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Dudes. Helicopter. Ball. Rim. Need we say more?

Question of the Day

Is it still considered bad form to talk politics during a social gathering?

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Welcome back to BracketRacket, your one-stop shopping place for all things NCAA on tournament game days. And away we go.

GREATEST SHOT EVER?

Dudes. Helicopter. Basketball. Rim, Need we say more?

Watch here: http://tnw.co/zGFMKL

One more thing, actually. The shot traveled 192 feet. Using the college arc and calculating three points for every 20 feet, 9 inches, that makes it a 27-pointer _ plus change.

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WORLD'S LARGEST BRACKET? CHECK. BUT FOR HOW LONG?

Something that won't stay in Vegas for long: the title of "World's Largest NCAA Bracket."

The bugs were still being ironed out at press time. But it's designed to display the bracket on the underside of a 1,500-foot by 90-foot canopy that covers a downtown street between casinos, apparently because there never seem to be enough scoreboards in Vegas when you really need one.

Anyway, check out the story and photo in the Las Vegas Review-Journal: http://bit.ly/AzlDq1

And do it before the sheiks in Dubai get wind of this and begin construction on a bigger one. They don't play a lot of hoops over there, but they are very, very competitive that way.

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TODAY'S CELEBRITY ALUM ...

Bruce Hornsby told AP's Will Graves after UNC-Asheville almost toppled Syracuse in Pittsburgh that he's just another Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter who wishes he was a better baller. Think Kanye West, or Nelly, but with fewer tattoos and radically different tastes in music. Best known for the 1980s easy-listening hit "The Way It Is," Hornsby is taller than you'd think seeing him on TV _ 6-foot-4, though at age 57, he insists he's "shrinking" _ and knows his way around a court better than you'd ever guess.

He turned down a basketball scholarship at Randolph-Macon to play piano, eventually graduated from Miami (Fla.), and roots for UNC-Asheville because his son, Keith, chose the fork in the road that dad bypassed and plays shooting guard there. Funny how things worked out.

"This is a new thing for our family," Hornsby said, clad in Bulldog blue. "There's never been an athlete at this level in this branch of the family."

The old man knew that when Keith finally smoked him one-on-one as a ninth-grader, despite plenty of smack.

"And I talk," Hornsby said, laughing, "like you wouldn't believe."

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CELEBRITY ALUM _ HONORABLE MENTION

No shortage of mad skills for our second alum. Stephen Curry can play with anyone. Back in his college days at tiny Davidson, Curry led the nation in scoring, was a consensus All-America pick and likely to ring up 30 points or more on tournament nights. He single-handedly carried the Wildcats to the threshold of the 2008 Final Four before they were knocked out by eventual champion Kansas.

His NBA career has been slightly less eventful. Taken at No. 7 in the 2009 NBA draft by Golden State, Curry averaged 18 points per game in his first two full seasons. He was rehabbing a troublesome right ankle at the Warriors' practice facility on the other side of the country when AP's Janie McCauley caught up with him after Davidson made its exit Thursday night courtesy of Louisville, 69-62. Despite both setbacks, Curry was in a good mood because his loyalties were no longer divided. Younger brother Seth plays for Duke.

"I told him to just have fun. It goes by pretty fast," Curry said. "You've got to enjoy the experience and the time, but obviously you've got to take advantage of the moment and play your best. ... His redshirt year, he was a practice all-star. He was the best player on every opposing team and they had to try to stop him."

Not an easy task, since few families work on creating their own shots as early the Curry's. Dell, their dad, played in the NBA for 18 years and mom Sonya was a volleyball standout with a wingspan that made her a threat to block shots from almost anywhere on the family's driveway.

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BRACKET-BUSTER

Xavier is back in the spotlight, this time as AP college basketball writer Jim O'Connell points out, for the right reasons. He thinks the 10th-seeded Musketeers will be there a while longer, too.

They face No. 7 Notre Dame in a matchup of Midwestern Catholic schools, so naturally they're meeting in Greensboro, N.C. Xavier was ranked No. 8 in all the land when the Musketeers got into an ugly brawl with crosstown rival Cincinnati in December and lost five of their next six. But Xavier closed strong, winning four of five and scoring more than 70 points three times in the run. The Irish, meanwhile, are struggling lately. They've failed to score 60 points in four of their last five, including just 41 in an 18-point loss to Georgetown. As O'Connell put it, "shooting like that will have a coach lighting candles at the Grotto."

