Tourney Talk

Picking this year's tournament gave me fits. I found it really difficult to get a good feel. Not sure why, but the pairings definitely didn't help. An underrated Gonzaga got a terrible draw having to play West Virginia in Pittsburgh. Murray State is a very likeable squad, but got a weak seed (6), so it has Marquette waiting in the second round. San Diego State? Like 'em. North Carolina State? Like 'em. They play each other in the first round? Drat. It went like that a lot.

A few other thoughts:

• CBS should put Charles Barkley on the NFL Sunday morning show. First off, he has personality. And while he doesn't know jack about most teams in the tourney, he actually has insightful things to say at times about the teams he does follow. The best thing about him, though, is he exposes the know-it-all "experts" who are *so* certain about things but really are just seeking evidence to back up their hunches (instead of considering the evidence and then getting a hunch). Barkley picks his friends to win. Is that so different than picking based on a hunch?

• Murray State is pulling away from Colorado state. But as we speak, Isaiah Canaan is 4-for-14 from the field. Really wish Murray State didn't have to play Marquette in the next round. Should be a great game, though.

• Michigan State has great defense. Will it have enough offense to win it all?

• Missouri's non-conference slate was pathetic. Couldn't pick them to go deep.

• Speaking of bad draws, South Dakota State got hosed. I took notice of them when they destroyed Washington in December. They shoot the three as well as anyone; that's usually a necessary ingredient for a big first-round upset. And Jackrabbits is a pretty good nickname. But I (almost) always play the odds on the 3-14 match. The 3 seed wins 85 percent of the time and has lost only three times this century.

• Here's how ESPN's 6.45 million tourney entrants shook out:

The most popular picks to win the championship:

Kentucky -- 35.1 percent
North Carolina -- 17.9 percent
Michigan State -- 7.5 percent
Missouri -- 7.2 percent
Kansas -- 6.2 percent
Syracuse -- 5.1 percent
Ohio State -- 4.8 percent
Duke -- 3.7 percent
Florida State -- 2.8 percent
Baylor -- 1.7 percent

• Who you got?  What do you like/hate about this year's tourney?


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