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The pick: Michigan State

March 15, 2012 - Neil Rudel
Will spare the rehash, but my NCAA bracket history, as those at the Mirror know, is not good.

It crescendoed/hit rock bottom about 15 years ago when Arizona -- my choice to win it all -- was decked on the opening Thursday by a No. 14 seed (forget which, maybe Ball State) in the noon game before most of the Mirrors, an afternoon paper then, had been delivered.

My prediction column ran on the same Thursday (first mistake) as the tourney began.

All I know is I never took a more delighted call from Ray Eckenrode, the bearer of the (bad) news that day.

Fast-forward to this year, and even though I rarely pick a No. 1 seed, this year's field is a little more wide open, and I'm taking Michigan State.

Tom Izzo might be the best coach in the game, the Big Ten may have been the best league in the country this year, and if the Spartans play like they did Sunday against Ohio State, I'm in good shape.

The Buckeyes look good, too. In fact, Sunday's Big Ten final was amazing with each team scoring on a half-dozen straight posessions in the second half in spectacular fashion -- dunks, 3-pointers, you name it.

It was a great preview to maybe the best three-week window in sports.

Good luck with your bracket.

***************

An interesting Penn State-related angle is sitting on the Missouri bench.

Frank Haith has become one of the rising coaches in the country. Haith was an assistant under Jerry Dunn during Dunn's first year with the Nittany Lions in 1996. They didn't connect well, and Haith quickly bolted in a lateral move for an assistant's job at Texas A&M.

He steadily climbed the ladder, though. At the right is his bio:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Haith

 
 

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