March Madness: From A to Z

Virginia players celebrate with the trophy after defeating Duke in an NCAA college basketball game in the championship of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament in Greensboro, N.C., Sunday, March 16, 2014. Virginia won 72-63. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone) Show caption
Virginia players celebrate with the trophy after defeating Duke in an NCAA college basketball game in the championship of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament in Greensboro, N.C., Sunday, March 16, 2014. Virginia won 72-63. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)

March Madness, A to Z, the 2014 edition:

A is for UConn women’s coach Geno Auriemma, who goes for a record ninth NCAA title this year.

B is for the Billion Dollar Bracket and Warren Buffett, who is offering the ginormous $1 billion prize to the person who can Carnac a perfect sheet. When you say you have to go 67-0, it doesn’t sound that hard. But a Duke mathematician pegged the odds at 148 pentillion (that’s 148 followed by 18 zeroes) to 1. That, he said, is like picking an atom out of a snowstorm. Or spelling Krzyzewski without Googling.

C is for Cliff Ellis. The Coastal Carolina coach is taking his fourth team to the NCAA tournament, the 10th coach to do it.

D is for Dickie V. Love him, loathe him, but would March be quite as mad without Dick Vitale?

E is for eleven, as in the lowest seed ever to reach the men’s Final Four. LSU was a No. 11 in 1986, as was George Mason in 2006 and VCU in 2011.

F is for the NCAA first-timers: Cal Poly and North Carolina Central on the men’s side; Akron, North Dakota, South Dakota, Winthrop and Wright State on the women’s.

G is for the Great Danes of Albany. Its men are moving on to face top-seed Florida after beating Mount St. Mary’s on Tuesday in the First Four. Its women play West Virginia on Sunday at LSU.

H is for home-court advantage that has been banned in the NCAA men’s tournament since 1986 but remains a staple in the women’s. LSU will be trying to parlay two wins in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center into its second straight Sweet 16 trip.

I is for the infinite number of monkeys it would take you to fill out enough brackets to win Warren Buffett’s billion.

J is for LSU’s Johnny Jones and Johnny O’Bryant, who lead the Tigers into a first-round NIT clash Wednesday at San Francisco. LSU, by the way, has won just one NIT game in its past five tries since Pete Maravich led the Tigers to the 1970 NIT final four.

K is for the Kentucky Wildcats, making their record 53rd NCAA appearance.

L for Langston Galloway from Christian Life, a senior guard for St. Joseph’s. The Hawks’ leading scorer (17.5) makes the A-10 tournament champs a dangerous dark horse.

M is for Creighton’s Doug McDermott, who goes into the NCAA tourney ranked fifth with 3,105 career points. If Creighton, which opens with Louisiana-Lafayette on Friday, reaches the final and he averages 93.7 points per game, he’ll break Maravich’s record. Bon chance, Dougie.

N is for CBS announcer Jim Nantz, who will call the Final Four, then jet over to Augusta, Ga., to call the Masters. Poor, Jim. What if the moist towelettes in First Class aren’t warm?

O is for office pools. They are technically illegal, but just between us, are you taking VCU or Stephen F. Austin?

P is for your Postseason TV Guide. The NCAA men’s tourney is on CBS, TBS, TNT and TruTV. The women’s tourney is on ESPN and ESPN2, as is the men’s NIT. For the first time, the men’s Final Four semifinals will be on TBS, though CBS still has the championship final.

Q is for quit complaining about SMU’s men getting left out of the NCAA tournament despite their 23-9 record. LSU athletic director and men’s selection committee member Joe Alleva said the Mustangs had a strength of schedule of 306. That’s bad, and NIT worthy.

R is for the Region of Death that is the men’s Midwest regional. Your top four seeds are Wichita state, Michigan, Duke and Louisville, with Kentucky lurking at No. 8.

S is for Northwestern State women’s co-head coaches Brooke and Scott Stoehr, the husband and wife tandem who lead their Lady Demons into Knoxville at 4 p.m. Saturday (ESPN2) to face No. 1-seeded Tennessee.

T is for the tattoo Louisiana-Lafayette coach Bob Marlin promised he would get if his team reached the NCAA tournament. A Ragin’ Cajuns chili pepper would look nice, Bob.

U is for upset watch. That’s where the No. 5 seeds are every year. Since the NCAA expanded to 64 teams in 1985, at least one No. 12 has erased a No. 5 every year except 1988, 2000 and 2007.

V is for the vocal stylings of the late, great Luther Vandross, whose version of “One Shining Moment” is the only one we want to hear as the tournament champ cuts down the nets. Ever.

W is for Wichita State, trying to become the first team since the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers to finish undefeated.

X for the X-factor that is the stress fracture in Kansas’ center Joel Embiid’s lower back. With him and fellow freshman Andrew Wiggins, the Jayhawks could take down Florida. Without him, they may not reach the Sweet 16.

Y is for Weird Al Yankovic, proud alum of 13-19 Big West champ Cal Poly. Whether Cal Poly is proud of Weird Al ...

Z is for the Zags of Gonzaga, who hail from one of the 23 schools with teams in both NCAA tournaments.