Volume 95, Issue 88

Wednesday, March 20, 2002
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Wrestling's a religion - "because Minto says so."

Get out the trusty fly swatter

Get out the trusty fly swatter

It's time to separate the men from the boys

By Jordan Bell and Ryan Hickman
Gazette Staff

Like any other shindig, the NCAA's national championship – AKA "the big dance" – has its own belles of the ball.

Three of the number one seeds (Duke, Maryland and Kansas) advanced to the sweet 16, while three number two seeds (Oklahoma, Oregon and Connecticut) advanced as well.

The second weekend approaches with some very intriguing questions and the delusional experts at The Gazette are here once again to help you fill out your bracket.
Final Four Picks

Jordan's Picks

Ryan's Picks


Bell tolls

The Kent State Golden Flashes were undeniably unbelievable in the opening two rounds. The disciplined attack they run, orchestrated by guard Trevor Huffman, has no easy counter. The Golden Flashes will dust off Pittsburgh, but their fairy tale journey will come to an end at the hands of a formidable Duke powerhouse.

Entering the madness, it was obvious the Missouri Tigers were a frightening team, but I don't think anyone truly believed they would dominate as easily as they did. The Tigers will run roughshod over the Gonzaga-less West bracket to reach the Final Four.

The Maryland versus Kentucky matchup is extremely intriguing. The Terrapins of Maryland are tough at every position and the Wildcats forward Tayshaun Prince is good, but not good enough to continue his strong tournament play much farther.

Awaiting the Terrapins on the other side of the bracket will be the Connecticut Huskies, who boast possibly the strongest rookie in the nation in Caron Butler. Nonetheless, the Terrapins are too sound up front and too stingy on the defensive end to let the Huskies run the gamut over them.

The Midwest is quite possibly the strongest bracket, with Illinois, Kansas and Oregon all chomping at the bit to reach the promised land. Unfortunately, only one team can travel yonder and it's the Kansas Jayhawks who have the necessary tools.

The Jayhawks spanked the Stanford Cardinals in the second round, behind physical inside play from forwards Drew Gooden and Nick Collison. I struggle dealing with the fact I have Kansas penciled in to my Final Four, but it's obvious they have the horses necessary – Illinois and Oregon are toast.

Shootin' from the Hick

As much as I loved the first two rounds, the second weekend will be straight up, quality basketball. It's like debating over the original Godfather and the Godfather Part II – both so good and so tough to choose between.

The regionals separate the men from the boys and upstarts like Kent State and Southern Illinois will be flicked off the bracket like pesky flies.

In the South, Duke was forced to play with Notre Dame and showed they can compete in a tight contest. If it isn't Carlos Boozer, Jason Williams or Mike Dunleavy Jr. hurting you – it's going to be Chris Duhon or Dahntay Jones.

The West region in San Jose presents four solid teams and the games could be crazier than Missouri Tiger Brandon Stokes' hair. Steve Lavin's UCLA club is too strong and athletic up front for Missouri.

Arizona is just too young and any team relying on the offspring of Bill Walton for their firepower isn't going too far. UCLA will beat Oklahoma and play Duke in the Final Four.

Southern Illinois has made a nice little run, but don't let that fool you – Connecticut will dominate them.

The Maryland versus Kentucky showdown in the East regional is going to be stellar – the winner going to the Final Four. Kentucky looked good but relied too heavily on Tayshaun Prince's 41 points against Tulsa.

He won't turn that trick against the Terrapins of Maryland. Maryland is too strong overall and Kentucky's chances are as slim as forward Jules Camara's limbs.

Good defense and guard play can take you a long way in the tournament and Texas displayed that in their first two games. Texas' freshman, guard T.J. Ford, is impressive and will lead them over Oregon, who still hasn't cracked the upper-echelons of college basketball.

I will always bet the farm on a Roy Williams Kansas team to be out of the tournament early. The Fighting Illini's guard Frank Williams is one of the best players in the tournament and will start getting even more hype when he and his team are in the Final Four.

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