Picking the first round

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By: Brian Laubscher
Sports Information Director

In the past I’ve written about games, about athletes, about teams, about the weather and about the scenery.  I’ve written about W&L’s facilities and I’ve even provided a quiz for Generals’ fans.  Today’s writeup will feature something a little lighter.

Of course I would never fill out a bracket and gamble on the results of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament, but over the next couple of days I will provide my mock bracket for your entertainment.  Today I pick the first round matchups.  Tomorrow I will do the second round and on Thursday morning, I’ll provide my picks for the Sweet 16, Elite Elight, Final Four and the National Championship.  Enjoy!

MIDWEST
First Round

1 Kansas vs. 16 Lehigh
I used to work at Lafayette and we were taught to hate Lehigh.  Going with Kansas.

8 UNLV vs. 9 Northern Iowa
UNLV’s campus is practically on the Strip and Kurt Warner went to Northern Iowa (I despise Warner for beating the Eagles in the 2009 NFC Championship game).  Going with UNLV.

5 Michigan State vs. 12 New Mexico State
My fiancée went to Michigan State.  Gotta go with the Spartans.  Plus, what the heck is an Aggie anyway?

4 Maryland vs. 13 Houston
My first assistant Andy Krauss went to Maryland and current sports info work study Marah Schmitz likes Maryland.  Plus the mascot is named Testudo. Going with the Terps.

6 Tennessee vs. 11 San Diego State
Because if I hear Rocky Top played for more than one game I may puke.  Plus San Diego is my favorite city not named Vegas to visit.  Gotta go with San Diego State.

3 Georgetown vs. 14 Ohio
I used to despise John Thompson II and the “Hoya Paranoya”.  My finacee’s brother went to Ohio and I can remember that Gary Trent was nicknamed the Shaq of the MAC.  Going with the Ohio Bobcats here.

7 Oklahoma State vs. 10 Georgia Tech
I once visited some distant relatives in Oklahoma and have since forgot their names.  I did buy some OK State gear while I was there and I’ve never owned anything with Georgia Tech on it.  Cowboys win it.

2 Ohio State vs. 15 UC Santa Barbara
In honor of Club Trillion I’ll go with the Buckeyes.  Gauchos is a cool mascot name though.

WEST
First Round

1 Syracuse vs. 16 Vermont
Taylor Coppenrath plays basketball in Spain now and Ben & Jerry’s is simply not powerful enough to carry the Catamounts.  Da’ Cuse rolls.

8 Gonzaga vs. 9 Florida State
Am I the only one that has seen the mid-major polish tarnish from the Zags?  It was cool to root for them as an underdog 5-6 years ago, now they end up crushing bracket dreams.  Not this year.  FSU moves on.

5 Butler vs. 12 UTEP
Glory Road was the story of the Texas Western Miners defeating Kentucky for the National Title in 1966.  Hoosiers was filmed in Butler’s Hinkle Field House.  Hoosiers was a much better movie.  Butler moves on.

4 Vanderbilt vs. 13 Murray State
I feel like I should pick Vanderbilt because my boss Jeff Hanna went to Vandy.  But how can you pick against a school whose most famous player was named Popeye JONES?  Murray State races onto the next round.

6 Xavier vs. 11 Minnesota
Former sports info assistant Austin Calhoun is pursuing her Ph.D. at Minnesota and current W&L men’s swimming coach Joel Shinofield used to coach at Minnesota.  What reason do I have to pick Xavier?  Exactly, the Golden Golphers move on.

3 Pittsburgh vs. 14 Oakland
This is interesting because the University of Pittsburgh is located in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh.  I’m not sure that Oakland University’s campus has anything quite as cool as the Original Hot Dog shop so I’m going with Pitt in this one.

7 Brigham Young vs. 10 Florida
Erin Andrews went to Florida and I’m quite certain she is banned from setting foot inside of Utah since she may create chaos over the Polygamists trying to take her as a fourth wife.  Even though she is no Stacy Dales, Florida wins.

2 Kansas State vs. 15 North Texas
One glance from Frank Martin at the North Texas bench may have them rethinking their choice of Mean in their Mean Green nickname.  Martin is intense and UNT will melt under the Martin glare.  KSU wins.

EAST
First Round
1 Kentucky vs. 16 East Tennessee State

East Tennessee State dropped football and Kentucky just pretends to play football.  This is the only time ETSU has beaten the Wildcats to the punch.  The Wildcats roll in this one.

