Down the Drive has asked me to put my powers of clairvoyance to use on the NCAA Basketball Tournament.
Admittedly, my preparations for this consist largely of watching American Athletic Conference basketball and AAF football this winter. Conveniently, they are both featured on CBS Sports Network on Sunday afternoons and that happens to be the channel my TV’s stuck on. The batteries on my remote control went dead while I was watching a Saturday morning infomercial on said network for the Showtime Rotisserie.
That being said, let’s get to the picks.
The First Four
No. 16 Prairie View vs. No. 16 FDU
Didn’t bother to look up what FDU stands for. I hope they lose so I don’t have to learn.
Final Score: Prairie View 38 FDU 32
No. 16 North Carolina Central vs. No. 16 North Dakota State
Both schools are I-AA football powers. I think NC Central was in this game last year too. That gives them the edge in experience. Also, Carson Wentz seems pretty brittle. I don’t think he can make it all four quarters.
Final Score: NC Central 80 NDSU 70
No. 11 Temple vs. No. 11 Belmont
Did you know that Belmont is the only campus in America that both appeared in Police Academy III (the graduation scene at the beginning) and has a fully-operational Ann Taylor Loft on campus? This weekend only, Ann Taylor Loft-Xavier is offering 30 percent off all Carson Tassel Suede Pumps. These fanciful, sensationally strappy silhouetted pumps are regularly priced at $179. If you head over to our convenient location on Victory Parkway, you can get them for just $148! With spring approaching, it is just about time for all you ladies out there to show off those freshly waxed feet of yours in this undeniably sophisticated and simultaneously comfortable pair of three inch heels.
Final Score: Temple 65 Belmont 60
No. 11 St. John’s vs. No. 11 Arizona State
One summer I got really into eating passenger pigeons. I cooked them in my Showtime Rotisserie as I stood atop Devil’s Tower. I collected basketball cards of former Red Stormer Ron Artest and I collected Trader Joe’s bags until I had enough of each to make a parachute that served as my salvation one chilly August evening.
Final Score: St. John’s 81 Arizona State 78
Round of 64
No. 1 Duke vs. One of the play-in teams
“#Duke beating #UNLV in the 1991 National Semi-Finals, the year after losing to the same team by 30 in the national title game, was the most culturally significant upset in the tournament until #UMBC tonight. At the time, it was compared to Douglas beating Tyson.” - Me, on Twitter, about a year ago. I stand by it.
Final Score: Duke 71 Them 52
No. 8 VCU vs. No. 9 UCF
UCF is either going to let 7’6 center Tacko Fall carry them to the promised land, blocking 20 shots every game, or they are going to lose in the first round. Go with the smart money, kid.
Final Score: VCU 56 UCF 50
No. 5 Mississippi State vs. No. 12 Liberty
Mississippi State football coach Joe Moorhead is one of the 14 handsomest in the SEC. His decision to grow a beard added great virility to his visage.
Final Score: Mississippi State 80 Liberty 63
No. 4 Virginia Tech vs. No. 13 St. Louis
My mom’s favorite basketball player of all-time is former Kentucky point guard and current St. Louis coach Travis Ford. That’s plenty of reason for me to pick the Billikens.
Final Score: St. Louis 81 Virginia Tech 70
No. 6 Maryland vs. No. 11 Temple:
“Eyes goanup del-uh-weer ahyv wit jawn looking ferde roah hoahme offus ant in Fishtown on YeasBerks. Her spiggit broahk and deres wooder alls oahver daflower. She’s hungry too so we sayster jeet? We sayster less get a hoahgie downitde Wawa on Aramingoah, throw back a few yingees, engo downyshore err uptapoahcanoahs.” – Fran Dunphy, March 1, 2019, when asked about the Owls’ chances in the NCAA Tournament.
Final Score: Temple 63 Maryland 60
No. 3 LSU vs. No. 14 Yale
Pete Maravich could have single-handedly defeated the five best Yale basketball players of all-time.
Final Score: LSU 150 Yale 9
No. 7 Louisville vs. No. 10 Minnesota
Goldy would have preferred a trip to the NIT. She is much more of a New York girl than a Minneapolis girl.
Final Score: Minnesota 81 Louisville 80
No. 2 Michigan State vs. 15. Bradley
I assume this game will resemble the video for “Waiting for a Star to Fall.”
Final Score: Michigan State 85 Bradley 60
East Region: Round of 32
No. 1 Duke vs. No. 8 VCU: Duke 74 VCU 65
No. 5 Miss State vs. No. 13 St. Louis: Miss State 71 St. Louis 63
No. 3 LSU vs. No. 11 Temple: LSU 76 Temple 56
No. 2 Michigan State vs. No. 10 Minnesota: Michigan State 75 Minnesota 65
No. 1 Duke vs. No. 5 Miss State: Duke 83 Miss State 70
No. 2 Michigan State vs. No. 3 LSU: Michigan State 100 LSU 69
No. 2 Michigan State vs. No. 1 Duke: Michigan State 87 Duke 80
Round of 64
No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 16 Prairie View
The Zig-Zags are petitioning the NCAA to move the Final Four from Minneapolis to Denver. Gonzaga coach Mark Few has no comment on the ongoing suit other than to say that 5-5-7-5-4 4-5-0-8-5 on his phone is the melody to “Funkytown.”
Final Score: Gonzaga 67 Prairie View 56
No. 8 Syracuse vs. No. 9 Baylor
This is what I thought adulthood was like when I was a little kid.
Final Score: Baylor 78 Syracuse 70
No. 5 Marquette vs. No. 12 Murray State
I still think of Dwayne Wade as a junior at Marquette. He has had a Hall of Fame worthy NBA career but I still think of him in college. That just shows the hold of the college game relative to the NBA, at least for me.
Final Score: Marquette 74 Murray State 45
No. 4 Florida State vs. No. 13 Vermont
Vermont’s Anthony Lamb is the best player in this tournament that you’ve never heard of. His name will long be remembered both in Burlington and in Tallahassee after this one.
Final Score: Vermont 82 Florida State 70
No. 6 Buffalo vs. No. 11 St. John’s
St. John’s has won the NIT about 40 times. They will not win it this year. But they will win two NCAA Tournament games.
Final Score: St. John’s 75 Buffalo 68
No. 3 Texas Tech vs. No. 14 Northern Kentucky
I hope all my fellow Bearcats are cheering for our little brothers at Northern Kentucky in this one.
Final Score: Texas Tech 84 Northern Kentucky 58
No. 7 Nevada vs. No. 10 Florida
I bet both teams are excited about playing in Des Moines.
Final Score: Nevada 83 Florida 80
No. 2 Michigan vs. No. 15 Montana
Did Mark Cohn single-handedly invent Adult Contemporary radio? Or was it Steve Winwood on “Back in the High Life”? Either way, thank you Lord for Mark Cohn and Steve Winwood.
Final Score: Michigan 65 Montana 60
Round of 32
No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 9 Baylor: Gonzaga 83 Baylor 80
No. 5 Marquette vs. No. 13 Vermont: Vermont 73 Marquette 70
No. 11 St. John’s vs. No. 3 Texas Tech: Texas Tech 72 St. John’s 59
No. 7 Nevada vs. No. 2 Michigan: Michigan 87 Nevada 83
No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 13 Vermont: Gonzaga 56 Vermont 50
No. 3 Texas Tech vs. No. 2 Michigan: Texas Tech 83 Michigan 78
No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 3 Texas Tech: Gonzaga 83 Texas Tech 80
Round of 64
No. 1 Virginia vs. No. 16 Gardner-Webb
Forget about last year. The Virginia Cavaliers are made for March. They play exceptional defense. They are disciplined. They are well coached. Their bench is deep. They have been here before.
Final Score: Virginia 83 Gardner-Webb 57
No. 8 Mississippi vs. No. 9 Oklahoma:
What is a Quint Kessenich and where is his home planet?
Final Score: Oklahoma 5 Mississippi 4
No. 5 Wisconsin vs. No. 12 Oregon
Oregon will likely turn down its NCAA bid this year for a shot at the NIT. These kids have never been to New York, son. They have never seen Keith Hernandez smoke a cigarette on no subway. They didn’t get to go to Ray Knight and Nancy Grace’s wedding. They never ate big sandwiches with Wally Backman or cried themselves to sleep on the Staten Island Ferry in Darryl Strawberry’s arms. These kids don’t know the mysteries of Jesse Orosoco. They have never called Ron Darling ‘darling.’ They’ve never gone roller skating with David Cone. They don’t know what it’s like to go sunbathing with Howard Johnson on Rockaway Beach or to give Roger MacDowell a belly raspberry after he falls during ice skating at Rockefeller Center. Everyone should get the chance to ride on a horse drawn carriage through Central Park, driven by none other than Ron Gardenhire. Everyone should get a chance to bend over backwards to kiss the statue of Continental League founder William Shea.
Final Score: Wisconsin 76 Oregon 57
No. 4 Kansas State vs. No. 13 UC Irvine
This one time I was talking with a guy from Kansas who went to UC Irvine and he told me that Bill Snyder was the Belinda Carlisle of the Big 12. I am not sure what that means, but I assume it’s a good thing.
Final Score: Kansas State 74 UC Irvine 47
No. 6 Villanova vs. No. 11 St. Mary’s
I know he never coached at Villanova, but one time Shaka Smart told me that he learned more from three minute records than he ever did in school. That is some heady and profound stuff, in a Meatloaf/Springsteen/Benatar/Seger/Mellencamp/Seven Mary Three kind of way. If Villanova wins this game, I’m going to make a strawberry sheet cake with vanilla frosting and I’m going to write ”Love is a Battlefield” on it in cursive.
