The NCAA Tournament's 'Team 66'
By Dan Shanoff
Page 2 columnist

On Selection Sunday, 65 teams head to the Big Dance -- most deserving, some deserving only of an early spring break. But one special team -- a motley combination of victims and perpetrators of college-hoops infractions that have dominated this season will remain unseeded:

Put all the rascally rogues, eager self-punishers and unlucky schmucks together: Fresno State, Georgia, Michigan, St. Bonaventure and Villanova. What would this NCAA investigators' "dream team" look like?

Here's a team capsule you won't find anywhere on Monday morning: The NCAA Tournament's missing 66th team:

Forecasting The Other N.I.T. (Not Included Tournament)
On a related, but totally separate, note: If the NCAA held a post-season tournament for those teams not eligible for the post-season ('Nova uses their surplus of suspended players to field a team), how would it shake out? A projection:

1 Georgia
2 Michigan
3 Fresno State
4 Villanova
5 St. Bonaventure

PLAY-IN ROUND (4 vs. 5): 'Nova beats Bonnies 2-0, after St. Bona players continue to refuse to take the court and lose in forfeit.

FINAL FOUR: No. 1 Georgia crushes Villanova out of sheer frustration, combined with the Wildcats' inability to dial in from long-distance without the right access code.

No. 2 Michigan, still trying to figure out why they are here for something that happened 10 years ago, slips past Fresno State, demoralized beyond comprehension. The UM athletic department's decision of whether to hang this Final Four banner is pending.

TITLE GAME: The Fab Five pool their money (Ray and Jimmy take a loan from Juwan) and buy back a game of eligibility from the cash-hungry NCAA. Michigan tops Georgia, despite the surprise Willis Reed-like return of -- guess who? -- Tony Cole.

School: Scandal State University
Nickname: Violators
Conference: Big Con

Record: That depends.
Are you counting forfeits? How about games where we used ineligible players? Or games when we were limited to three players, because everyone else was suspended?

How They Didn't Earn Bid: Booster Money, Academic Fraud, Phone-Service Access-Code Fraud, Transfer Violations.

Mascot: Greasy McSlickster
Think: Nebraska Husker mascot gone terribly wrong

Head Coach: Jim Harrick

Assistant Coaches: Jim "Bueller? Bueller?" Harrick Jr.; Jan "Playing is Optional" Van Breda Kolff; Jay "Please, Don't Lump Me With THOSE Guys" Wright

Inspirational Motto (front of T-shirt): "It wasn't me...."

Inspirational Motto (back of T-shirt): "Did I just say that? I meant: 'I'm sorry.'"

Key Wins: 1-800-COLLECT Shootout; Ivy Holiday Grade-Inflation Festival; Ed Martin Memorial Cash-Grab Classic.

Key Losses: Conference-tournament revenue; individual-player eligibility; Board of Trustees' trust; alumni pride.

PRI (Public Relations Index) Ranking: Almost last.
But better than the University of France!

Players to Watch:
F Chris Daniels (Georgia): 9.8 ppg, 7.1 rpg; G Rashad Wright (Georgia): 7.8 ppg, 5.5 apg
Scouting Report: Almost seems like they skipped class the day they taught Hoops 101

C Jamil Terrell (St. Bonaventure): 6.9 ppg, 4.8 rpg
Scouting Report: Little touch, but good with a torch.

G Gary Buchanan (Villanova): 15.4 ppg
Scouting Report: Take away his fast fingers, and he's got nothing.

G Marques Green (St. Bona): 21.3 ppg, 8.0 apg
Scouting Report: Like his Bonnie teammates, can you be sure he won't quit on you?

Team Statistics
Points: More than enough
Rebounds: Couldn't, obviously
Classes Cut (Originally): None
Classes Cut (Adjusted): Many
Papers Written: By them?
Lawsuits: One
Temp. Restraining Orders: Zero
Phone Calls: A few too many
Booster $ accepted: Enough for a Fab ride
Illegal transfers: One (that we know about)
Humiliation: Significant

Dan Shanoff is a columnist for Page 2. His regular column, The Daily Quickie, is published at 9 a.m. every weekday morning.



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