Volume 96, Issue 90
Thursday, March 20, 2003

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Can writer "upset" editor with picks?

Bell Tolls
Jordan Bell
Sports Editor

As I sat down this morning with my copy of the March Madness bracket, I thought to myself, life just doesn't get any better.

Beginning today, the madness will commence. Grab your trusty number 2 pencil, your bracket and a cold brewsky as I prepare to take the "mad" out of the madness.

The Midwest region is like a University Students' Council election, consisting of a large contingent of hopefuls fighting against a Paul Yeomanesque competitor – it's obvious who's going to win, but candidates jump into the fray regardless. The Kentucky Wildcats are the Yeoman of the Midwest and will easily advance to the Sweet 16.

Marquette and Pittsburgh will advance and look for Tulsa to provide rabid fans with scintillating upset games.

The West region is insanely competitive with Arizona, Illinois, Duke and Kansas all poised for Final Four status. But the Blue Devils are not the team of old and look for them to drop off against Creighton in a second round upset. Furthermore, I pity the foo who is forced to bust their asses to get through this draw and then, after all is said and done, face Kentucky in the Final Four.

Arizona and Kansas will exploit their depth and advance and Notre Dame, who many think is lagging and will be upset, will buck the odds and "upset" Illinois.

The Maryland Terrapins grabbed the championship last year, but this season they have been like a horny high school kid at Old Chicago, winning some battles, yet losing many at the same time. The Terps will score this weekend, joining Texas, Connecticut (with Canadian Denham Brown) and Colorado, who will end Florida's horrendous up-and-down season.

Experts would contest that veteran leadership wins the NCAA championship, but the hot dog lady beside D.B. Weldon Library could be considered an expert on this mayhem. Rookie Carmelo Anthony and the Syracuse Orangemen will advance, as will Oklahoma, Louisville and my upset special of the tournament, East Tennessee State. Go Bucanneers!

The Rookie
Ian Denomme
Gazette Staff

In a tournament known for its upsets and Cinderella stories, picking a winner out of a field of 65 can be difficult. It can cause sleepless nights and philosophy essays to be put on hold until you have made your picks and filled out your bracket.

This year's NCAA basketball tournament is one of the most difficult to predict in recent years. Unlike years past, there is no clear-cut favourite, no team is safe and every game has the potential for an upset.

The South Region, like the others, is wide open. Texas was given the number 1 seed, despite their recent struggles and an early loss in the Big 12 Conference tournament, but should still make it through the opening two rounds. The same can't be said for Florida. Their recent slide leaves the door open for an upset in the second round by the winner of the Michigan State/Colorado game. Pick Colorado to move into the Sweet 16. Defending champion Maryland has come on strong of late and will also be a force in the South.

A 16 seed has never beaten a number 1 seed in the history of the tournament, and it will not happen in the East Region. Top seed Oklahoma is coming off the Big 12 Conference championship and should cruise to the Sweet 16. Beyond that, anything can happen in the East. After being left out of the tournament last year, Butler will get their revenge on Mississippi State and could be this year's Cinderella story.

In the Midwest, Kentucky has to be the favourite. The Wildcats come into the tournament on a 23-game winning streak, and have been the best team all year. Pittsburgh, Marquette and Missouri should all make it through the first two rounds, but if you want to pick an upset, take Tulsa over Dayton.

The West Region is ridiculously stacked. Powerhouses Arizona, Kansas, Duke and Illinois should all survive their opening round matchups. Fan favourite Gonzaga should survive their first game, but will not make it past Arizona in the second round.



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