It will be hard not to feel a little sorry for the winner of the tournament’s first game tonight. Yes, the winner.
Manhattan and Hampton are playing for the right to go up against unbeaten No. 1 seed Kentucky.
But don’t feel too sorry for the Jaspers' RaShawn Stores, no matter what the outcome. Stores, a senior point guard and team captain, has had a storybook career, and this profile in the New York Times is worth reading.
Stores walked on at Manhattan and won over Coach Steve Masiello, who understood very well what Stores was trying to accomplish. Masiello had walked on at Kentucky when he was a player.
“He means everything,” Masiello told the Times. “He’s an extension of me on the court. He’s got the greatest I.Q. of anyone I’ve seen. He’s as tough as they come. He makes big shots. He’s not afraid of the moment.”
The winner of the second game, BYU vs. Ole Miss, will face Xavier next and, more importantly for most people, the Cougars might be the key to winning the tournament bracket! That is if you believe this bold prediction—and if you do, ride them all the way to the Sweet 16.
BYU is led by Tyler Haws, a 6-foot-5 senior who is third in the nation in scoring at 21.9 points per game, and is BYU’s all-time leading scorer.
“Tyler’s commitment to his craft is tremendous,” BYU coach Dave Rose told USA Today. “He studies the game. He has a plan.”
Here’s what else you need to know about the NCAA Tournament today:
• Speaking of bold predictions, here are nine more from ESPN’s Myron Medcalf.
• Want a different kind of bracket challenge? Here’s one for the risk-takers: “The more unusual your picks, the more points they’re worth — as long as they’re right.”
• There’s all kinds of fuzzy math in the entertainment industry (this is entertainment, right?) and this report makes a claim that might make you scratch your head, especially in light of the looming Ed O'Bannon appeal: “More than two of every five teams in the NCAA tournament either didn’t make a dime or lost money on their men’s basketball program last year.”
• There are 68 teams and here are 68 facts. That’s one for each team, which seems quite fair, and we’re all about justice, aren’t we?
Here’s tonight’s TV schedule:
• No.16 Hampton vs. No.16 Manhattan, 6:40 pm ET (truTV)
• No.11 BYU vs. No.11 Ole Miss, 9:10 p.m. ET (truTV)
And, finally, here are a couple handy-dandy tournament links: