By Dan Shanoff
Page 2

By now you've been studying the brackets for hours. Perhaps more importantly, you've been fielding calls in hushed tones and "Alt-Tabbing" between instant-message screens and dummy spreadsheets (psst -- your boss is doing it, too), all about your NCAA Tournament picks.

Why would you approach this process with anything less than the most current conventional wisdom? Check out the list below for who and what is hot (and what's not), from cheerleaders to Cinderellas, from players to watch to coaches to avoid.

Your ability to be out front on this will cement your celebrity status within the office, at the bar and on dates for the rest of the Tournament.

Category Hot Not Hot
Ashley Judd

Emeka Okafor
Sleeper Louisville (4-West) Michigan St (5-East)
Directional school Northern Iowa Eastern Kentucky
Bandwagon Final Four pick Illinois Washington
Premature MOP favorite Luther Head (Illinois) Salim Stoudemire (Arizona)
Would-be Cinderella Wisc.-Milwaukee UAB
Young coach Jay Wright (Villanova) Coach K Assistants
Really-needs-a-win coach
Billy Donovan (Florida)

Jim Calhoun (UConn)
"He's Due" coach Eddie Sutton (Okla St) Roy Williams (UNC)
Hoops hot-bed Iowa Maryland
Perennial overachiever N.C. State Cincinnati
Nickname Ragin' Cajuns (LA-Lafayette) Anything conventional, like Tigers
Power conference ACC (3 in Final Four?) C-USA (Disses everywhere)
Mid-major conference Mountain West MAC
Carry-the-team position Big man Shooting guard
Go-to scorer
J.J. Redick (Duke)

Anyone on Kentucky
First-round Upset Special Old Dominion over Michigan State Chattanooga over Wake Forest
Sub-region Nashville Charlotte
NBA stock Nick Fazekas (Nevada) James White (Cincy)
"State" Oklahoma Mississippi
Roy Williams Watch High expectations Free pass for failure
Bench superstition Locked arms Holding hands
"Sound-smarter" buzzphrase for water-cooler "Margin of victory is key" "Um, I like Illinois!"
Historical perspective
Villanova's 1985 miracle

UCLA's 1995 ho-hum title
"OH-ver-RAY-ted!" Alabama as a No. 5 West Virginia as a No. 7
Will kill your pool sheet Blowing the GaTech/Louisville pick Playing it safe into the Sweet 16
Mr. Excitement Dante Hall Jeremy Shockey
Cliche "Survive and advance" "One game at a time"
"One Shining Moment" cover-band wish John Legend Ryan Cabrera
Juicy potential "down the road" match-up UNC-Kansas in regional final UNC-Kansas in regional final

In the Page 2 "Hot/Not" tradition, some picks:

Category Like Don't Like
East fave

East sleeper N.C. State Wisconsin
West fave Pick 'em! Dissing Washington
West sleeper West Virginia Pitt
Midwest fave Illinois Arizona
Midwest sleeper LSU Southern Illinois
South fave

South sleeper Utah Stanford
Has it easy Illinois UNC
Champ for your boss Illinois over UNC Roy Williams winning
Champ for yourself UConn over Illinois ACC bias

Dan Shanoff is a columnist for Page 2. His "Daily Quickie" commentary appears every weekday morning.