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North Carolina shocks the world by losing to Team To Be Determined. No, just kidding. They whack whoever comes out of the play-in game (unless it's the Houston Rockets – are they in that game?). Arkansas thumps Indiana in the 8/9 game. Shortly after the game, the Indiana AD tells Dan Dakich, "Nice knowing you." Shortly after that, Tony Bennett shocks the world and turns down the Indiana job to stay in Pullman. Notre Dame beats George Mason because Luke Harangody is one of my five favorite players in college basketball. Washington State cruises past Winthrop because Kyle Weaver isn't losing to someone's butler. St. Joseph's pulls a mild upset in a win over Oklahoma because Jeff Capel is a Dukie. Boise St. pulls off a stunner over Louisville because Bronco assistant Andy McClousky is a friend of mine and I liked Tyler Tiedeman out of high school. Right after the game, the NCAA announces that Louisville center David Padgett is, in fact, a sophomore and he'll have two more years of eligibility. Butler, the school – not the job – beats South Alabama because Jay Bilas said the Jaguars shouldn't even be in the tournament. And Jay is one of the few talking heads I respect when it comes to basketball (even if he is a Dukie). And speaking of talking heads, that ESPN commercial with the guy and girl in the Jacuzzi freaks out my wife. Tennessee destroys the American Eagles because no #2 seed has ever lost to a regional airline based in Fort Worth, Texas.
In the second round, Arkansas decides to run with UNC and it's not pretty as the Tar Heels roll. I like Harangody, but I also like Kyle Weaver and the Cougars take out the Irish. I just remembered that Boise State doesn't guard anyone, so the Broncos fall to St. Joseph's. Right before the Tennessee/Butler game, Erin Andrews realizes that she won't be beautiful (and on television) forever and maybe she should look for a payday. She files suit against Bruce Pearl for "groping and general yuckiness on national television." The distracted Volunteers are shown the door by Butler.
In the Sweet 16, Washington State takes care of the ball, makes North Carolina guard for 25+ seconds on every possession and eliminates the Tar Heel running game. Cougars advance and national pundits write "Gee, maybe that league is pretty good." Butler plays St. Joseph's and a repeat of 30 Minute Meals With Rachel Ray draws higher ratings. Butler stays awake long enough to win the game.
In the Elite Eight, Washington State wins easily over Butler to advance to San Antonio. After the game, Tony Bennett turns down the Laker job.
Portland State hangs with Kansas for a half because Viking head coach Ken Bone is a good coach (and nice guy), but John Wooden couldn't get the Vikings past the Jayhawks. UNLV can be pretty good at home. Unfortunately, the tournament committee sent the Rebels to Omaha. Kent State wins the 8/9 game. Clemson is very athletic, they can pound the glass and their press can give people fits. One thing they can't do, though, is make good decisions or free throws. I like Villanova's Scottie Reynolds to lead the Wildcats to a mild upset. Vanderbilt is another team that is pretty good at home, but they'll be in Tampa instead of Nashville. Kevin Stallings' last-minute appeal to move the team bench to the end of court is denied by the NCAA and #13 seed Siena gets past the Commodores. Tim Floyd is the master of the junk defense and I expect him to come up with something that will leave Kansas State discombobulated. I like the Trojans to win the game and cover the 2.5 spread. Wisconsin has Bo Ryan and a tough, disciplined and talented group of players. Cal State Fullerton has Josh Akognon. Advantage Badgers. Gonzaga plays Davidson in Raleigh, NC at 12:25 p.m. – which is 9:25 a.m. body time for the Zags. The Zags don't defend much even when they're 100%; Stephon Curry might drop 40 on them when they're half asleep. Davidson takes out the Zags. By way of apology for giving a home game to Davidson, and the early starting time, the NCAA grants David Pendergraft three more years of eligibility. Georgetown rolls over UMBC.
In the second round, Kansas romps over the Kent State Golden Flashes because no #1 seed has ever lost to a team named after a comic book character. Villanova advances past Siena to reach the Sweet 16 and fans of every program in the country looking for a new coach start posting "Hey, what about Jay Wright?" Wisconsin has Bo Ryan and a tough, disciplined and talented group of players. USC has ‘Lil Romeo. Oh, wait, he's not there yet. In that case, advantage Trojans – USC advances. Georgetown/Davidson is a war, but Stephon Curry is 6-2 and Roy Hibbert is eight feet tall (or something like that). Tall beats small.
In the Sweet 16, Villanova gets blown out by Kansas and those fans looking for a new coach are posting "You know, Jay Wright reminds me of Steve Lavin." In the Georgetown/USC match up, Hibbert has three dunks blocked by Davon Jefferson (sometimes he looks like he's jumping off a trampoline) and Keith Wilkinson makes a wide open jumper to win it when the Hoyas triple team O.J. Mayo.
