The Washington Times - March 25, 2011, 11:10AM

Shortly before the NCAA Tournament began, several members of the Wizards filled out a few brackets, made a few predictions, and remembered their college days fondly when they were a part of the Tournament themselves.

Rookie Jordan Crawford is from Xavier, and this time last year, he was playing in the Sweet Sixteen.

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“It was the best time of my life, the last time I was with my teammates that I spent two years with,” Crawford said.

“We made a good run, we [were] playing good at the right time, had a lot of fun just shooting around, bus rides, playing…everything about it was fun. I got to miss school for like three weeks straight. It was cool.”

Although Crawford said he believed this year’s squad could make the same type of run, his Xavier Musketeers were knocked out this year by the Marquette Golden Eagles in their first game of the Tournament.

But faring even worse were Nick Young’s USC Trojans. Young had high hopes for his alma mater at first, but his sly smile added a dose of reality about his team’s chances.

“I’m behind them all the way. We made a big push this year. I believe we’re doing better than UCLA,” Young quipped. The Trojans didn’t make it out of the First Four, falling to the VCU Rams.

Kansas State alum Cartier Martin hoped for a long run for his Wildcats.

“I think K-State has a pretty good chance of going pretty far,” Martin said.

“We got knocked out of the Conference Tournament pretty early but that just gives us a little bit more time to practice and get ready to make a run in the Tourney. Final Four, here we come.”

Well, not quite. The K-State Wildcats made it past Utah in the first round before falling to the Wisconsin Badgers in the second.

The boldest prediction came from Clemson alum Trevor Booker.

“If Clemson gets in, we’re going all the way,” Booker said, laughing. When asked to provide a backup team, he joked, “what’s wrong with Clemson?”

The Clemson Tigers did make it past the UAB Blazers in the First Four, but fell to the West Virginia Mountaineers in the first round.

And so, with hopes dashed and brackets busted, the Wizards get back to business and their game against the Denver Nuggets at 9pm.

And this time, they won’t be looking across court at Carmelo Anthony – who won the NCAA Championship with Syracuse in his freshman year.

(Player quotes courtesy of Wizards Magazine on the team website)