INDIANAPOLIS - I've spent most of my life covering and following West Virginia University's basketball team.
I've watched and interacted with the fans of WVU's athletic program for over 40 years.
On this day, if I could have one wish granted, it would be that all those Mountaineer fans who have celebrated and groused, those who have cheered and teared, those who have decorated their toilets with WVU garb - then watched seasons swirl away in disappointment - could attend this Final Four.
For this, my friends, is spectacular.
The wish would be to include all of those living who have slapped the flying WV on cars, trucks and trailers. Those who have worn Pat White's football jersey - without having personally witnessed a game - or stood in line for an autograph of Cam Thoroughman.
I wish this was for more than the media and those with the wherewithal to afford the trip and the jacked-up prices of hotel rooms, T-shirts and tickets.
Because, yes, the point man for WVU's rise to tonight's game against Duke is coach Bob Huggins, but this has been a collaborative effort.
On Friday, one national radio talking head complimented Huggins because, he said, "Let's face it, West Virginia has been a punchline.''
He meant recruiting players to the state is a tough sell, and he's correct. Coach after coach after coach has told me, mostly privately, it's a bear to recruit to the Mountain State because of the mostly blatantly inaccurate stereotypes with which we're saddled.
Some have said it's difficult to recruit African-Americans to West Virginia because of our relatively small black population.
But, despite all of the above, there's always been strong support for the Mountaineers. There's been undeniable - from time to time uncontrollable - strong support.
Sometimes recruits see that support and fall in love.
I equate it to a woman with suspect, wealthy men doting on her, yet choosing a good man with a golden heart. Hey, sometimes it happens.
Today, WVU is at the end of the college basketball rainbow - the Final Four. On the outside of the huge Lucas Oil Stadium, a sign proclaims, "The Road Ends Here.''
Back home, that road, like our interstates, had to be paved by many.
Inside, the area delegated for the working media is absolutely sprawling. The number of media members present for the event reminds one of ants on a fallen ice cream cone.
Then there's the basketball court, raised above the football turf. You could have looked up and watched WVU's Da'Sean Butler leading his team onto the court, smile plastered, for the public shootaround on one of the expansive, crystal-clear TV screens.
And many did. Thousands attended the shootarounds, including a very nice showing for the Mountaineers.
"This is great,'' said WVU freshman Deniz Kilicli. "I wasn't expecting this kind of crowd. This kind of court. This kind of organization.
"Going into the NCAA tournament, I was like, OK. I kind of imagined that. But they told me there's going to be 70,000 people in here [Saturday]. That's big.''
It's a big day for the big dog of the Big East. (It's also, by the way, a big payday. Big East associate commissioner John Paquette said WVU will receive $1 million for its Final Four appearance - aside from getting its equal share of the 15 NCAA units, worth $220,000 apiece, earned by the league.)
It's an experience Jimi Hendrix would have envied.