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THE INSIDE TRACK | THE HOT CORNER

A consumer's guide to the best and worst of sports media and merchandise. Ground rules: If it can be read, played, heard, observed, worn, viewed, dialed or downloaded, it's in play here.

May 18, 1999|LARRY STEWART

What: "YES UCONN!" (The official 1999 NCAA basketball championship video)

Producers: NCAA Productions, Black Canyon, CBS

Price: $19.98

If you like puns and cornball writing, you may enjoy this 45-minute tape. Otherwise, you'll probably be disappointed. The makers have simply strung together highlights from the NCAA tournament, thrown in some interviews and cliches, and gotten Jim Nantz to narrate it.

Maybe they were in too big a hurry. The tape went on the market April 27, not even 30 days after the championship game. They even let a slip of the tongue go. Nantz says, "The Huskies won it all, the first national championship in team history," when obviously he should have said school history. A mistake not worth mentioning if it was live television, but this is on film.

The worst thing, though, is the writing, which could have used some editing. First of all, the title is a cliche. "Yes UConn" was used by a number of publications after Connecticut upset Duke in the title game. The Times' headline was "UConn Believe It."

After the tape opens with a Rawlings commercial, Nantz starts things off by saying, "The Huskies are basketball's top dog." He also says, "Yes UConn [he says that a lot], it was an unforgettable three weeks, three weeks that everyone wondered if anyone had what it took to beat Duke? The answer was yes UConn and because you did, you are the national champs."

Some frustrated headline writers must have worked on this tape. A number of headlines appear graphically, and most would never make print in a respectable newspaper or have already been used.

Samples: "It's Like a Vacation . . . at Wally World," referring to Miami of Ohio's Wally Szczerbiak. "Sooner or Luter," referring to Oklahoma's victory over Lute Olsen's Arizona team. "Minnesota is Gonzo" and "Zig Zags," referring to Gonzaga. "Motown Rocks Hollywood," referring to Detroit Mercy beating UCLA.

Some of the footage is good and some of the radio calls used to describe the action are OK. But we hear this at the end of the title game: "What was once a dream is now a reality." Ugh!

Nantz, who certainly didn't write this stuff, follows the theme as he wraps things up with, "Can anyone beat Duke? Well, as we found out, UConn."

The makers of this tape might have taken more time and developed some story lines. You wouldn't expect a Bud Greenspan-type film, but considering the NCAA has been making these highlight tapes since 1990, you expect something a little better than this.

To order: (800) 747-7999.

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