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I Know the Future...

The Vent

By W. STEPHEN Venable

It's March. That means a couple of things.

First, warm weather is here--well maybe not here in Cambridge--but it's close to spring anyway. And spring of course means SPRING BREAK.

More importantly, March brings with it the madness they call the NCAA basketball tournament.

It's simply madness. There is no other word for it. Dollar after dollar is thrown into tournament pools, upset after upset occurs, and columnist after columnist makes a fool of himself with printed tournament predictions.

I am no different. I feel the need to cross this journalist's rite of passage, and thus I offer my picks for this year's tournament.

First though, a word about the teams in the tournament, or more specifically the selection of the teams in the tournament.

I, for one, would like to know what kind of drugs the selection committee was on when they made their selections.

Manhattan over Georgia Tech. Absurd.

Santa Clara over George Washington. Ludicrous.

Even Virginia Tech and St. Joseph's deserved to be in the tournament more than two other at large teams, Miami (OH) and Minnesota.

I realize its fun to cheer for the smaller school, but not at the expense of better quality basketball.

The selection committee said it wanted the 35 best at-large teams in the tournament. I don't think they got them.

But alas, that is only my opinion and it really doesn't count for much.

That aside, I now present to you The Vent's 1995 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament picks:

The Final Four: I'll take Arkansas, Wake Forest, North Carolina and Maryland.

In a battle of the word "Kansas," Arkansas will win the Midwest, which is by far the toughest bracket, in a thriller over Kansas in Kansas City.

Kansas could have a tough time getting to the Arkansas match-up though as it must beat a tough Virginia squad, who will have just beaten Damon Stoudamire and Arizona, in the sweet 16.

In the Southeast, North Carolina will take Kentucky in a game for the ages--hey, anytime these two step on the court together, you know it is going to be something special.

Why does Carolina win? Two words: Rasheed Wallace.

Wake Forest will be the only number one seed to get to the Final Four, earning its trip with a victory over Villanova--sorry, UMass fans, the Wildcats growl past you--in the regional final.

Can you imagine that game? Two "prime-time players" in Randolph Childress from Wake and Kerry Kittles from Nova going head to head. Childress wins.

Maryland gets the last spot in Seattle, blowing past Texas and Connecticut (You did read that right. Maryland will blow out Connecticut.) and then bullying its way, behind super sophomore Joe Smith, past the top ranked Bruins of UCLA.

In Seattle, I'll take Maryland over Wake, and North Carolina over Arkansas.

Then you'll see why the sky is painted Carolina blue when the Heels win the national championship.

Tournament Upsets: I've got to jump on the Wisconsin-Green Bay band wagon. Last year they beat Jason Kidd and California. This year they get Purdue, the Big Ten (11) champs.

It would be a fun one to see, and I love it when the Big Ten loses. By the way, I'll pick all six--yes six, even though there should only be four--Big Ten teams to lose before this weekend ends. No Little Eleven guys in the sweet 16.

The Ivy League: I honestly think Penn will beat Alabama in its opening round game. If Matt Maloney and Jerome Allen are on it could be a long day for the Crimson Tide.

I don't see the Quakers getting past "Big Country" Reeves and Oklahoma St. in the second round, though. Penn just can't combat the OSU height.

The Women's Tourney: To be fair, I'll offer picks for the women's NCAA's as well. Tennessee, Connecticut, Stanford and Colorado make the Final Four in Minneapolis, Tennessee beats Connecticut for the title and Dartmouth gets drilled in the first round.

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