Sixty-four things to consider about the Big Dance   

Updated: March 21, 2008, 3:49 PM ET

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Before a recent television appearance, Kansas State freshman Michael Beasley was asked by the studio folk to turn off his cell phone. As reported in the Washington Times, Beasley complied. He reached into his pocket and turned off his Blackberry, his iPhone, his Sidekick and an LG phone.

I don't know where that fits in, exactly, but I thought you might want to know in case you find yourself in Omaha this weekend and need to borrow a phone.

This Tournament's List*

One man who has never agreed with a foul call against him: Aron Baynes, Washington State.

Distinguished Professor of Timeout Science: Ben Howland.

Who needs a degree when you can have four phones?: A report by the University of Central Florida's Center for Diversity and Ethics in Sport revealed that North Carolina is the only one of this year's top seeds to graduate 50 percent of its players.

If they win, it won't be the coaching: Texas and USC.

Truths we hold to be self-evident, even if nobody ever goes back to see if they're actually true: (1) a team needs guards who can create in order to win; (2) poor free-throw shooting is a death sentence; (3) you can't win with freshmen.

Which, in turn, rules out: (1) Stanford; (2) Memphis; (3) USC.

You know you've watched too much bracketology when you know this: Pitt's Sam Young is renowned for his ball fake.

If you really want people to believe you know what you're talking about, even though you don't, say the following, nod knowingly and walk away: "I think South Alabama might surprise some people."

And if you're pressed to say something else, try this: "Before you blindly pick Vanderbilt, remember that Siena beat Stanford."

And after that?: Just walk away, because you're eventually going to be exposed.

Oh, and one other: Gus Johnson will get excited about it.

Clearest path to the Final Four: UCLA.

And, in a first-round matchup of traditional powers: Georgetown vs. UMBC.

Most meaningless statistic of the week: Mississippi Valley State comes into its first-round game against UCLA with nine straight wins.

And you just know the refs are in on this, too: USA Today put forth the theory that Cal-State Fullerton's first-rounder against Wisconsin in Omaha will be a "home away from home game" for the Titans because of the school's long-standing history in the College World Series.

The three worst words in college basketball: Extending the game.

What "extending the game" usually means: You're stuck watching a team shoot 20 free throws in the last 30 seconds while the game you really want to watch is halfway through the first half.

Take the over: Arizona-West Virginia.

Just for the heck of it: U.S. Reed.

One of the few certainties of the first round: Somewhere, a 14-seed will be leading a 3-seed at halftime.

Most likely candidate: Fullerton, because it'll take Wisconsin at least a half to overcome that whole baseball thing.

Really good player most likely to travel the distance from "unknown" to "overexposed" over the course of a weekend: Kent State guard Al Fisher.

Made the tournament, lost a close one: Coppin State's 21-loss season deemed a success.

Anatomy of the coaching staff: (1) The clapping coach (guy who hops off the bench and claps wildly, sometimes on a clipboard, at the beginning of every timeout); (2) furniture coach (guy whose job is to sprint off the bench at the beginning of every timeout and get the chairs in order; (3) clipboard coach (guy who walks diligently and quickly, with a serious look on his face, into position to hand Coach Omniscient his clipboard at the beginning of every timeout).

Whenever people start saying, "This has got to be the year," it never is: Kansas.

Best game of the tournament: North Carolina-Tennessee in the Elite Eight.

Best player-related slogan: More Cowgill (for Washington State's Robbie Cowgill).

Disregard the fact that Washington State averages 67 and you've got yourself a pretty impressive stat: One of America's leading sports publications praised Portland State's defense by pointing out the Vikings held WSU to 72 points.

If that's the case, he must have cured cancer and fixed Beijing's pollution problem while I wasn't looking: Elsewhere on this fine patch of ether you can read an argument stating that O.J. Mayo managed to outperform expectations this year.

Proof that we've reached the point of no return: O.J. Mayo, underrated!

