BASKETBALL Outside Raleigh

NCAA Tourney Preview: Presented By Raleigh City Sports

NCAA Tournament time is the best two days on the sporting calendar. We’ve done our research and pretty much have provided you with the essential topics of the tournament. No need to go anywhere else.

How much prep does Charles Barkley really do?

MIKE: Probably a lot more than we think. Definitely not for his job, but because my man Chuck loves to gamble and he needs to know just enough to be dangerous. You do you, Chuck.

JFK:  None whatsoever.

JP: According to this article not enough. I think Shaq should just do all hosting duties by himself. Like keep everybody who does the play by play the same, but have Shaq running the analysis from the home studios all by himself.

FITZ: I bet he does a lot of research. Which is SAD! Although, I wonder if the college kids will rebel against him like the NBA guys.

Which Mid-Major in tourney looks like the most fun to go to?

MIKE:  Dunk City all day. Aint no city popping like Fort Myers come tourney time, baby!

FITZ:  I’m going with St Marys. I love Australians and I think that is the whole student body. It might be religious affiliated but partiers gonna party.

JP: The natural inclination is to say the Mike’s Florida Gulf Coast. St Mary’s is a great choice too, but to be different I’m going to say New Mexico State. It’s near El Paso/the border. Most of Logan takes place there, and that movie was good. Okay fine, Florida Gulf Coast.

JFK:  Not North Dakota.

Will NC State have a head coach before the end of the second weekend?

MIKE: God, I hope so. If not, you’ll see State nation is full meltdown mode. It’s a win/lose scenario.

FITZ: I’m calling the Wednesday before the Final Four

JP:  Well Indiana is out of the NIT already after refusing to play on their home court, so Tom Crean is available right now…

JFK: I’m going to say yes. At least I hope they will. They canned Gott early to get a leg up in the search, so they should. Plus, the Final Four is an ideal networking event for coaches to assemble a staff, so it makes sense to have the guy in place by then — unless they are targeting someone who is still in the tourney (unlikely).

Will Duke make it out of the first weekend?

FITZ: No way. Hype machine is too big.

JP: I think a lot of people are really hoping for a Duke-UNC National Championship, so Duke better get out of their first weekend. If it does end up a Duke-UNC matchup, I think Dick Vitale will spontaneously combust pre-tipoff. I personally would love to see them fail.

JFK: Yes, they’re pretty hot right now. Neither Troy or South Carolina/Marquette should pose too much of a challenge.

Which tourney team could Mike had significant playing time with back in his prime?

FITZ: Vermont. I think woods and mountains when I think Vermont. I think lumberjack and grit when I picture Mike.

JP: I played with Mike for two years so I would know this better than anyone. It’s Florida Gulf Coast, obviously. The guy has “Dunk City” written all over him.

JFK: Mike’s a PA kid, so I’m going with Bucknell. Go Bison!

MIKE:  I was built for the Princeton offense. I’m not much fun to watch, but boy do I like to weave and heave…and make a nice bounce pass to a backdoor cutter.

Biggest upset?

MIKE:  Hmmm….Northern Kentucky giving the middle finger to UK! Also, not a chance that happens.

JFK:  5/12s are common, but I took UNCW over Virginia. If you need a bigger, more unlikely upset, Baylor seems to be trending in the wrong direction.

JP: I think two Tennessee teams are going to pull upsets: ETSU and Middle Tenn. But I also have pretty much every 12 seed beating the 5. And like Sir Charles, I’ve never won a bracket.

FITZ: NCCU over Kansas. I’m backing up $$$$ truck on this one. (NCCU didn’t even make it out of the play-in game. Cue Vanessa Carlton music)

Who will be the champ?

MIKE:  Dem Arizona Wildcat boys. Archie follows a year later with a rebuilt Wolfpack squad. Bet on that, Moneybagz!

JFK: I picked UCLA — high risk, high reward.

JP: I don’t care as long as K-State gets destroyed by 50…*runs away sobbing, jumps on the back of the motorcycle driven by the Demon Deacon, rides into sunset*

FITZ: UNC