In the Elite Eight, USC faces Kansas in a rematch of the game earlier this year. Bill Self and Tim Floyd trade tips on the finer points of hiring relatives of recruits. Daniel Hackett plays more like Buddy Hackett and Kansas moves on to San Antonio.
Memphis throttles UT-Arlington and we have to endure 37 media stories about the genius of Vance Walberg's system. Mississippi State beats Oregon, but Ducks are allowed to advance when Phil Knight buys the entire city of Indianapolis for the NCAA. Michigan State has been up and down all year – they go out on a down day against Temple. Pittsburgh is on a roll and the Panthers demolish Oral Roberts. The Marquette and Kentucky guards play a forty minute game of two-on-two, with the Golden Eagles advancing. Cornell makes fun of the Stanford players SAT scores and the Cardinal win by 20. St. Mary's beats Miami because the Gaels have more west coast players. Texas crushes Austin Peay.
In the second round, Memphis takes out Oregon and the result stands because Calipari's boosters have every bit as much money as Phil Knight. Pittsburgh wins easily over Temple and Ben Howland starts fretting about having to face Jamie Dixon in San Antonio. The Lopez brothers dominate Marquette and Stanford advances. St. Mary's has more west coast players, but Texas has D.J. Augustin and A.J. Abrams – enough said.
In the Sweet 16, Pittsburgh beats Memphis because John Calipari eats nachos and Jamie Dixon doesn't. Texas has a huge advantage on the perimeter against Stanford – much like UCLA did – and the Longhorns take out the Cardinal.
In the Elite Eight, Texas knocks off Pittsburgh. All the ESPN pundits exult, as Bobby Knight would've been even more insufferable if his prediction of Pittsburgh winning it all came true.
UCLA beats Mississippi Valley State by 47. Right after the game, the UNC, Duke and Kansas message boards almost crash as 49,685 fans write post after post complaining about the obvious missed foul call on Love at the 9:45 mark of the first half. The NCAA threatens to change the nickname of the three schools to "Whiny Little Biatches" if they don't shut the f--- up. BYU beats Texas A&M because the Cougars best player is….all together now…Lee Cummard. Drake knocks off Western Kentucky because someone told me Drake is pretty good. I like San Diego's players and coaches, but Hasheem Thabeet really is eight feet tall. Uconn takes out the Toreros. Purdue is good – Baylor isn't. Boilermakers move on. The Xavier/Georgia line opened at Xavier -6 and quickly moved to -8. Apparently, the betting public doesn't believe in plucky Cinderella stories. Me neither – go Xavier. I'm tempted to go with West Virginia over Arizona, but I'm going to give the Wildcats the nod. However, if they lose, I might just start to have the tiniest of doubts about Chase Budinger as the next Tracy McGrady. Duke beats Belmont by seven and Dick Vitale starts screaming "look out America…the Dukies are back!!!"
In the second round, UCLA's athleticism in the backcourt is the difference in a win over BYU. Hasheem Thabeet is eight feet tall, but that doesn't matter when Drake is shooting from 24 feet. Down goes Uconn. Purdue is good, but they're also young and Xavier bounces the Boilermakers from the tournament. Arizona puts up a good fight, but Duke has bench players not named Daniel Dillon, Bret Brielmaier and Kirk Walters. After the game, Mike Krzyzewski asks for a restraining order against ESPN's Mike Patrick. Coach K is heard saying "Vitale is a little creepy, but Patrick is nuts – he's leaving love poems on my answering machine."
Prior to the Sweet 16, fans of the remaining one and two seeds complain endlessly about the Bruins' "luck" of drawing Drake instead of UConn. But Drake shoots the lights out and the Bruins have to rally late to win a close game. Xavier takes one look at Duke and says, "Hey, they got no bigs." No rebounds, no rings. Xavier bounces the Dukies.
In San Antonio, Darren Collison does a much better job of guarding D.J. Augustin and Texas coach Rick Barnes files a Missing Persons report when Russell Westbrook makes A.J. Abrams disappear. The Bruins also show how far they've come from the first meeting in December, as Kevin Love repeatedly gets touches deep in the paint. UCLA wins and I nearly die of alcohol poisoning as Bruin11 buys my scouting friend and me 23 drinks each as thanks for Russell Westbrook. In the other semifinal, Kansas has too much athleticism and Washington State is knocked out. After the game, Barack Obama asks Tony Bennett to be his running mate. Tony says, "Thanks, but I like Pullman."
Prior to the championship game, Digger Phelps picks the Bruins to win it all. Then he looks into the camera and says, "Just kidding, f--- the Bruins." ESPN fires him fifteen seconds later. UCLA rolls over Kansas for Banner 12.