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“Life in Louisiana revolves around LSU football, the Saints, and the opening day of duck season,” Crais said. “I still try to fly back for one or two games every year with my tail-gater buddies.”

But that’s still six months off. Italie wanted to know instead how the NCAAs are going to end three weeks from now.

“Kansas made it to the top spot on my bracket,” Crais hedged, “but if Duke can focus, stay focused, and bring their 3-point game, they can take it.”

Mystery solved.



Full disclosure: BracketRacket set out to get Will Ferrell (USC, Class of `90), but he big-timed us.

So what? Southern Cal went 14-18 this season and didn’t even make it into the tournament. Who needed him, anyway?

Full disclosure Actually, Ferrell was tied up filming “Anchorman 2,” so his agent put AP business writer Christina Rexrode on hold, then transferred her to Ben Hoffman’s agent, who in turn got his client on the phone.

It must have been cloudy Wednesday in LA. Hoffman sounded despondent.

“I thought we were literally playing a guy named Robert Morris,” he said.

(At this point, Rexrode was probably despondent, too; snubbed by Will Ferrell and then, on the rebound, forced to type “Ben Hoffman” into Google as fast as she could.)

Turns out Hoffman, 37, raised and schooled in the bluegrass state (Kentucky `98), is a comedian and host of “The Ben Show with Ben Hoffman” on Comedy Central. He was featured in this week’s “Rolling Stone” magazine (here: under the headline “The Most Anxious Man on TV.”

Of course, a lot of Kentucky fans felt the same less than 24 hours after the Colonials of the Northeastern Conference threw a wrench into their juggernaut in the first round of the NIT. Hoffman, though, might be the only one who makes his living that way.

He told Rexrode his own writers were plotting a mutiny Thursday night, when the show regularly airs but the tournament begins in earnest. Maybe because they’ve still got teams to root for; all Hoffman has left is his Kentucky hat.

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