NCAA Round 3 Q & A

1. Will the controversies surrounding the Kansas ticket office, fundraising, and basketballers’ fights with the football team affect the Jayhawks’ play against Michigan State?

A. Uh, nevermind.

2. Does the Big Red have a legit chance against the Big Blue?

A. Jay Bilas sure thinks so. So does my pal Larry in Boston. But he’s a Cornell alum. Of course, the Ivy Leaguers have a shot. The only time the teams have played, Cornell ventured into Memorial Coliseum. It was December ’66 and the scholar athletes dispatched Adolph Rupp’s defending national runner-up Wildcats, 92-77. The Baron was not happy.

Then again Gregg Morris — he tallied 37, hitting 16/21 from the field — won’t be hitting the hardwood in Syracuse.

But seriously, folks. Yes, I think Cornell has a legit shot at beating UK. They will not do so, I don’t believe.

If Kentucky plays to even near its potential, Cornell won’t beat them. Neither will any of the other 14 teams still hoping to cut the nets in Indy. Think about it. Kentucky starts four probable lottery selections. And there’s another sitting on the bench at tip off. Only Florida’s 04s — as best I can recall — came close to such a load of talent.

UK is also hungry. And just beginning to reach its peak.

But I love the match up. It will be fun to watch.

3. Is it my imagination, or have there been more late season injuries to key contenders this season than ever before?

A. Purdue’s best player, Syracuse’s center, Michigan State’s major weapon and now West Virginia’s point guard are all sidelined. While I can’t empirically state the correct answer, I don’t remember similar sets of circumstances in the past.

4. Okay then, how will those injuries affect the outcomes of games this weekend?

A. Truck Bryant’s absence will not affect Bobby Huggs’ Mountaineers against UDub. The Huskies winning streak ends tomorrow night. But it will make a difference on Saturday, especially if Jerry West U. plays Kentucky.

I think the absence of Arinze Onuaku will hurt the Orange against Butler. (But the scribes who have to keep checking to see if they’ve spelled his name correctly are most pleased.) I like the Hinkles in this one.

Kalin Lucas has been Michigan State’s spark plug all season. Despite Tom Izzo’s incredible record of coaching Sparty up come tourney time, this year’s edition has been living on borrowed time. Lucas loss will be too much. Ali & the Panthers will advance to the Elite Eight.

Purdue continues to amaze, despite the loss of Robbie Hummel. The Boilermakers are playing stronger than a mug of beer with a shot of Jack dropped in. I don’t think Hummel’s absence has affected Purdue as much as we “experts” thought it would. Besides, if the Basketball Gods have any sense of decency, they will alleviate our Blue Devil misery before Saturday dawns.

5. Who you got in the College Basketball Invitational?

The semis are being played tonight (Wednesday) as I write this. First observation is that the HDNet color announcer assuredly has a secondary career as a Dick Cheney look alike. I keep expecting for him to start a rant against Obama.

Rick “Mr. Creosote” Majerus’ Billiken’s are up 9 on Princeton at the half. I think they’ll hold on. Bill Bradley will not be on the hardwood in the 2d half. The winner gets Virginia Commonwealth in the best of three championship round. These folks know how to stretch out the excitement, don’t they? No one and done for this title. I’ll take VCU.

6. Who you got in the tourney?

Well, Creighton is playing Missouri State as I write in one semi. Can’t seem to find the score anywhere on the dub dub dub. Pacific plays Appalachian State tomorrow night in the other semi.

I don’t know why, but I just got a feeling it’s the Blue Jays’ year.

7. Seriously now, who you like in the Dance?

A. Kentucky makes it to Indy. Easily. None of the other three teams in the regional has enough to do it. I’m inclined to think Duke will win two this weekend also. On the other hand, Coach K’s team hasn’t impressed me all that much this season, despite the glossy record. I think they will do it, but this region is wide open.

So too, the West. Any team that lost to U of L twice has no business being odds on to win anything Except maybe the tourney. I have no idea who will win that region. Really.

Thad Matta’s Buckeyes will beat Northern Iowa in the Midwest final. Which means I’ll be able to wear my Hoopeston Area Cornjerkers t-shirt on Monday and regale friend and foe alike with the trivia that it’s where Matta went to high school.

8. Would you really like to see four underdog schools make it to the Final Four?

A. Abso-friggin’-lutely!

It wouldn’t be good for TV ratings. Non-fans would be heading to the cineplexes in droves to watch “Hot Tub Time Machine.” And Domino’s wouldn’t have many people thinking, “Hey, maybe I’ll try their new pie.”

But I’d love it. St. Mary’s vs. Cornell in one semi-final. Northern Iowa vs. Xavier in the other. Normally I wouldn’t mind Butler making it. But the Bears would be playing in their home town. Not fair.

It wouldn’t be in the spirit of underdoggerel that’s been the hallmark of this year’s tournament.

– Seedy K

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