You've seen one rerun, you've seem 'em all. Even M*A*S*H-aholics eventually get bored with the one about Hawkeye and the fumble-footed nurse. If CBS fears something like that before Georgetown faces Villa Nochance for the NCAA championship Monday, I have a suggestion:
Hire the Memphis State pompon squad, and hype the bejesus out of it. Promise 'em Patrick pounding Pinckney, of course, but also lots of cutaways to the sort of girlie gala that stirs some of us to consider auditing Econ. 103 in Elvisville next winter.
Brent, it's the only way to assure an audience.
For shows today, the one Georgetown offered against St. John's was better than the Memphis belles during halftime of the first game only because it lasted longer.
What happened the third time in four tries that Georgetown humbled St. John's this season was the same as Acts II and III. It also would be that way the 14th time they played. And the 24th, as long as the Hoyas had the proper incentive.
Realistically, the Redmen are to Georgetown as Alydar was to Affirmed. They are Douglas in debate with Lincoln, Gehrig in Ruth's shadow, brownies versus chocolate chip cookies.
Very, very good, but not quite the best.
This was no Lehigh the Hoyas ran off the court today. St. John's had three first-round NBA draftees panting about Rupp Arena in frustration and a fourth, Shelton Jones, unable to crack the lineup regularly.
Against a team that might wear the NCAA crown in many other years, Georgetown was too big and too fast, too deep, too quick and too accurate.
Name your tune, the Hoyas will dance to it. And better. They went at 78 rpm to gain control and 33 1/3 to maintain it.
This being a collegiate exercise, a question appropriate for Chris Mullin after the game would have been: what's round, a grainy brown and has tiny grooves?
If he failed to say "basketball," there's a reason. He hardly saw one this game. Fact is, Hoyas Coach John Thompson handled it about as often as the Redmen's ace.
That was because Georgetown assigned David Wingate to crawl inside Mullin's T-shirt and zoned the other four Redmen.
A box-and-one is what it's called, with Wingate chasing Mullin through and around brutal picks that St. John's used to try to free its usually unerring shooter.
"I try and deny him the ball," Wingate explained. "Try to keep his possessions down. That's what happened today (when Mullin could muster just eight shots).
"When he gets the ball, he's a great passer. He gets it into (center Bill) Wennington. That's when they also can hurt us."
This sounds so simple, but the sounds those at courtside heard yelled otherwise. They were the sounds of Wingate's body crashing to the floor.
Mullin once cut from one side of the base line to the other. Wingate wormed his way safely past Wennington and seemed about to join Mullin again when Walter Berry intruded.
Picks are not supposed to move, but Berry slid to his left and laid an enormous hip to Wingate. Some NFL linemen are less effective on trap plays.
Wingate flopped to the floor.
In the past, Thompson has recruited players who delight in such drudgery, or who realize that defense justifies their basketball existence.
Such as Mike Riley, Eric Smith and Gene Smith have become cult heroes to purists enthralled by anyone willing to work the dirty end of the court as well as the glamorous one.
Until Thompson whispered gently in his ear, or perhaps not, Wingate's first instincts were offense. And when he took as many shots as Mullin today -- and scored four more points -- the Hoyas could cruise.
Defense usually takes work by fans to appreciate. But the box-and-one features the fox as well as the harried hen. So most of Wingate's wonderful work was obvious.
But not all.
Willie Glass once slipped around Patrick Ewing and seemed to have created a path to an easy layup. Hardly. Wingate was quick enough to leave Mullin and slap the ball out of bounds as Glass was gathering it for a dunk.
Another time Wingate flew half the length of the court to flick the ball from a red-faced Redman and to a Hoya. Such enthusiasm is well beyond the call of duty, except this game was well beyond ordinary.
This meant that Thompson was even more excited than usual, and that he would be especially helpful to the officials. They do not always appreciate his advice, but seem to tolerate it more than with most coaches.
At the end of the first half, Thompson, livid that a foul had not been called, ended a tantrum by picking up the ball and angrily tossing it in front of an official.
Thompson seemed willing to settle for a technical foul; the gesture certainly seemed to merit one. Had, say, Bob Knight pulled such a stunt, the other team might have an extra point before the first tick of the second half.
Nothing was called.
That had absolutely no effect on the outcome, and in fact might have been a makeup. Earlier in the first half, Glass blatantly leg-whipped Ralph Dalton to the floor; that apparently flagrant act went unpunished.
Difficult as it might be to believe, St. John's played well. Hard and intelligently. Once again, Georgetown got greedy, as has happened so often.
All that was at stake the one time St. John's beat Georgetown was No. 1 in a poll; the Hoyas can grab a little thing like that any old time.
So here we are again. Given a fourth chance, St. John's still couldn't cope. Villanova will be getting its third try at the Hoyas this season. The losses have been by two points, in overtime, and seven.
Make it 10 Monday.