- The Washington Times - Monday, March 16, 2009


The most unpredictable bracket in the most unpredictable event in sports.

Does Connecticut have enough shooters without Jerome Dyson?

What happens to Memphis now that it’s no longer facing the Washington Generals?

Is anybody buying the Pac-10? Missouri?

The entire region is a conundrum.

First, the committee made the right decision in awarding the No. 1 seed to the Huskies and not the Tigers. Memphis stepped outside the CYO league otherwise known as Conference USA to play five real teams this season. And the Tigers finished 2-3 in those games with losses to Georgetown, Syracuse and Xavier and wins at Gonzaga and Tennessee.

On the plus side, Memphis has won 25 consecutive games and has not lost since freshman sensation Tyreke Evans (16.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.8 assists) moved to the point, ending John Calipari’s experiment with 6-foot-8 freshman Wesley Witherspoon (who is not exactly Magic Johnson).

But Memphis is still an unknown, especially compared with last season’s superb squad. Missouri is the other scorching team in the bracket after running through the Big 12 tournament, but the other Tigers’ solid but unspectacular guard play is scary in a tournament that has long been associated with little men coming up big.

Washington is reliable but only consistently average. Purdue, like Missouri, was a shocking winner in the Big Ten tournament. Marquette has won once in six games since senior point guard Dominic James went down.

Perhaps Connecticut wins this region by default. The Huskies certainly have the ultimate game-changer in the region in center Hasheem Thabeet. The Huskies are the pick to join Pittsburgh, Michigan State and Gonzaga in Detroit, but Connecticut has more issues than the other No. 1s.

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