10. Don’t outsmart yourself in the 1st Round. There has never been a 16 upset a No. 1 seed. In fact, in the last 5 years the average margin in those matchups is a whopping 26 points. Take the chalk.
9. If you’re looking for a team from Texas, stop your search. For the first time since 1977 there ain’t one. I know, bummer. But it’s just an aberration, not an alarming trend. As recently as 2010 the state tied an all-time record with 7 teams in the tourney.
8. If you wanna watch games in Texas you’re in luck. 2nd-3rd rounds in Austin and Sweet 16/Elite 8 at Cowboys Stadium in two weekends.
7. There are, of course, local kids to root for. Two of the best are Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart (Flower Mound Marcus High School) and Mississippi guard Marshall Henderson (L.B. Bell High School). Smart will likely turn pro and be a Top 5 NBA Draft pick, but Henderson might be the most fun/annoying player in the whole tournament. He’ll shoot from anywhere, and talk trash at any time.
6. Don’t pick Kentucky. The defending champ Wildcats are a No. 1 seed all right, but in the NIT.
5. Watch Gonzaga center Kelly Olynyk and tell me he doesn’t remind you of the UCLA version of Bill Walton.
4. There will be a double-digit seed win two games and make the Sweet 16. Book it. Three teams in ’10, four in ’11 and last year it was Ohio, North Carolina State and Xavier. This year’s best bet: Cal. The Bears have a stud scorer in Allen Crabbe who can single-handedly push Cal into the Sweet 16. Watch out, Indiana.
3. If you, like most who fill out a bracket, can’t name 5 college basketball players here’s a cheat sheet: The finalists for the Wooden Award (college basketball’s Heisman) are Doug McDermott (Creighton), Kelly Olynyk (Gonzaga), Victor Oladipo (Indiana), Shane Larkin (Miami), Anthony Bennett (UNLV), Ben McLemore (Kansas) and Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State).
2. Play hookie with us at 105.3 The Fan. Thursday we’re watching games at Dave & Buster’s on 75/Walnut Hill in Dallas; Friday we’re in Watauga at Papa G’s Sports Bar on Rufe Snow.
1. My Final Four: Miami (Midwest), Ohio State (West), St. Louis (South), Florida (East). Champion: Miami. Senior leadership and the best point guard in the tournament, Shane Larkin. Happy Bracketing!
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