The NCAA basketball tournament gets under way Thursday, so many of you college hoop fans are filling brackets or picking teams for office pools.
For people who need a little more information to complete that quest, here's a breakdown of each region. Hopefully this will enhance your enjoyment of March Madness.
Winner - Florida. Cinderella - Louisiana State. First-round upset possibilities - Sand Diego over Stanford; Colorado over Michigan State.
Players to watch - Roman Sato (Xavier): David West is Xavier's star, but Sato can play. Matt Bonner (Florida): He doesn't get much national attention and he's not flashy, but he can score at will. Ben Gordon (Connecticut): Gordon reminds me of Golden State's Gilbert Arena. They both can light it up. T.J. Ford (Texas): He's an obvious choice. Ford is fun to watch.
Winner - Kentucky. Cinderella - Missouri. First-round upset possibilities - Tulsa over Dayton; Weber State over Wisconsin.
Players to watch - Marquis Estill (Kentucky): The Wildcats guards get all the publicity, but this guy can take over games. Luke Ridhour (Oregon): He may go out in round two, but it won't be from lack of effort. Ridhour is terrific. Dwayne Wade (Marquette): I love his quickness and athleticism. He's streaky, but when he's on, look out. Jeff Newton (Indiana): If the Hoosiers make a run, this Georgia native will be leading the way.
Winner - Kansas. Cinderella - Creighton. First-round upset possibilities - Gonzaga over Cincinnati; Wisconsin-Milwaukee over Notre Dame.
Players to watch - Kirk Hinrich/Nick Collison (Kansas): These two seniors represent what college athletics are all about. They aren't showboats. They just beat you. Chris Massie (Memphis): Massie's size makes him hard to handle. Channing Frye (Arizona): Luke Walton and Jason Gardner are in the spotlight, but if the Wildcats go far, Frye will play a big role. Dee Brown (Illinois): The Illini's big man Brian Cook is good, but this freshman could emerge as a star in the NCAAs.
Winner - Syracuse. Cinderella - Butler. First-round upset possibilities - North Carolina State over California; Butler over Mississippi State.
Players to watch - Hollis Price (Oklahoma): He may not be a great NBA prospect, but don't tell that to coaches in the Big 12. Fransisco Garcia/Reece Gaines (Louisville): Garcia is a dangerous shooter, while Gaines is the team leader. Carmelo Anthony (Syracuse): Freshman aren't supposed to average 22 points and 10 rebounds per game. Jameer Nelson (St. Joseph's): He's only 5-foot-9, but he can play on my team any day.
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