Picking the National Champion

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By: Brian Laubscher
Sports Information Director

MIDWEST
Sweet 16

1 Kansas vs. 5 Michigan State
From all accounts Tom Izzo is a good guy and a great coach.  Bill Self?  I guess he’s a good coach, but I’ve always despised him.  I feel like he should be selling me a car and telling me why I don’t need a warranty.  Spartans move on.

11 San Diego State vs. 2 Ohio State
Can I possibly have two Big Ten teams meeting here for the right to go to the Final Four in Big Ten Country?  I think not.  Aztecs move on.

Elite Eight
5 Michigan State vs. 11 San Diego State
This is the battle of the ancient civilizations.  The Spartans may have been a little more civilized, but the Aztecs built more impressive structures.  San Diego State and former MICHIGAN head coach Steve Fisher move on to the Final Four!

WEST
Sweet 16
1 Syracuse vs. 5 Butler

Former sports info work study and also a groomsman in my wedding Brendan Harrington is a huge Syracuse fan and I don’t know if it is prudent to pick against him.  I’m trying to think of any link to Butler other than the Final Four is going to be played in its hometown.  That’s too much of a dream scenario for the Bulldogs.  Syracuse moves on and keeps Brendan happy.

2 Kansas State vs. 3 Pittsburgh
John is an assistant AD at Pitt and two years ago he hooked me up with press row seats for the Panthers’ dismantling of a powerhouse known as Houston Baptist in DeJuan Blair’s Panther debut.  Following the game, we liberated the hospitality suite at the Peterson Events Center of its food and alcoholic drinks.  Got to go with Pitt here, right?  Panthers move on.

Elite Eight
1 Syracuse vs. 3 Pittsburgh

Pitt helped provide me with one of the most euphoric moments ever last year when they allowed Scottie Reynolds to dribble coast-to-coast and hit the jumper that sent my beloved Villanova Wildcats to the Final Four, a Final Four that I attended.  Syracuse provided me with my lowest point of this hoops season, an 18-point Nova loss in the Carrier Dome on Feb. 27.  Get yours Pitt!  Panthers win.

EAST
Sweet 16
1 Kentucky vs. 4 Wisconsin

Ashley Judd will most certainly be in the stands for this one and the cameras love her … as do I.  I want to see more Ashley Judd so Kentucky moves on.

2 West Virginia vs. 3 New Mexico
Steve Alford and Bob Huggins are both still rocking the 1980’s “part-in-the-middle” haircut some 20 years later.  Only problem is that Huggins’ is growing far too thin.  Like Sampson, Alford’s hair is his strength.  Lobos move on.

Elite Eight
1 Kentucky vs. 3 New Mexico
Former W&L assistant basketball coach Grant Farmer used to be an assistant at New Mexico where he worked under current UVA assistant coach Richie McKay.  I used to see him on the bench for some of the late night ESPN games when I couldn’t sleep.  I think Grant is no longer coaching, but his spirit lives on with the Lobos.  New Mexico gives John Wall an excuse to no longer have any ties with Kentucky and a semblance of a college life.  Off to the NBA for Wall and onto the Final Four for New Mexico.

SOUTH
Sweet 16

9 Louisville vs. 12 Utah State
I have actually set foot on Louisville’s campus.  I’ve never even seen Utah State from the interstate as I drove by.  Louisville wins.

2 Villanova vs. 11 Old Dominion
Old Dominion’s coach in 1995 was none other than Jeff Capel, Sr.  His son, Jeff Capel, Jr., played at Duke and now coaches at Oklahoma.  I hate Duke so even more reason to go with Nova in this matchup.

Elite Eight
2 Villanova vs. 9 Louisville
We won the regular season meeting.  Why not again?  Nova baby!

FINAL FOUR
11 San Diego State vs. 3 Pittsburgh
What other reasons do I have to pick one of these two teams?  Well, mascots will determine everything from here on out.  An Aztec would sacrifice a Panther more often than it would turn up as a meal for the Panther.  San Diego State to the title game.

2 Villanova vs. 3 New Mexico
A Wildcat vs. a Lobo.  A wildcat is a small feline that only weighs between six and 17 pounds and measures just 18-32 inches long.  A Lobo is a grey wolf that can weigh up to 79 pounds and can be between four and six feet long.  I am of the feeling that a dog would always win a battle against a cat.  Additionally, I hate cats and love dogs.  Looks like I have to pick New Mexico to move on.

CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
3 New Mexico vs. 11 San Diego State
If we go by the rationale that I used for the Pitt-SDSU game, then San Diego State would win.  However, panthers tend to hunt alone which would make it easier to capture and kill in my opinion.  Wolves on the other hand, they hunt in packs making it very difficult on a single Aztec to capture and kill a wolf without meeting his own demise.  The pack of Lobos sacrifices the Aztecs and cuts down the nets in Indianapolis.  So, there you have it.  New Mexico claims the 2010 NCAA Division I basketball championship!

Lastly, a shout out to Randolph-Macon and Guilford who will both represent the ODAC in the NCAA Division III Final Four this weekend in Salem.  How awesome would it be to see the two teams that met in the ODAC Final play for the national championship on the same floor where Guilford cut down the nets as the ODAC Champion?

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