Final Score: Villanova 81 St. Mary’s 68
No. 3 Purdue vs. No. 14 Old Dominion
Old Dominion freshman sensation David Banks is among the best student-athletes in the country. Unfortunately, most of his success has come on the “student” side of the equation. The economics major’s 3.87 GPA is tops in the department and he has an internship offer from Johnson & Johnson for this summer. Campus insiders report that he may leave school early to pursue economics professionally. His attempt to join the men’s basketball team as a walk-on proved less successful.
Final Score: Purdue 83 Old Dominion 65
No. 7 Cincinnati vs. No. 10 Iowa
Forget about last year. This team of ours is made for March. They can play defense. They are tough. And they can score. This March, the Bearcats will have a memorable run. And it starts by running over the Hawkeyes.
Final Score: Cincinnati 67 Iowa 50
No. 2 Tennessee vs. No. 15 Colgate
I agree. Sitting in a cold car in an airport parking lot is a great way to finish your writing assignments.
Final Score: Tennessee 67 Colgate 60
Round of 32
No. 1 Virginia vs. No. 9 Oklahoma: Virginia 67 Oklahoma 60
No. 5 Wisconsin vs. No. 4 Kansas State: Wisconsin 81 Kansas State 60
No. 6 Villanova vs. No. 3 Purdue: Villanova 68 Purdue 62
No. 7 Cincinnati vs. No. 2 Tennessee: Cincinnati 78 Tennessee 70
No. 1 Virginia vs. No. 5 Wisconsin: Virginia 82 Wisconsin 68
No. 6 Villanova vs. No. 7 Cincinnati: Cincinnati 67 Villanova 66
No. 1 Virginia vs. No. 7 Cincinnati: Virginia 61 Cincinnati 58
No. 1 UNC vs. No. 16 Iona
Ah, North Carolina, says the dad on the Brak Show. Dean Koontz’s old stomping grounds have been a frequent home for Lord Stanley’s cup, ever since Magic Johnson guided them to the 1983 NCAA title. It’s a shame that they haven’t made it back to the finals since then. They looked great against Florida A&M, Rutgers and NJIT earlier this year. I think they will make it to the second round.
Final Score: UNC 80 Iona 76
No. 8 Utah State vs. No. 9 Washington
Washington’s football uniforms are vastly superior.
Final Score: Washington 72 Utah State 70
No. 5 Auburn vs. No. 12 New Mexico State
Auburn, Alabama is located 108 miles west of Atlanta. Athens, Georgia is located 72 miles west of Atlanta. You can often get to Atlanta from Auburn faster because the traffic isn’t as bad west of the city. Does that make Auburn more Atlanta than Georgia? I guarantee you that nobody at New Mexico State has ever worried about this.
Final Score: Auburn 67 New Mexico State 60
No. 4 Kansas vs. No. 13 Northeastern
The most boring 30 for 30 is kind of about Kansas basketball. It’s about some guy named Reggie who buys the rules to basketball and brings them to Tornado Alley and they sing “Rock Chalk, Jayhawk” at the end. As the Young Indiana Jones said, “The Cup of Coronado belongs in a Museum!”
Final Score: Kansas 76 Northeastern 70
No. 6 Iowa State vs. No. 11 Ohio State
I am really good at filling out DMV forms. I am very good at this once every four years.
Final Score: Ohio State 100 Iowa State 74
No. 3 Houston vs. No. 14 Georgia State
The committee is going to wish they hadn’t snubbed Houston with a No. 3 seed. This is one of the best teams in the tournament.
Final Score: Houston 83 Georgia State 60
No. 7 Wofford vs. No. 10 Seton Hall
Seton Hall is my almost alma-mater. I almost went there. But the scholarship offer they sent me got lost in the mail. I had signed on to UVM by the time their letter arrived. I haven’t seen Wofford but I’ve seen Seton Hall and they are coming on strong as of late.
Final Score: Seton Hall 57 Wofford 50
No. 2 Kentucky vs. No. 15 Abeline Christian
I saw a man resembling Kentucky football coach Mark Stoops eat an entire loaf of frozen Ezekiel Bread on the bus the other day.
Final Score: Kentucky 56 Abilene Christian 47
Round of 32
No. 1 UNC vs. No. 9 Washington: UNC 81 Washington 63
No. 5 Auburn vs. No. 4 Kansas: Auburn 62 Kansas 60
No. 11 Ohio State vs. No. 3 Houston: Houston 81 Ohio State 68
No. 10 Seton Hall vs. No 2 Kentucky: Kentucky 67 Seton Hall 63
Round of 16
No. 1 UNC vs. No. 5 Auburn: UNC 67 Auburn 62
No. 3 Houston vs. No. 2 Kentucky: Houston 69 Kentucky 62
No. 1 UNC vs. No. 3 Houston: Houston 83 UNC 67
Michigan State 76 Gonzaga 65
Virginia 62 Houston 61
National Championship Game
Virginia 78 Michigan 73
This is a work of parody and not intended to be taken seriously.
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