread of COVID-19.
That said, in many other times of crisis throughout our nation’s history, sports has been the great diversion.
From World War II to 9/11 to Hurricane Sandy, the games have been there. They’ve allowed us to get our minds off the horrors in society.
Throughout the next two-plus months and maybe more, however, the world of sports will go silent.
For somebody like me, it’s unthinkable.
How will I fill five days a week of content on my radio show with no games on the horizon? It’s a dark reality, but I’ll do my best to find a way, as I’m sure you all will with whatever challenges your new reality presents to you.
Stay tuned and stay safe.
You can listen to me overnight Monday through Friday from 1 to 6 a.m. on WFAN.