Take on Pirate Sports
From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, March 18, 2003
By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9
Experts at disadvantage in office pools
Picking the NCAA’s is IMPOSSIBLE
Do you know why various Internet sites offer millions of dollars to pick
all of the games correctly in the NCAA Tournament? It’s because it is
That’s why the winner of the office pool is usually somebody who never
keeps up with hoops until March.
One year a girl picked all of her favorite nicknames in each game. One
other time the winner picked his favorite color of uniform in each game. I
even know someone that did quite well in his pool, picking alphabetically!
One year my daughter got the exact Final Four correct and still lost the
pool by a single point from the first round.
With all of that in mind, I submit my Final Four picks for your
In the West I like Kansas. The Jayhawks are going to win this thing for
Roy Williams one of these years. Take away one key injury, and the Jayhawks
might be my pick to win it all. This is the most difficult regional, but I
think Kansas beats Duke in the Sweet 16 and then takes care of Arizona.
In the Midwest I have Kentucky in the Final Four, though I’m not
convinced that the Wildcats aren’t due for an off game. Tubby Smith should
be the national coach of the year.
In the East, I think Syracuse is going to have a huge advantage, playing
so close to home. Wake Forest is so young with the exception of Josh Howard.
Oklahoma will be playing a long way from home. The early trendy pick was for
Louisville to make it to New Orleans. But give me the ‘Cuse in the East.
In the South, I’m going to take Texas, though I think Xavier is going to
make some real noise as the third seed.
That gives me two number one seeds, a two and a three to make it to New
Orleans for the Final Four.
Marquette, Louisville get C-USA's most
As expected, Conference USA brought home four spots in this years NCAA
Marquette is the 3rd seed in the Midwest. Louisville is the 4th seed in
the East. Memphis is the 7th seed in the West, joined by 8th seed Cincinnati
in the toughest of this year’s regionals.
Let’s start with that West regional. Two of the best in C-USA are a part
of an absolutely brutal regional. The top seed is Arizona. The second seed
is Kansas. The third seed is ACC tournament champion Duke. The fourth seed
is Big 10 tournament champion Illinois.
Eight of the 16 teams in the West regional were their individual tournament
champions, meaning that those teams are certainly playing their best
basketball late in the season.
That regional is as tough as any that I can remember.
Memphis has a difficult opening round game with tenth seed Arizona State.
The Tigers then get a shot at 2nd seed Kansas in the second round. How’s
that for a difficult road.
Perhaps the only road more challenging than the one the Tiger’s must
navigate will be the one that Cincinnati faces. The Bearcats have one of the
past NCAA darlings, Gonzaga, in their first round game. Should Bob Huggins
and company get past that game, they would take on top seed Arizona in the
Louisville and Marquette have much easier routes to an appearance in the
The Cards, seeded No. 4 in the East, get Austin Peay in the first round,
and then draw either Mississippi State or Butler in round two.
Marquette is the 3rd seed in the Midwest and Tom Crean and company get
Holy Cross in the first round. Then, it’s the Missouri-Southern Illinois
winner for the Eagles.
None of the four are shoe-ins for the the “Sweet 16.” But Louisville and
Marquette should get there, barring an upset.
3 C-USA Teams head to NIT
Three other league teams will head to postseason in the NIT. UAB and St.
Louis get home games in the first round, while DePaul is on the road.
The Blazers host Louisiana Lafayette in their game, while the Billikens
welcome Big Ten member Minnesota to town.
DePaul has the most intriguing match-up of the three, playing in Chapel
Hill against North Carolina.
The buzz at last week’s ACC Tournament, after the Heels beat Maryland,
was that the NCAA might take Carolina as an at large team. They did have
some quality wins early, but their ACC league record was just too poor to
make it in. Still, Carolina played well against the Terps, before falling to
Duke in the ACC semifinals.
Best of luck to all of the C-USA teams playing in the post season!.
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