The Washington Times - March 17, 2009, 06:22PM

One of my favorite quirky things I have lying around the house is one of those long NCAA tournament banners that used to be placed on scorer’s tables at each site.

Mine’s from the 2002 first round at Verizon Center, and includes Alcorn State.


Trouble is, Alcorn State lost the play-in game to Siena that season. So that makes it a pretty nifty trinket, even if I can’t hang it anywhere because I dont’ have a wall long enough to put it up.

(Another trophy from that tournament: A gaudy yellow CBS Sports banner that proudly hangs in my guest bedroom).

Anyway, this little story is, I hope, more interesting than any sort of analysis of Morehead State meeting Alabama State in Dayton. No offense to those schools; at least they both have solid records.

Alabama State led the low-RPI SWAC from start to finish. Morehead State won probably the second-best game of the last two weeks just to make it into the tournament.

The pick: Alabama State, which will get to stick around an extra few days to meet Louisville on Friday. Bet on a close game; Chief Kickingstallionsims and the Hornets won’t go quietly. Plus, Alabama State pushed Illinois State, Auburn, Mississippi and Mississippi State in the regular season. Then again, the Eagles had a similar result against Illinois State.

Bet on a close game —- one much closer than the winner will get to play the next time out.

—- Patrick Stevens