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Omniscient Shawn looks at tourney's sure bets, wannabes, and losers

By Shawn Mastrian

For some strange reason, my favorite time of the year is not Christmas, the end of classes, or spring break. Granted, all these occasions are wondrous indeed, but they still do not compare to the festive season which has recently begun. Yes, it's NCAA basketball tournament time.

I thought it would only be fit to give you my views as to what's going to happen, what would be neat if it happened, and what isn't going to happen in the tournament. For all of you with bookmakers, I have a perfect record for my in-print predictions, unmatched by even the top sportswriters everywhere.

Teams which should do well

1. LaSalle -- I don't care if they played five elderly ladies every game, 29-1 is still impressive in my book. Plus Lionel "Freight Train" Simmons is just about the best ball player in the nation and his 3000+ point career proves this. Numbers don't lie, and no other team can boast of such numbers. They are my choice to take it all.

2. UNLV -- So their collective brain power couldn't provide enough spark to light a match, who cares? All the chemical engineers in the world couldn't beat these recreational and leisure studies guys. Their top forward, Larry Johnson, is a big, scary guy who will probably get upset if the Rebels start to lose. I wouldn't want to make him mad.

3. Oklahoma -- It's too easy to pick them to do well, but they're not #1 for nothing. I actually watched this team score 160 points in a game once. Given 40 minutes, I'd be hard pressed to score that much all alone in the gym.

4. Loyola Marymount -- They're the only team in the tournament with reason to play outside of winning the trophy. When your team leader, in their case Hank Gaithers, dies suddenly, it does indeed take a lot out of you. But they are not about to roll over and cop out. You don't do that when you dedicate a tournament to a close friend.

5. Illinois -- A better team than you might think. They are back in the tournament with basically the same team that got them to the final four last year. Personal disputes which have been hampering the club all season should disappear in the tournament.

Teams it would be neat to see win

1. Princeton -- It would be nice to see some guys who can spell "basketball" and count to the final score actually win the tournament. As an aside, this <>

team is better than you'd think (remember, they almost beat Georgetown last year). Imagine a postgame interview with a player who can offer more than monosyllabic grunts.

2. Coppin State -- Of all the dinky little schools that nobody has ever heard of, Coppin State is my favorite. Granted, Syracuse will beat them by around five hundred points, but I like the way "Coppin State" sounds. Just curious -- does anyone know where Coppin State is?

3. Xavier -- No school with an "X" as it's first letter has ever won the tournament. I think "X" is a really neat letter. Besides, Xavier McDaniel of the Seattle Supersonics (and founder of the school?) is a real dude.

4. Ohio State -- I'm from northeast Ohio. Knowing the school is one of the largest party centers in the universe, I am amazed they can find five guys sober enough to play ball at a given time. It's where I should have gone to school, and so I'll pretend I do for now.

5. BU -- I have a friend at BU. He can get me into BU parties. BU parties are fun. Imagine the party if they win it all!

Teams which won't do anything

Obviously, I could list here the Murray States, University of Southern Floridas and Robert Morrises of the tournament, but I don't have to tell you that they don't have a chance. So here are the teams which you should keep the money away from.

1. Georgetown -- I watched them throw away big games at Syracuse and against UConn in consecutive weeks. It was observed that Georgetown always has a knack for losing the big games. That is no way to win a national championship.

2. Missouri -- They lost to Notre Dame recently by 35. They lost to Colorado just before the tournament. This team is going the wrong way, and should get an early vacation.

3. Michigan State -- Yeah, they're a number one seed, and yeah, they won the Big Ten title. I just don't see any Magic. Funny thing is, the rest of their region is headed for a similar fate, so they'll make me look bad initially. In the end, though, they won't be there.

4. Kansas -- Did you see the scores of the last two Kansas-Oklahoma games? Ugly.

Just a reminder -- The Tech assumes no responsibility for revenue loss caused by inaccurate predictions.


Shawn Mastrian '91 is sports editor of The Tech.