Greg Hansen: 48 hours later, sky has stopped falling

Arizona guard Mark Lyons, right, dives at the ball and pokes it away from USC guard Jio Fontan, causing a turnover in the first half.

College basketball is such a fragile and fickle game that even the blue bloods sometimes arrive at the Final Four uncertain if they followed a blueprint or if they just made it up on the run.

The composition of most power programs became so fluid after Arizona's Final Four visits of 1988, 1994, 1997 and 2001, that those stable UA teams are now viewed as old-school.

Louisville's dynamic guard, Chris Smith began his career at Seton Hall, transferred to Manhattan and is now the Cardinals' third-leading scorer. Manhattan? Amazing.

Kentucky's explosive Terrence Jones, an Oregon kid, called a press conference, looked into the cameras, and placed a Washington Huskies cap on his head. Eighteen days later he bolted for Kentucky.

Ohio State's valuable sixth man, Evan Ravenal, transferred from Boston College, where he averaged 2.8 points per game.

And where do you start with Kansas? The Jayhawks and Jeff Withey would not be part of this grouping had Arizona not imploded during Lute Olson's retirement saga.

Each Final Four team benefited in some way from Arizona's transitional period.

Louisville point guard Peyton Siva, who played at Jason Terry's high school in Seattle, participated in the Lute Olson Elite Camp and in Tucson's Cactus Classic; he might've been successfully lured to Arizona had the timing been better.

Kentucky guard Doron Lamb visited Arizona in January 2010 (he watched the rebuilding Wildcats lose at home to Washington State) but ultimately Sean Miller was working at a deficit, having arrived long after Lamb had established relationships with other recruiters.

Miller strongly recruited Ohio State sixth man Jordan Sibert, who grew up a few miles from the Xavier campus and had the Musketeers in his final list of schools. One of the reasons Sibert picked Ohio State was because he wanted to play with prep All-America center Jared Sullinger.

And who recruited Sullinger to OSU? Archie Miller, Sean's brother, then a Buckeye assistant.

Kansas went directly through Arizona to get a priceless component to this Final Four team.

In June 2007, soon after Kevin O'Neill returned to be part of Olson's coaching staff, the Wildcats had so much muscle that they went after Louisville's top committed recruit, the 7-foot Withey of San Diego.

It took three weeks to turn Withey's head. Triple-teamed by O'Neill, Olson and Josh Pastner, Withey ultimately phoned Louisville Rick Pitino to tell him he would not play for the Cardinals after all.

Impressed by Arizona's recruiting strength, Withey chose the Wildcats and at that time told reporters "I think that's a national championship team right there."

(Pause here to dab at your eyes.)

Withey would ideally join forward Emmanuel Negedu, point guard Brandon Jennings and shooting guard Brendon Lavender in a four-man class of 2008 that some projected as the No. 1 class in the country.

"Lute Olson is a winner," Withey told Rivals.com. "Kevin O'Neill knows how to make NBA players."

And then it all came crashing down.

Negedu withdrew his pledge to be a Wildcat. He enrolled at Tennessee, averaged 1.9 points per game and, decked by heart problems, transferred to New Mexico. He averaged 4.7 for the Lobos before forced to quit basketball with more medical issues.

Jennings jumped to an Italian pro league and didn't play any college basketball. Lavender became a career sub at Arizona. Withey transferred to Kansas.

It took him a bit, but Withey developed into a fabulous player. He was the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year. He has blocked 129 shots in 37 games. How good is that? Loren Woods, who was a shot-blocking machine on Arizona's 2001 Final Four team, set the UA's single-season school record with 102.

Can you imagine how good Arizona would have been with Withey's size and numbers (9.2 points, 6.2 rebounds) this season? The Wildcats would have gone from 23 victories to 30 or thereabouts.

Withey could still win the national championship he spoke of in the summer of 2007, but with Kansas, not Arizona.

The Wildcats fell short when their dream class that included Withey, Jennings and Negedu and was replaced by Kyle Fogg, Garland Judkins and D.J. Shumpert.

Withey took a lot of grief when he left for KU. The anonymous message board knotheads ridiculed him and his mother, Debbie, who, it turns out, knew exactly what they were doing and got out while the getting was good.

It's not that Kansas hasn't messed up. Two key recruits in the Class of 2010, guard Josh Selby and forward Royce Woolridge were busts.

But with Withey and All-American Thomas Robinson up front, the Jayhawks, unlike Arizona, had enough to cover for the fickle nature of college basketball.

And do you know who KU beat to get Robinson? They beat Memphis' star recruiter, then-assistant coach Josh Pastner, the man who helped to steal Withey from Louisville.

So keep that in mind when you read that Arizona's basketball recruiting Class of 2012 is ranked No. 1 nationally.

The road to the 2016 Final Four starts now. Expect a few wild turns.