Thursday, March 21, 2002 Volume 67, Issue 113



C-USA throws in towel early

Men's NCAA

Abdul Michael Conteh

Okay, let me see a show of hands from all of you who had Southern Illinois, UCLA, and Kent State in your Sweet 16.

The Midwest division was the easiest bracket to predict, since most of the top seeds advanced to the Sweet 16.

Southern Illinois threw a big wrench in my East bracket.

All the people who criticized the committee's placing of Gonzaga as a sixth seed, please retract your words. Gonzaga is usually a perennial Sweet 16 team, but this
year it flopped.

Gonzaga thrives as the underdog, but can't handle being the better team on the floor.

I wanted Conference USA teams to flourish, but the Cincinnati Bearcats ruined it for the rest of us.

They are the first No. 1 seed to fall this year, and constantly flame out in tournaments.

Coach Bob Huggins is a great regular-season coach, but so far he hasn't prepared his team for tournament-tested programs like UCLA.

Marquette also didn't do C-USA justice by falling to Tulsa, whose 26 victories came in the weak Western Athletic Conference.

Now it's time for the revised bracket Elite Eight picks.

First off, Indiana does not stand a chance in hell against Duke and should lose by at least 15.

I've actually watched both Kent State games, and the team probably sticks to the basics more than anyone, which should help it shut down Pittsburgh.

Arizona is talented, but its youth will be its downfall against the Oklahoma Sooners.

All coach Steve Lavin does is put UCLA in the Sweet 16 every year, but this year his team should make the Elite Eight after defeating Missouri.

What's a Saluki? No one will care after Connecticut gnaws Southern Illinois to bits.

Kentucky is always tough in tournament play, and this will be the upset of the Sweet 16 over Maryland.

T.J. Ford is a young Steve Francis in the making and should help the Longhorns triumph over Oregon.

Illinois may be more talented top to bottom than Kansas, which will make for one exciting showdown. My pick goes to Illinois, which is peaking at the right time and
will be a force to reckon with.

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