Archive for Thursday, March 23, 2006

Column: Jayhawk jinx? KU loses in first round again

March 23, 2006

Once again, I have put my foot in my mouth when it comes to predicting the NCAA men's basketball tournament.

After the University of Kansas' first-round exit from the tournament, I have come to the conclusion that I am a Jayhawk jinx.

Last week, I made my second annual March Madness predictions in my column, and once again my picks were bad and my bracket was busted.

Of course, my biggest bust was KU, since I had them winning the national championship. I knew that pick was gutsy and probably wasn't going to happen, but I thought the Jayhawks would win a couple games.

KU had been playing very well and looked like it could make a run for the Final Four. The Jayhawks showed potential to play well in big games down the stretch, so they were ready for the tournament.

Then Friday night came, and it was time for KU to showcase its young team in the big spotlight. The light must have been too bright, because the Jayhawks showed the deer in the headlight look all game long.

Bradley University dominated KU from the beginning and never showed any signs of being scared. Bradley went on to win the game X-X and knock KU out of the tournament in the first round for the second straight year.

The funny part about it, after I was depressed all day Saturday, was that my boss Jeff Myrick told me this would happen. He told me Thursday that I would be putting my foot in my mouth with KU again.

When I came into work Monday, I knew Jeff was going to say something. He did eventually and I just laughed about it, because he warned me about my picks both years.

Last year, KU lost to Bucknell University in the first round. I also picked the Jayhawks to win the title last year. Of course last year, KU had the great senior class and choked.

So I have decided that I will not write about KU's tournament future next year. I will keep that to myself, so I don't jinx the Jayhawks. That or I will pick them to lose in the first round, so if they win, it will be a surprise and I can't be blamed for the loss.

I am waiting for next year's tourney, so the selection committee can set KU up against another BU team, perhaps Butler University, Boston University or maybe Baker University. So, the Wildcats won't be, but the others have possibilities.

The Jayhawks were not the only team that disappointed me in the tournament this year. The other major loss in my bracket was Michigan State University.

I thought the Spartans (No. 6) seed could string together a few wins and advance to the Elite Eight. They had the talent and usually play well in the tournament, but that was not the case this year.

The Spartans lost to George Mason University in the first round. The funny thing about George Mason winning was that it went on to beat KU's old coach Roy Williams and his University of North Carolina team.

So the George Mason victory ended up working out for the best. The other team that hurt me was San Diego State University.

I picked the Aztecs to upset Indiana before defeating Gonzaga. The Aztecs led the Hoosiers by five points with one minute left in the game, but were unable to hold the lead as they lost in the first round.

I had a few other losses in the first round, but nothing major. Despite my 11 losses in the first two days, I still have three of my final four teams left.

I am now going to cheer for Wichita State. I will probably jinx them by rooting for them, but oh well. If they don't win, I want to see either Texas or West Virginia.

Go Pittsnogle!

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