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posted: 3/21/2013 5:30 AM

Looking at the Big Dance from all the angles

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  • Despite Brandon Paul's presence, Mike Spellman isn't sure the Illini will advance very far in the NCAA tourney.

    Despite Brandon Paul's presence, Mike Spellman isn't sure the Illini will advance very far in the NCAA tourney.
    JOE LEWNARD | Staff Photographer


Are you ready for some Spero Dedes and Doug Gottlieb coming to you live from Salt Lake City!!

Actually, I am.

Doesn't matter who's announcing or who's playing ... it's the Big Dance.

Let's get it on.

Saving the best for first:

Like the opening shot of the Masters or the full field sweeping out of Turn 4 and heading toward the green flag at Daytona, there's just something about that first game, first thing Thursday morning that does it for me.

Mailing it in:

OK, just finished filling out my NIT bracket.

I'm loving Kentucky's chances.

Wait, what?


According to, there are 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 possible brackets (9.2 quintillion).

I'm not a mathmagician, but I'm pretty sure that's a lot.

In other words:

If everyone on the planet each randomly filled out a bracket, the odds would be over one billion to 1 against any person having a perfect bracket.


If all the people on earth filled out one bracket per second, it would take over 43 years to fill out every possible bracket.

Getting the hang of it:

Maybe you can't cut and paste or handle many other basics on your office computer, but admit it, by now you're an expert at toggling between screens at tourney time ... especially when the boss is walking by.

The team to beat:


Team I hope becomes the team to beat:

Saint Louis.

What a great story.

What are the odds?

Locally, not so good:

Marquette 40-1.

Notre Dame 100-1.

Illinois 200-1.

Can't wait:

To hear all the TV analysts yelling over replays at every commercial break.

Please, make it stop.

Sorting it out:

After spending the weekend at the United Center for the Big Ten tourney, I'm more confused then ever.

Even though Ohio State won it all, the teams that stood out to me, in no particular order, were Wisconsin, Michigan State and Indiana.

So, that probably means Michigan and OSU will go the farthest of the seven Big Ten teams in the field.

The tourney standout?

For me, it was far and away Indiana's Victor Oladipo.

The dude is tenacious.

Half full:

Illinois is 28-14 as a higher seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Hope that means something when the seventh-seeded Illini take on No. 10 Colorado on Friday afternoon.

Not sure it will, though.

Could be worse:

Yeah, it's kind of sad that the Illini are the only team representing our state in the tourney.

Not so bad, though, when you consider that there are no Texas teams in the field for the first time since ... 1977.


And finally:

Because I'm a glutton for punishment, I've decided to do a Ray Rayner vs. Chauncey Final Four battle with former Daily Herald college guru Lindsey Willhite (Chauncey).

Lindsey's picks: Louisville, Ohio State, Florida and Miami.

My picks: Saint Louis, Gonzaga, Florida and Indiana.

That's all, folks.

Enjoy the tourney.

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