I'm not suggesting this could be a drinking game, but do with it what you will: Count the number of USC offensive possessions when Mayo fails to step foot inside the 3-point line.

Hey, I've got an idea, shut up and play the game: Can we please call for a moratorium on all the whining about which teams get to play in their home states?

On second thought, this can't be a total coincidence, can it?: Butler, George Mason and St. Joseph's -- three possible sleeper Sweet 16 teams -- were thrown into the same bracket.

I had one of these once, but eventually it grew up to become an Adult Boiler: The nickname for the young Purdue team is the Baby Boilers.

One body part you'll be entirely sick of hearing about by the end of the weekend: Kevin Love's back.

Whoever plays this guy better have an on-ball defender who can move: Drew Lavender, Xavier.

Personally, I'd like to see "One Shining Moment" played to this scene: Close-up on referee watching a player flop trying to take a charge; ref blows whistle and runs toward the play; ending moments of indecision, ref -- clearly making it up as he goes along -- slaps his right hand above his ear and points the other way.

It might make it "Two Shining Moments" but you get the idea: Repeat the above with everything playing out exactly the same way except have ref end moments of indecision by grabbing both hips with his hands to indicate a block.

And, of course, there's one way those two shining moments take on a different look: If one of the teams playing is UCLA, it makes it easier on the refs because the Bruins get all the calls.

Coach most likely to be mistaken for a "Law & Order" detective: Bo Ryan.

I marked it down as 3:39 p.m. PT on Sunday: Bob Knight smiled.

By Friday, it'll all be over: Georgia and the great miracle of the SEC Tournament.

Best game of the first round: UNLV-Kent State.

Best game of the second round: North Carolina-Indiana.

If you're judging purely on talent, there's really only one choice: Memphis.

We'll be the judge of that: A headline Tuesday read, "San Diego ready for UConn."

Unless you're going to declare the winner based on a test they take at halftime, I don't want to hear about SAT scores or entrance requirements: Cornell-Stanford.

Best passing big men, regardless of IQ: Brook and Robin Lopez, Stanford.

Everyone's selling this one, but I'm not buying: Davidson over Gonzaga.

And the Boise State coach, surprisingly, picks Boise State: Rick Pitino agreed to give his upset picks, and they're Western Kentucky, Baylor, Davidson and South Alabama.

He's kind of like the David Eckstein of the NCAA tournament: Adam Emmenecker, Drake.

You know they spent a few hours making sure this wouldn't become a second-round embarrassment to the committee: Mount Saint Mary's and Saint Mary's can't meet until the finals.

The guy America loves to hate: Greg Paulus.

The guy America loves to love: Tyler Hansbrough.

Big-time conference with the best chance of having absolutely zero teams in the Sweet 16: Big 10.

In any language, it's a pretty cool name: Hasheem Thabeet, UConn.

It also serves the purpose of giving the four broadcasters left out of the NCAA and NIT something to do: You may not have heard of it, but the CBI (the College Basketball Invitational) is a new tournament attempting to answer America's pressing question -- just who is America's 98th best college basketball team?

Battle I'd like to see in the finals: Hansbrough versus Joey Dorsey.

Battle of the jackets, orange division: Oliver Purnell versus Bruce Pearl.

Since nobody else should really care all that much, it's a pretty honest assessment: Purnell, upon receiving a two-year extension from Clemson that takes his contract to 2014, said, "It's a happy day for me."

Well, since being a No. 11 seed takes care of the first part, bring on the excitement: An online analysis of the Baylor Bears included the following evaluation -- their style "makes (them) vulnerable to upsets, but it's also an exciting brand of basketball."

If you look past the names of the schools, you'll find teams that aren't that good: Kentucky and Oklahoma.

If anyone has a conspiracy-theory argument, it's these guys: Mount Saint Mary's gets only two days to prepare for North Carolina.

And finally, always remember: No one but you cares about your bracket.

*64 items, with all due respect to Coppin State.

Tim Keown is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine. Sound off to Tim here.



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