8 Texas vs. 9 Wake Forest
Just like Bill Self, I have such disdain for Rick Barnes.  Wake Forest moves on just because I don’t like Barnes … or the color burnt orange.

5 Temple vs. 12 Cornell
While I was a senior in high school and trying to decide where to go to college, my mom once told me that a school called Cornell had called me.  I thought that she was probably mistaken since I could never get into an Ivy League school, but I’ve never stopped hoping that they actually wanted to talk to me.  Temple is in the hood and I would be embarrassed to say they called for me.  Cornell moves on.

4 Wisconsin vs. 13 Wofford
Rachel hates Wisconsin because she hates Bo Ryan.  I have nothing against either and Bo Ryan is actually a Pennsylvania guy.  Plus, I like the fact that Mark Titus once referred to Wisconsin as the “Buzzcuts” in his Club Trillion blog.  Nothing could be more true.  The Badgers move on.

6 Marquette vs. 11 Washington
Rachel would kill me if I didn’t pick Marquette so “Go Warriors”.  Bring back the old nickname and “Al”.  Marquette wins.

3 New Mexico vs. 14 Montana
Gotta go with New Mexico because I thought I was showing my smarts the other night at poker when I stated that former NBA player Larry Krystkowiak was the coach at Montana.  Alas he left in 2006 and was the coach of the Milwaukee Bucks as recently as 2008.  Therefore, I hate Montana for making me look stupid in that situation.  Lobos move on.

7 Clemson vs. 10 Missouri
Oliver Purnell was the coach at Old Dominion when they crushed my hopes and defeated Big East Champion and third-seeded Villanova in triple overtime in the first round of the 1995 NCAA Tournament behind 35 points from Petey Sessoms.  Missouri wins because I’m still pissed.

2 West Virginia vs. 15 Morgan State
Morgan State Head Coach Todd Bozeman went from coaching in the NBA to coaching in the MEAC.  Gotta be a good reason for that one.  West Virginia’s team manager would coach the Mountaineers to the win if they let him.  WVU rolls.

SOUTH
First Round
1 Duke vs. Play-in Winner

No-brainer.  Gotta go Duke when you don’t know who they are playing because the opponents are straight garbage.  Plus former assistant SID Mollie Robertson is a Duke fan and this could qualify as throwing her a bone (and a shout out).

8 California vs. 9 Louisville
I have no ties with California, but I once had an interesting evening playing black jack for play chips with Louisville SID Kenny Klein at the CoSIDA convention in Orlando in 1999.  I will never forget him screaming “Big Dog” with every black jack and he’ll be screaming it again as the Cards win their opening round matchup.

5 Texas A&M vs. 12 Utah State
Former W&L law student and sports information game day assistant Spencer Cox went to Utah State and loved his Aggies.  He once apologized for not being able to work because his wife had just gone into labor … and offered to maybe come after the baby was delivered.  Gotta love that dedication.  USU has the same mindset and knocks off the “other” Aggies.

4 Purdue vs. 13 Siena
That Chris Kramer dude from Purdue has one of those looks that sort of pisses me off.  I’d love to see him lose and cry like Tebow.  For that reason, Siena wins.

6 Notre Dame vs. 11 Old Dominion
I also despise Luke Harangody and I like ODU SID Carol Hudson.  I’ll forgive the Monarchs in this case for the win over Nova and go with ODU.

3 Baylor vs. 14 Sam Houston St.
Sam Houston was born in Rockbridge County just north of Lexington.  Need I say more?  SHSU pulls the shocking 14-3 upset.

7 Richmond vs. 10 St. Mary’s
I always pulled for Richmond in the tournament during their remarkable upsets in the 1980’s and 90’s.  They were the first 15 seed to beat a two seed when they knocked off Syracuse in 1991.  They also beat Indiana as a 13 seed in 1988.  This one isn’t an upset, but I’m again pulling for the Spiders.

2 Villanova vs. 15 Robert Morris
I once sized up working at Robert Morris and decided it wasn’t the place for me even if it is located in Pittsburgh.  Only reason I need to pick Nova.

Stay tuned for the second round picks tomorrow.

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2 Responses to “Picking the first round”

  1. Walter Ruffini Says:

    Big Dog is watching!

  2. Andrew C. Krauss Says:

    Todd Bozeman coached in the NBA…that’s news to me…

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