The hard part is done. An individual champion has been crowned -- Stanford's Cameron Wilson in a playoff over Georgia Tech's Ollie Schniederjans -- and the field is down to eight. If you don't record or watch the NCAA Men's Championship the next two days, you will regret missing the opportunity for all of eternity.
Okay, that's a tad strong. But if you're tired of another week of 72-hole stroke-play events with logo-clads acting bored, a few points for your consideration.
* Prairie Dunes. One of the great courses in the world is on display, and Golf Channel has gone all out with some stellar crane camera shots to put this Perry and Press Maxwell design into perspective. Even with all the rains, the wildly contoured greens are still wicked fast. Watching today's college players negotiate the bumps and breaks made for great fun during Monday's first day of live coverage.
* Team Match Play. Yes, the ultimate in this realm still looms this fall at the Ryder Cup, but in these school-vs.-school contests composed of five individual matches, all five matches count. Though television hasn't been there to show it, the format has proven wildly dramatic since it was started in 2009. Throw in a pesky protagonist like Prairie Dunes, and the antics may be greater than ever. You'll get to see the passion, the agony, the burden of team golf on display, and it'll be a reminder that this same format -- only with three-person teams -- would have been terrific for the Olympics.
* Push carts. NCAA individual champion Wilson (above) started using one a few years ago because of a bad back. His Stanford teammate Patrick Rodgers, college golf's top-ranked player and potentially the PGA Tour's next rising star, realized Wilson was on to something. Now the entire Cardinal team, the No. 1 seed heading into the match-play competition, uses the vehicles banned at some clubs because . . . well they look wrong, apparently. Trust me, Wilson and Rodgers are cool customers with the brainpower you'd expect from Stanford golfers. They're onto something that is accepted seemingly everywhere else in the world. Let's hope they're trendsetters. We need more people walking. And fewer back injuries.
Coverage Tuesday has Golf Channel on-air from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET followed by Golf Central and then afternoon coverage from 5 p.m. ET until the conclusion of play.
QUARTERFINAL MATCH PLAY:
7 a.m. CT Match 1 - No. 2 Alabama vs. No. 7 SMU (off No. 1 tee) Match 2 - No. 3 LSU vs. No. 6 UCLA (off No. 10 tee)
7:50 a.m. CT Match 3 - No. 1 Stanford vs. No. 8 Illinois (off No. 1 tee) Match 4 - No. 4 Oklahoma St. vs. No. 5 Georgia Tech (off No. 10 tee)
SEMIFINAL MATCH PLAY:
1 p.m. CT Winner of match No. 1 vs. winner of match No. 2
1:45 p.m. CT Winner of match No. 3 vs. winner of match No. 4
The two teams advancing from the semifinals Tuesday, will meet for the 2014 NCAA national championship at 1:20 p.m. CT Wednesday.