He's picking Xavier in a mild upset. He also likes old age and treachery to prevail in another mild upset _ taking No. 9 Saint Louis over No. 8 Memphis. Billikens coach Rick Majerus, who's in his 25th season, took Utah to the national title game in 1998 and has clipboards older than Josh Pastner, who is 34 and in his third season with the Tigers. Not surprising, they approach the game differently, too. O'Connell thinks the wily Majerus can steal this one with a defense designed to gum up the Tigers' freewheeling attack.

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STAT OF THE DAY

No. 2 seed Missouri is a popular pick to displace one of the four No. 1s at the Final Four _ and with good reason. The Tigers convert possessions into points better than any team in the country, averaging 1.2555 every time they bring the ball up the court, according to STATS LLC. That's important because four of the last six national champions have come into the tournament ranked first or second in that department and a fifth _ the 2010 titlists from Duke _ were sixth. The outlier? UConn, which won last season despite ranking 43rd.

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QUOTES OF THE DAY

"Because God is a Gael," Washington Nationals utility man Mark Teahen, who's played seven years in the major leagues with the Royals, White Sox and Blue Jays, explaining his pick of his alma mater, Saint Mary's, over Purdue.

"WOW these officials in the Syracuse game clearly have money on Syracuse. Terrible," tweeted NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin.

Sounds like his money was on UNC-Asheville.

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THURSDAY'S RESULTS

EAST REGIONAL

At The CONSOL Energy Center, Pittsburgh

Kansas State 70, Southern Mississippi 64

Syracuse 72, UNC Asheville 65

Gonzaga 77, West Virginia 54

Ohio State 78, Loyola (Md.) 59

At The Pit, Albuquerque, N.M.

Wisconsin 73, Montana 49

Vanderbilt 79, Harvard 70

SOUTH REGIONAL

At The KFC Yum! Center, Louisville, Ky.

Kentucky 81, Western Kentucky 66

Iowa State 77, UConn 64

At The Pit, Albuquerque, N.M.

Baylor 68, South Dakota State 60

Colorado 68, UNLV 64

At The Rose Garden, Portland, Ore.

VCU 62, Wichita State 59

Indiana 79, New Mexico State 66

MIDWEST REGIONAL

No games scheduled

WEST REGIONAL

At The KFC Yum! Center, Louisville, Ky.

Murray State 58, Colorado State 41

Marquette 88, BYU 68

At The Rose Garden, Portland, Ore.

Louisville 69, Davidson 62

New Mexico 75, Long Beach State 68

___(equals)

FRIDAY'S GAMES

EAST REGIONAL

At Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tenn.

Cincinnati (24-10) vs. Texas (20-13), 12:15 p.m.

Florida State (24-9) vs. St. Bonaventure (20-11), 30 minutes following

SOUTH REGIONAL

At Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, N.C.

Duke (27-6) vs. Lehigh (26-7), 7:15 p.m.

Notre Dame (22-11) vs. Xavier (21-12), 30 minutes following

MIDWEST REGIONAL

At Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, N.C.

Creighton (28-5) vs. Alabama (21-11), 1:40 p.m.

North Carolina (29-5) vs. Lamar-Vermont winner, 30 minutes following

At Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio

San Diego State (26-7) vs. N.C. State (22-12), 12:40 p.m.

Georgetown (23-8) vs. Belmont (27-7), 30 minutes following

At Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tenn.

Michigan (24-9) vs. Ohio (27-7), 7:20 p.m.

Temple (24-7) vs. California-South Florida winner, 30 minutes following

At CenturyLink Center, Omaha, Neb.

Saint Mary's (Calif.) (27-5) vs. Purdue (21-12), 7:27 p.m.

Kansas (27-6) vs. Detroit (22-13), 30 minutes following

WEST REGIONAL

At Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio

Memphis (26-8) vs. Saint Louis (25-7), 6:50 p.m.

Michigan State (27-7) vs. LIU (25-8), 30 minutes following

At CenturyLink Center, Omaha, Neb.

Florida (23-10) vs. Virginia (22-9), 2:10 p.m.

Missouri (30-4) vs. Norfolk State (25-9), 30 minutes following

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