This year's NCAA tournament means a little bit more because for the first time, my alma mater, Binghamton University, will be in the tournament. The picture above was one of the best of the championship game this past weekend, as fellow alumnus and PTI host Tony Kornheiser has mentioned the school numerous times on the program. It hasn't been all good news for the program, as a hatchet job story in the New York Times on the school cutting academic standards for basketball players in exchange for a winning program. However the situation may look and may be, there's no doubt Binghamton is the only school that has sacrificed some academic reputation for athletic success. As for my two cents, any good making the tournament gives is worth as much as any of the other allegations brought up in the Times. It's about time to realize that collegiate sports have nothing to do with the academic nature of a university and should be seen for the separate entity that they are.
Besides Binghamton, the other team in this part of the country, Syracuse, is back after a two year absence. The Orange are on a roll after the epic 6 OT game vs. UConn but their last two appearances in the tournament have seen them out in the first round. Hopefully, this year brings a change. Here are my picks:
Final: Pitt over Villanova
Duke vs. Binghamton: I hope Binghamton can just keep it close. The only way they'll have a chance of beating Duke is if they make everything and Duke mysteriously can't shoot threes.
Upset Special: None unless you count Villanova over Duke
Final: North Carolina over Syracuse
Upset Special: Western Kentucky over Illinois, Clemson over Oklahoma
Final: Memphis over UConn
Upset Special: Utah State over Marquette and Missouri
Final: Michigan State over Louisville
Upset Special: USC over Boston College, West Virginia over Kansas