It’s not as great a fairy tale when, in the men’s NCAA basketball Final Four championship tournament, Cinderella arrives at the ball. Oh, how we love our darlings, these Cinderellas: Loyola, George Mason, Virginia Commonwealth to name a few.

A basketball romantic’s dream, however, is a CBS Sports exec’s nightmare. St. Peter, a college whose undergraduate enrollment (approximately 2,900) wouldn’t crack the top ten among Indiana’s largest high schools, would have been a disaster for viewer ratings and the opportunity to secure premium ad rate for the Final Four telecasts.

The Peacocks hailed from Jersey City with no previous national recognition. Granted there are two smaller Eastern universities in the mix (Duke, Villanova), but they’re considered blue blood programs. The Peacocks played great team defense to fuel their surprising tournament run, but a well-prepared North Carolina (UNC) Tarheel team ended their dream of a trip to New Orleans.

No morphing took place among pumpkins, mice, a lizard, and a goose for today’s big dance.

Thank you - Coach Hubert Davis and the Tarheels - from CBS’s C-suite, and from my heart, too, for ending the Peacocks’ run.

I’m certainly glad to see UNC instead of the Peacocks among the Final Four facing Duke in the NCAA tournament for the first time in program history. Let’s throw in Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s swan song for good measure, and it’s much better tournament fodder than watching St. Pete’s Peacocks whose inevitable end was near.

Thank Heaven the end came last weekend for the small Jesuit school who recently moved from “college” to “university.”

The Kansas Jayhawks will battle the Villanova Wildcats on the other side of the bracket in another contest who’s viewing slot will be time well spent.

While two of the teams have undergraduate enrollment less than 8,000 students (Duke, Villanova) they’ve churned out graduate school alumni relatively closer in proportion to their undergraduate numbers scattered all over among the country’s movers and shakers.

Duke and ‘Nova are programs with a strong national following. Belief their Eastern locations would limit viewer interest would be a misnomer. While Duke is… Duke, launching its thirteenth final four under Coach K’s helm, ‘Nova is no slouch under the guidance of head coach Jay Wright. The Wildcats are among the Big East’s earliest members (since 1980). They’ve won nearly 64% of their NCAA men’s tournament games including titles in 2016 and 2018, and they made another final four appearance in 2009.

For those of you born before 1977, you’ll recall ‘Nova also had another amazing tournament run all the way to the title capped by a win over Georgetown where the Wildcats - some of them, it turns out, were stoned when they met President Reagan later in 1985 - shot 70% from the field in the classic clash of Big East schools.

Kansas and North Carolina’s programs span decades of tournament success, and they’ve hoisted championship hardware too. If you’re a regular reader, you know I won’t laundry list the accomplishments. This is a column, not an article.

I expect the only drop-off in viewership will come from the West since the Jayhawks are the farthest West-reaching team. Heck, college basketball’s core viewing audience is the Midwest and the Eastern U.S. anyway.

The South semistate boys’ basketball champions in last weekend’s IHSAA state finals swept the day’s action with the blue-ribboned medals. All four finals featured a Catholic school. Most recently (2019) three private schools were among the finalists in classes 1A through 3A. Before you grouse about this, they finished the day two up and two down last weekend.

I’m sure there was some grousing about the Catholic schools among all four classes, but these parochial programs finished two-for-four on the day. Indiana does not have enough private schools to have its own state tourney for them the way New York conducts its prep basketball business with a separate title. The Empire State has its own athletic association for Catholic schools.

If you’re an Indiana high school basketball fan who has trouble with the success Catholic schools have in state tournaments among all high school sports, the kids in your public-school districts who compete against them are – to their credit - the ones who tend to make little or no excuses about the parochial and other private opponents they face each season.