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UCLA, Gonzagacould play roles of bracket busters

Hopefully, all four of your Final Four teams are alive in your NCAA tournament bracket. But don’t count your money yet because several potential bracket-busting games are going on Thursday and Friday.

Naturally, you have to think UCLA has a decent chance of upsetting Duke, most experts’ pick to win it all. Gonzaga, one of the nation’s most consistent postseason teams over the past three years, has an outside shot of dethroning Michigan State in the South. Illinois better remember how to box out under the boards when they tip it off with Kansas in the Midwest, and Stanford better not think that it has it made against Cincinnati in the West after escaping with a thrilling second-round win over St. Joseph’s.

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How much longer will the NCAA Selection Committee continue its injustice of awarding home games to the top seeds for the first few rounds of the women’s tournament?

Powerful teams like Connecticut, Tennessee and Notre Dame don’t need any more of an advantage in their NCAA games. If they are as good as the selection committee thinks they are, they should be able to win on a neutral court just like Stanford, Michigan State and Illinois in the men’s tournament.



Wasn’t it nice seeing Missouri rout second-seeded Georgia in Athens, Ga., over the weekend?

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What do the powerful ACC, SEC, Big Ten, Big 12 conferences have in common? So far, they’re not even close to matching up with the Pac-10. Through two rounds of the men’s tournament, the Pac-10 is an unparalleled 8-1 and boasts four schools in the Sweet 16 for the second time in three years.

The last time that happened was in 1998 when Arizona won it all. It could happen again, considering that the ‘Cats, Stanford and UCLA are legitimate title contenders.

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Does it make any sense that CBS broadcasts first-round tournament mismatches from early in the morning through the night, and then turns around and only shows two Sweet 16 games on Thursday and Friday?

There’s no reason why CBS couldn’t broadcast all eight regional semifinal games. The network could start its coverage at noon and fit them all in by 9 p.m.

ESPN does a better job covering the final rounds of the women’s tournament. The critical games aren’t regionalized like they are on CBS.

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You have to like Lake Tahoe’s chances of winning multiple nationals titles when the Chevy Truck U.S. Alpine Championships get under way Friday at Big Mountain, Mont.

Any the of five skiers from around the lake have a shot at bringing home a national crown during the six-day competition. Of course, Daron Rahlves of Truckee and Jonna Mendes of South Lake Tahoe have the best chances because of their World Cup experience and superb seasons.

But don’t count out Marco Sullivan of Tahoe City. He is on the cusp of making some World Cup noise for the Americans after several Nor-Am wins this season. Julia Mancuso of Tahoe City might be a year or two away from being a national threat, and Wisi Betschart of South Lake Tahoe brings eight years of U.S. Team experience and his first Nor-Am victory into the championships.

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Jack Nicklaus’ fourth-place finish in the Senior Tour’s Siebel Classic on Sunday in San Jose might be more rewarding to golf fans than they might think.

The strong finish, Nicklaus’ best performance in years, should convince the “Golden Bear” that he belongs in the Masters.


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