Score by having abundant hoops info

Posted on March 15, 2003

Surely you haven't been left out of the loop of this year's March Madness. By the time you are reading this, you have probably filled out 50 brackets for various pools, trying to determine if one of your combinations will win that free umbrella your employer is supplying. Another important thing to figure out is if IUPUI is an actual team or if it is just made up of players from both Indiana and Purdue.

Good news, it is a separate school. They are the Jaguars, from the Mid-Continent conference. This information won't help you decide if they will pull off a first-round upset, though.

In fact, I don't have much help in this column on which teams to pick in the NCAA men's tournament. How can I? I'm writing this four days before the brackets even come out. I would recommend visiting ESPN, CBS Sportsline and Bracket Magic, if you want to read sports analysts who are following the teams to the Final Four. There are many, many sites out there to make your selections, but I don't have time to find them all.

At the same time, there are plenty of games NOT in the NCAA men's tournament that I don't want you to miss. No, I'm not talking about the National Invitation Tournament. I was thinking these games could be played between the real tournament, St. Patrick's Day and the war. Here are a list of those games:

1. St. Bonaventure vs. Georgia: This game pits a team who forfeited its last two games, and could be even thrown out of its conference, against a team that has forfeited its right to play in the SEC and NCAA tournaments. Has there ever been a double forfeit in a game? I'll take Georgia, mainly because the Bonnies have no players remaining.

2. McNairy Central-Chester County rematch: Any time a game comes down to overtime, it's worth another look. Even if a total of 11 points were scored in this Tennessee girls' high school tournament game. The score was 4-4 at the end of regulation.

3. Texas Tech vs. UCLA: "My team didn't perform that well, guys, take my salary back!" says Red Raiders coach Bob Knight. "My team didn't perform that well, guys, so here are some people who can replace me," says Bruins coach Steve Lavin. If this game were made possible, maybe Knight could toss both teams candy like he did to the Northwestern fans a few years ago, when he was everyone's "Hoosier Daddy" at Indiana. UCLA took care of No. 1 Arizona, while Tech beat No. 3 Texas in tuneups for this matchup.

4. Walkerville vs. anyone but Lakeshore: After winning the first matchup 115-2, it's probably better these teams don't face each other. But if the girls' high school team Walkerville, out of Detroit, is going to beat a team by 113, maybe it should face more formidable opponents. There's always Michigan State or even the Pistons.

5. Grinnell vs. McNairy Central or Chester County: Grinnell is a Division III team that averaged about 130 points a game. We already know about the other two teams, scoring a combined 11 points in an overtime game. Even though Grinnell is a college team, I wonder what would happen here.

See, by just focusing on the men's NCAA tournament, look what you miss! I'm drawing up the bracket for the above games as I write. As for who to select come Selection Sunday, I do want to throw out one statistic for you. There are only three teams in men's Division I who have not lost to a team rated below 50 in the RPIs. Those teams are Oklahoma, Louisville and Pittsburgh. If you are going to pick an upset, choose a different team than these three.

For the first time, you can watch the NCAA tournament on the Internet. Go to and sign up if you're going to be stuck at work Thursday and Friday. Unfortunately, it's not free.

Does IUPUI have a chance at beating a higher-ranked opponent? The best thing about the field of 65 is that every team has a chance, as long as your team doesn't have to forfeit. I'm not going to pick any upsets here. I'll be upset only if I don't get to watch enough tournament games.