Pope is just as comfortable spewing out his Circle Theory as he is spilling bodies near the basket. "What we need is to not be a linear society but a circular society," explains Pope. "Then we'd realize the closest emotion to love is hate. You can relate it to basketball. You can say I've never in my life missed a jump shot. I've just taken them from the wrong spots."
Perhaps the Circle Theory would serve to console several victims of last week's heartbreak. Edney didn't drive through you, Missouri; you were just concentrating on a different player. You didn't call a timeout you didn't have, Lawrence Moten; you and your coaches were counting them in a different dimension of time and space. The hypothesis that generally prevails at tournament time, however, is not quite that elusive. It's called the Only the Strongest Survive Theory, and this year's Sweet 16 is proof of its veracity.