Now that the NCAA field is complete we can finally answer the critical travel question: Is Hampton Inn? (Hahaha.)
While some are for Duke and some are for Maryland and some are for Michigan State and some are for Arizona, I'm for Winthrop. I'm rooting for Winthrop, even though I have no idea where Winthrop is located. Or who goes to Winthrop. Or what Winthrop's colors are.
I'm rooting for Winthrop because it sounds so dorky! It's somebody's first name, Winthrop. (Winthrop Rockefeller was governor of Arkansas.) There are other "name" schools in the NCAAs. But they're full names, like George Mason and Brigham Young. Or last names, like Stanford and Duke. There are odd names, like Wake Forest -- which is a command, not a school. And Iona. Iona what? Iona gas station? But Winthrop. It's like, "Hey, Winnnn-thropp, time for dinner!" Or, "Yo, Winthrop, wanna come out and shoot some hoop, or do you have to take a dance lesson?"
I'm sorry, Winthrop makes me laugh. It's like naming a college Percy, Lionel or Algernon.
So I'm rooting for Winthrop to win its play -- in game against Northwestern State (wherever that is) and become the first team to ever win seven games in the NCAA tournament.
But if Winthrop doesn't make you rich in your office pool, I've got some other tips, with the help of special correspondent Walt Petersen, who reminds us one anagram for "Georgetown Hoyas senior center Ruben Boumtje Boumtje" is, "Memo to George Bush: We jeer, 'Nutty Jeb ban recount?' O! No sir!" Bracketville, here we come. And by the way, how in the name of Lewis and Clark did Southern Utah get in the Mid-Continent?
Paint By Number Final Four: Syracuse Orangemen, California Golden Bears, Duke Blue Devils, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. (This works. They really are in different regions.)
Home-Grown Final Four: Mike Brey, Dennis Felton, Tubby Smith, Craig Esherick. (Ibid.)
Georgia On My Mind: Georgia, Georgia Tech, Georgia State, Georgia Frontiere.
Hi-Cal, Lo-Cal, No-Cal, So-Cal: Cal-Berkeley, Cal-Los Angeles, Cal-Northridge, Cal Ripken.
Bulldog Madness: Gonzaga, Butler, Georgia, Fresno State.
Guys In Funny Hats: Spartans, Cavaliers, Matadors, Musketeers.
Classic Rock 'N' Roll: Lloyd Price (Xavier), Michael McDonald (Stanford), Brian Wilson (Holy Cross), Kent State (Tin soldiers and Nixon's coming . . .)
Wait, There's More: Kansas, Eagles, (Randy And The) Rainbows, (The Fabulous) Thunderbirds.
All The N-E-W-S That's Fit To Print: North Carolina, Eastern Illinois, Western Kentucky, Southern Utah.
This Is Your Life, Eddie Sutton: Creighton, Arkansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma State.
All SATs: Princeton, Stanford, Duke, Cal.
Things You Wouldn't Want To Sit On: Longhorns, Razorbacks, Hornets, Gators.
Auto Pilot: Thunderbirds, Cougars, Matadors, Cavaliers.
Who Do You Know Who Goes To: Monmouth, Alabama State, Northwestern State, Winthrop.
Rookies Of The Year: John Thompson III (Princeton), Mike Davis (Indiana), Brad Soderberg (Wisconsin), Thad Matta (Butler), who Walt Petersen reminds us, surely was called "Whatsa" in high school.
Hard To Believe They're Out Of It: U-Conn., Utah, St. John's, Bobby Knight.
Birds Of Prey: Boston College Eagles, Monmouth Hawks, Kansas Jayhawks, David Falk.
It's Never Too Late To Repent: Friars, Deacons, Crusaders, Temple.
No, Really: St. Joseph's, Holy Cross, Providence, Brigham Young.
Doesn't Leonard Hamilton Wish He Made This Move: Bill Self (Illinois), Matt Doherty (UNC), Paul Hewitt (Georgia Tech), Mike Brey (Notre Dame).
A Tough Job But Somebody Has To Do It: Butler, Volunteers, Rebels, Flying Dutchmen (especially in those wooden shoes).
What Exactly Is It That You Do? Gaels, Hoyas, Sooners, Hilltoppers.
Didn't This Show Finally Close: Arizona Wildcats, Kentucky Wildcats, Cincinnati Bearcats, ESPN's Andy Katz.
Inherit The Wind: Saul Smith, Jon Larranaga, Phil Martelli Jr., Jason Capel.
Not To Mention: Nate Walton, Princeton, and Luke Walton, Arizona (Bill Walton), T.J. Cummings, UCLA (Terry Cummings), Mike Dunleavy, Duke (Mike Dunleavy).
All-Name Team, Foreign Division: Eyo Effiong (Winthrop), Tajudeen Soyoye (Missouri), Livan Pyfrom (Creighton), Aloysius Anagonye (Michigan State), Jeff Monaco (Southern Utah).
All-Name Team, Domestic Division: Jeremy "Deliberately" Vague (Utah State), Royal Ivey (Texas), Jannero Pargo (Arkansas), Titus "Ebony And" Ivory (Penn State), Ryan Forehan-Kelly (California), and of course his fraternal twin Ryan Backhan-Kelly.
Mr. Tony's Favorite Name: Nate Hair, Southern Cal.
Barbra Streisand's Favorite Team: Badgers.
The Napster's Favorite Team: Pirates.
Judi Dench's Favorite Team: Notre Dame.
Jim Boeheim's Favorite Team: Yes, we've come to that point where Jim "Nostradamus" Boeheim makes his prediction who will win the tournament. Boeheim has been picking the winner in this column for close to 10 years now, and he's been right way more often than not. (Hmm, maybe we should let Boeheim predict our next snowfall.) Last year Boeheim correctly predicted Michigan State would win, even though Michigan State was in Syracuse's draw!
Last week Boeheim was leaning toward Iowa State. But Iowa State is off his radar now. He thinks, "There'll be a lot of upsets right away, the first weekend. People will be shocked." Boeheim likes Arizona, but above Arizona he likes two teams: Duke and Maryland. Boeheim said, "I think Maryland will get to the Final Four. I don't think Stanford can beat them." Boeheim was also strongly impressed at how Duke recovered after losing Carlos Boozer. If he's forced to pick between them -- and this ain't no disco -- Boeheim's choice is Duke.
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