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Article posted: 3/19/2013 5:29 AM

NCAA tourney offers more chalk than parity

By

I'm heading to the desert to do a couple of March Madness shows at the broadcast studio at Score Las Vegas this weekend.

The NCAA men's basketball Division I tournament is being billed as wide open, yet most brackets I filled out and some I've seen have the usual cast of characters making the Final Four in Atlanta: Duke, Villanova, Kansas, Indiana and Louisville, among other powerhouses.

If parity rules, as we are being told, where are the bracket selections with teams like Valparaiso, Akron and Montana?

Because I believe this year's NCAA Final Four will feature the top four seeds, the parity claim on the road to Atlanta is simply false hope.

This appears to be the weakest tourney I can remember, but I'll still watch and love every minute of it. Brackets and gambling make it nearly popular as the Super Bowl.

The pretend parity means a No. 1 or No. 2 seed will win it all. I'm taking Ohio State and Aaron Kraft to get it done.

Zags deserve it:

Gonzaga played the teams that were put in front of them and beat them all, but I keep hearing the complaint they didn't deserve a No 1 seed.

Hey, there seemed to be a different No. 1 team every week throughout the season and they would lose their standing the following week. Gonzaga waited its turn and once it became No. 1 it hung onto it.

Don't be haters, let a classic underdog school with 4,000 students enjoy their moment. They took everyone's best shot and survived.

Northwestern's future:

Good luck to coach Bill Carmody as he leaves Northwestern's basketball program.

If Carmody would have made the NCAA tournament even once, he might have gotten a lifetime deal. It just didn't happen for him, and now the pressure falls on athletic director Jim Phillips.

There is plenty of work to do, and Phillips knows making excuses and accepting average just won't cut it if Northwestern expects to revive a stagnant student body and build interest.

As I wrote recently, Carmody was given 13 years to reach a goal and never getting that invite to the tournament convinced me it was time for him to go. He will land on his feet with another program.

Hopefully Naperville senior Drew Crawford (right shoulder injury) will get a fifth year medical hardship waiver from the NCAA and will stay at NU, along with other players.

It's still Northwestern, and obviously a great school. But if Crawford wants to leave I guess you have to let him go. To me, the bigger challenge is to stay and get it done in Evanston, isn't it?

Program notes:

I will be at the broadcast studio at Score Las Vegas at the Luxor Hotel from 6-9 p.m. Saturday, and 9 p.m. to midnight Sunday on Fox sports radio, XM 169 and iHeart radio.

Mike North's column appears each Tuesday and Friday in the Daily Herald, and his video commentary can be found Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at dailyherald.com. For more, visit northtonorth.com.

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