NCAA Tournament Notebook

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School Spirit: Gonzaga fans demonstrate what's great about college basketball

Last month, the WWF and NBC served to us on a greasy plate a brand of football they thought we'd like. Remember He Hate Me, the Las Vegas running back who made a name for himself with his name, because he couldn't do it with his football skills? Probably not, because recent ratings of XFL telecasts score only slightly higher than the Delt boys' GPAs in "Animal House." More like We Hate It.

But March brings the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, an event that appeals to even casual sports observers for a healthy reason: We like to see the little guys win.

Truth be told, for every victory by David, there's 10 for Goliath. Bryce Drew led Valparaiso to the Sweet 16 in 1998, the same year that Prairie View lost to Kansas by 58. Most people remember the former, and that's a good thing.

But blinders don't come with the business cards at, so it's only fair to remind ourselves that college sports are rife with greed and hypocrisy, and that gambling is a big attraction to the tourney. But that's not why most people will be glued to the tube, apart from an innocuous $5 office pool. They'll watch for the right reasons.

That a possible upset is the basic appeal of the Big Dance is indeed an interesting notion, because that attitude is not exactly prevalent in all sports.

Upsets are welcome at the Olympics, so long as Americans come out of top. Rulon Gardner winning wrestling gold in Sydney was inspirational. The Soviet Union beating the U.S. men's basketball team in Seoul failed to inspire anything but the creation of the Dream Team.

And forget about pro sports. Upsets aren't even considered:

MLB: I hope the Yankees win/lose because I love/hate them.

NFL: I hope the Super Bowl is close.

NBA: I hope John Stockton and Karl Malone don't put me to sleep.

NHL: I hope that guy has a good dentist.

It seems that a declaration of desire for upsets is required when submitting office pool bracket sheets. "I've got Michigan State and Duke in the final, but I just want to see some upsets."

It's a rather refreshing attitude for sports fans to take.

And it sure beats watching the XFL because they have "no wussy coin toss."

TRIVIA TIME (answers below)

1. Who was the last player to win the Wooden Award in the same year his team won the NCAA title?

2. Who is the NCAA Tournament's career leader in scoring average (minimum of six games)?

3. Which team scored the most points in a championship game?

4. Among active head coaches, which two men have guided teams to the most number of NCAA Tournaments?

5. Who was the last player to be named Most Outstanding Player for a Final Four in which his team did not win the championship?


Sick of losing the annual office pool to the art-loving secretary or the boss' 12-year-old son?

Well, I know I am.

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it, so before penciling in those brackets (and we do suggest pencil, in case the opportunity for cheating later arises), take a tip from tournaments past:

We'll Stay the Weekend The teams with the longest active winning streaks in first-round games are: Kansas (17), Kentucky (10), Iowa (9), Boston College and Oklahoma State (8 apiece).

Let's Play Two Since 1992, five teams have entered the tournament as a No. 1 seed and with two losses on the season. Four have won the national championship: Duke (1992), UCLA (1995), Kentucky (1996) and Connecticut (1999). Stanford is the only team in this year's field to fill both qualifications.

Four Could Score No. 4 seeds are 7-4 in the regional finals, which is certainly impressive when compared to No. 2 seeds' 13-17 record when playing for a berth in the Final Four.

Five's Alive, but Only for a Time No. 5 seeds have advanced to the Sweet 16 on 21 occasions, but they've won just three games in the regional semifinals.

Nine Is Fine Since the NCAA Tournament field was extended to 64 in 1985, No. 9 seeds have a 35-29 advantage over their eighth-seeded, first-round opponents. Last year, however, the eights posted a 4-0 record.


1. UCLA forward Ed O'Bannon was the last player to win the Wooden Award in the same year his team won the NCAA title (1995). Three others have pulled the double feat: Louisville's Darrell Griffth (1980), Kansas' Danny Manning (1988) and Duke's Christian Laettner (1992). Michael Jordan was named the Wooden Award winner in 1984, two years after his North Carolina team won the national championship. UNLV's Larry Johnson won the Wooden Award in 1991, the year after the Runnin' Rebels were shocked by Duke in their bid to repeat as champions.

2. Austin Carr of Notre Dame scored 289 points in seven games from 1969-71 for a whopping 41.3 scoring average. He's trailed in the top five by four NBA Hall of Famers: Bill Bradley, Princeton (33.7); Oscar Robertson, Cincinnati (32.4); Jerry West, West Virginia (30.6); and Bob Pettit, LSU (30.5).

3. The UNLV Running Rebels scored 103 points in their 30-point blowout victory over Duke in the 1990 championship game. They remain the only team to have broken the century mark in a final.

4. Arizona's Lute Olson and Oklahoma State's Eddie Sutton each will be making their 22nd appearances as a head coach in the NCAA Tournament, tops among active coaches. Syracuse's Jim Boeheim trails closely at 21.

5. Houston center Akeem (as Hakeem was known then) Olajuwon was named the Most Outstanding Player of the 1983 Final Four after averaging 20.5 points and 20.0 rebounds for the two games. But it was North Carolina State and coach Jim Valvano who danced on the floor after winning the national title.