The retriever statue permanently stands guard over the UMBC campus, symbolically threatening intruders with incessant licking and hyperactivity
Ahh, the Midwest. The land of corn, wheat, OJ, and Mayo. Not to mention, Player of the Year candidate Michael Beasley, and a litany of studs from Kansas. And poor Wisconsin, who can only muster a 3-seed after winning the Midwest’s hallmark conference. Then of course, we have the Retrievers of Maryland-Baltimore County, which as an avid fan of The Wire, sounds like an “interesting” place to seek higher learning. Then again, so is KSR…
(7) Gonzaga (at-large)– Y’know, some schools really have a problem with player discipline. Rarely does a week go by where we don’t hear of a college athlete busted for missing curfew, flunking a class, or pissing on a bouncer. But Gonzaga’s Josh Huytfelt’s mischief was rather uncommon but very Pacific Northwest:last season the junior forward was caught with mushrooms. ‘Rooms, to the with-it. Psychedelics dude. And flannel. And angst.
Can you believe this is the 10th straight tourney appearence for the Zags?
The Gonzaga ‘Air Flannel’
(10) Davidson (SoCon Champ)–The Wildcats stay in state while the Zags fly x-country, certainly a slight advantage. Enjoy this opportunity to watch the silky Stephen Curry if you haven’t already…or just wait until the second round. Likewise, PG Jason Richards leads the nation in dimes. Terrific backcourt+NCAA Tourney= a chance.
(6) USC (at-large)–From yesterday’s Times:
In preparation for this week’s highly anticipated showdown with Kansas State, head coach Tim Floyd went the extra mile to ensure his team would be ready. “I rolled the balls out for an extra hour this morning,” Floyd admitted. “I felt they needed a little more time to freestyle. We saw what happened against North Carolina last year. We had them where we wanted them, then we started running plays, and using that little clip boardy things. Eww.”
Floyd’s recruiting philosophy—if you can’t do a 360 two-handed windmill, need not apply—hath created a very streaky, equally dangerous band of players, who look at NBA Jam not as a great concept, but a reality.
(11) Kansas State (at-large)– Mike Beasley will eventually be the #1 pick and an NBA All-Star, but must first prove he can carry a team on his back. 26ppg and 13rpg? Is that all you got, rookie? If K-State is going to make a run, they’ll need consistency and hustle from Bill Walker, who might find the motivation in facing his former high school teammate, Juice Mayo. Or, he’ll just want more popcorn.
(5) Clemson (at-large)– Perhaps the hottest at-large act in the tourney, Clempsun’s impressive play against the ACC Elite proves they’re capable of winning the region. I look at their players like x-out golf balls: plays great, but there’s just that one tiny defect that cost them a shot at Pro-V1 status, and that is free throw shooting. Still, they’re as athletic as any team in the country, the Cliff Hammonds, KC Rivers backcourt is solid, and they are very tenacious defensively.
(12) Villanova (at-large)– Before you get all trendy with the 5-12 upset, remember that this team dropped 5 straight at one point in a crowded, but not terribly competitive Big East. I agree they should be in, just on the basis that they’ve been jobbed by officials more than any other team this year, and if Scottie Reynolds gets hot they will keep it close, but don’t be fooled by that high priced reputation.
(4) Vanderbilt (at-large)– Not playing in Memorial Gym, strike one. Let’s be honest, unless Shan Foster hits for 40 a night, Vandy will be packing their bags early. Ogilvy continues to bloom like the onions invented in his native Outback Steakhouse, but Vandy’s performance away from home this year has been rather abysmal.
(13) Siena (MAAC Champ)– OK, so they beat Stanford but lost to the likes of Fairfield? Good enough.
(1) Kansas (Big12 Champ)– I’ve found myself nearly feeling sorry for the recent tournament plight of the Jayhawks. How that team with Paul Pierce, Jacque Vaughn, and Raef LaFrentz failed to reach the Final Four in ’97 still amazes me. Add the recent first round losses to Bucknell and Bradley, and you see why Kansas fans await tournament with breath bated and smelling of corn. But if you’re looking for a balanced diet of sugary guards and starchy big men, KU has plenty of both. If Bill Self fails to take this star-studded lineup to the Final Four, he will officially enter the House that Tubby Built. Wisconsin? Georgetown? Vandy? No excuses.
(2) Georgetown (at-large)– Impressive, was Gtown’s regular season Big East Title. But I’m not buying them, mainly because Roy Hibbert plays like he was crafted by the hands of Gepetto, and they simply don’t shoot the ball well. Their size and rebounding are fantastic, and Wallace and Sapp are nice guards, but they are no match for Kansas.
(3) Wisconsin (Big10 Champ)– There’s no getting around it, Wisconsin basketball has about as much sex appeal as 2 girls 1 cup. If you think that’s a lot then you’re either a Wisconsin fan, or a fecal fan, and I’m not sure I want to shake your hand either way. But just like the video, ‘Sconsin will force you out of your comfort zone, illicit mistakes then smear them all over your face with points off turnovers.
Shan Foster, Vanderbilt
Stephen Curry, Davidson
OJ Mayo, USC
Michael Beasley, Kansas St.
Brandon Rush, Kansas
Mario Chalmers, Kansas
First round winners: Kansas, Kent St., Clemson, Siena, USC, Wisconsin, Davidson, Georgetown
Second round winners: Kansas, Clemson, Wisconsin, Georgetown
Third round winners: Kansas, Wisconsin