Read before jumping into the deep end of NCAA pool

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BRACKET-BUSTING

For those doing last-minute brackets, AP college basketball writer Jim O’Connell counsels another late look at New Mexico State. The Aggies are a 13 seed with a decent tournament pedigree, but they’ve only made one Final Four appearance and they’re matched against college basketball royalty in No. 4 Indiana. New Mexico State is going to need some more movie-caliber magic from Western Athletic Conference tournament MVP Wendell McKines to have any hope of staging its own version of “Hoosiers.”

But the music has to stop for one of them. And on paper, they’re dead even. But the loss of Indiana guard Verdell Jones, who tore the ACL in his right knee in the Big Ten tournament, should give the Aggies the nod.

Blame travel agents and a hangover for O’Connell’s two other potential bracket-busters.

No. 7 Gonzaga had to fly more than 2,000 miles to get to the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh; the Zags’ opponents, No. 10 West Virginia, made a two-hour bus ride from campus, with enough fans in tow for a genuine Mountaineer-style after-party.

And while Obama has written off his alma mater, 12th-seeded Harvard plays good defense, and if the Crimson catch a No. 5 Vandy team still reveling in last weekend’s upset of Kentucky, the Harvard Coop (pronounced co-op) might celebrate by halving the price on John Henry Wigmore’s light-hearted legal read, “A Kaleidoscope of Justice Containing Authentic Accounts of Trial Scenes from all Times and Climes.” Or maybe not.

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WHAT NOT TO WEAR:

In basketball fashion, to paraphrase Heidi Klum, one day you’re in and the next day you’re dressing like Baylor, Cincinnati and Louisville. All three teams broke out their new “adiZero” uniforms for last weekend’s conference tournaments, testing the limits of the color-decoder on TV sets across the land. Baylor’s players looked like overgrown highlighters in neon-yellow duds, while Louisville’s shade of red was better suited for tomatoes than Cardinals. And what’s with the goofy shorts? It’s as if designers couldn’t choose between military camouflage or “Jersey Shore” animal print, so they gave up and tried both.

Who do they think they are, Oregon?

Look, it’s fine for schools to push the fashion envelope chasing the hip-and-edgy 18-34 demographic. Heck, Marquette’s “Bumblebee” jerseys caused such a ruckus in the 1970s they were banned by the NCAA. Michigan’s Fab Five were considered renegades when they showed up with shaved heads and long, baggy shorts and black socks. Twenty years earlier, the same people were complaining about long hair and short shorts.

But sometimes a bad look is just that. Witness Kentucky. You don’t see the Wildcats trying to resurrect the denim outfits they got talked into wearing back in the day, do you?

When figure skating costumes look sedate in comparison, it’s time to go back to the drawing board.

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STAT OF THE DAY

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