The Dagger and Gus Johnson welcome you to March Madness

On the steps on Independence Hall every July 4th, the Declaration of Independence is read aloud, commemorating the anniversary of the signing of the most important document in the history of our country. On the holiday celebrating Martin Luther King's birthday, people young and old across the land honor the civil rights leader by listening to the recording of his famous "I Have a Dream speech". And every Festivus, a man, his son and a pole pay homage to their self-created anti-holiday with feats of strengths and airing of grievances.

It's time for college basketball fans to have a similar tradition. It's now midnight on the east coast, which means that the greatest day of the year is upon us. In 12 short hours, the 2009 NCAA tournament will tip-off in Philadelphia, Portland, Kansas City and Greensboro. For the next three weeks we'll watch the single greatest event in all of sports: 63 games to determine the 2009 NCAA division I men's basketball champion.

But the beginning always seems so anticlimactic. You're all excited to watch games starting at noon, but are always disappointed to remember that your local CBS affiliate does about 10 minutes of news before the basketball begins. Then, without much fanfare, Greg Gumbel welcomes you to CBS' NCAA tournament broadcast center in New York, tells us we have a great slate of games and then sends us off to Carter Blackburn and Jay Bilas in Philadelphia, where they'll bring you BYU-Texas A&M. No pomp, no circumstance ... not anymore.

For The Dagger is creating a new tradition that will work its way across America until it's as natural as carving up a turkey at Thanksgiving. We here decree that at 12 p.m. noon, on the first Thursday of the NCAA tournament, Americans nationwide should sit down in front of their computers and watch this:

The shots, the screaming, the comeback, the incomprehensible screaming, the emotion, the crying, the Gus! The NCAA tournament is perfectly encapsulated in that clip. It's a must-watch before the tournament.

Gus Johnson, you are like Jefferson, Washington and King rolled into one. You are the father of getting us hyped for the tourney and for that I, nay, the world thanks you.

Enjoy the day. The Madness is upon us.

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