A Guide to the NCAA Tournament
MADELEINE BRAND, host:
This is DAY TO DAY from NPR News. I'm Madeleine Brand.
ALEX CHADWICK, host:
And I'm Alex Chadwick. Madness has returned to television once again. The NCAA annual college basketball tournament is underway. It's virtually taken over CBS television. But with hours of buzzer beaters, upsets, blowouts to watch, you really have to know where to go, what to watch. We've called in the experts, DAY TO DAY sports brothers Randy and Jason Sklar. Welcome back to both of you. Which games, I mean there's so many games this weekend, which ones should you really be there for?
Mr. JASON SKLAR (Host, Cheap Seats, ESPN Classic): Well, it's the early rounds, Alex, and I think you always have to keep an eye out for the 12/5. The twelve seed versus the five seed match ups.
Mr. RANDY SKLAR (Host, Cheap Seats, ESPN Classic): It's usually a great match up, because the 5 seed is usually a big school that hasn't played up to its potential throughout the year. And the 12 seed is usually one of the best of the smaller schools that cannot be ranked higher because it doesn't have that strong of a schedule. But we've already seen two 12/5 upsets already in this tournament.
CHADWICK: You mean 12 gets it.
Mr. J. SKLAR: The 12 moves on.
Mr. R. SKLAR: The 12 wins.
Mr. J. SKLAR: The gritty little underdog. Montana won yesterday and...
Mr. R. SKLAR: Texas A&M beat Syracuse.
Mr. J. SKLAR: Texas A&M best Syracuse.
CHADWICK: Okay. Who's the playmaker of the tournament? Who do you watch?
Mr. J. SKLAR: Already he made his presence felt in the first round, Adam Morrison.
Mr. R. SKLAR: Dropped 35.
Mr. J. SKLAR: 35 with a thin mustache. Plays for Gonzaga. Now, Gonzaga is an interesting school, because the last couple of years they've been the small school that's surprised everybody and made it into the elite 8. But this year, because of Adam Morrison...
Mr. R. SKLAR: They've been ranked in the top...
Mr. J. SKLAR: ...they've been ranked in the top 5 the entire year and suddenly they're a big school and they were tested yesterday and Adam Morrison had to step up at the end of the game, scored seven points in the last minute and a half and they won.
Mr. R. SKLAR: And they're calling, a lot of people are comparing him to Larry Byrd in the way that he's about 6'9.
Mr. J. SKLAR: Can shoot the ball from the outside, a great passer, great basketball sense. And so if you have a guy like Adam Morrison on your team, if you keep the game close to the end, you can give him the rock and he's the one who will lead...
Mr. R. SKLAR: It's kind of like the Chicago Bulls in the early '90s.
CHADWICK: Okay, see the Gonzaga game. When do they play?
Mr. J. SKLAR: Gonzaga plays again on Saturday.
CHADWICK: Saturday. Okay, who else?
Mr. J. SKLAR: Well, give some love to the guy from West Virginia, Kevin Pittsnogle.
Mr. R. SKLAR: Pittsnogle, best name in all of, maybe all of sports, but definitely this tournament. Kevin Pittsnogle...
Mr. J. SKLAR: It's a great name because that name is also a verb.
Mr. R. SKLAR: Yeah, if he shoots a three in your face, you just got Pittsnogled.
Mr. J. SKLAR: You got Pittsnogled.
CHADWICK: All right. Well, okay, that's great for Saturday. How about today? You've got to watch something today. You're going to go home, what are you going to see?
Mr. J. SKLAR: I would say that today you should definitely keep an eye out for the Kent State/Pittsburgh match up.
Mr. R. SKLAR: Again, a 12 seed versus a 5 seed. That's on at 7:10 Eastern tonight.
Mr. J. SKLAR: Pittsburgh is a big school, but they've shown some weaknesses. Kent State is a school that's been on a roll. That's a possible upset, but you know what, no team is safe in this tournament. Randy and I were just talking about how much parity there is in the tournament this year.
Mr. R. SKLAR: Yesterday, Tennessee, a 2 seed, was playing Winthrop, a 15 seed, and Tennessee had to win on a last second buzzer beater, which is kind of what these early rounds are all about. You see the best buzzer beaters, but you'd expect, you know, Tennessee to blow out Winthrop, but it was a last second shot.
Mr. J. SKLAR: And everybody's rooting for the underdogs. If they're, if anyone's unaffiliated with a team, they're always going to root for the underdog, because everyone wants to say I was at the game...
Mr. R. SKLAR: When Winthrop beat Tennessee. Or I was at the game when the little one David slew Goliath.
CHADWICK: Okay, David slays Goliath. If we could just have a moment for baseball. The World Baseball Classic, this new ginned up thing. Here's the weekend and the United States is out, beat by Mexico.
Mr. R. SKLAR: This is a bad year for the United States in sports on an international level. Bad couple of years. 2004 we get the bronze medal in basketball at the Olympics.
Mr. J. SKLAR: Basketball was our sport.
Mr. R. SKLAR: Yeah. Hockey we didn't even...
Mr. J. SKLAR: Make the medal round.
Mr. R. SKLAR: ...didn't even make the medal round and now we are completely out of the money in the World Baseball Classic, which the World Baseball Classic, Jason and I feel is basically the big Little League World Series. Can we say that that's what it is?
Mr. J. SKLAR: It is.
Mr. R. SKLAR: It's like teams from all over the place. You expect to see...
CHADWICK: Okay, it's the World Little League Series, but shouldn't the U.S. team be in there? I mean, what is going on?
Mr. J. SKLAR: I feel like the only way the United States can save face is to win the World Cup of soccer, which I don't...
Mr. R. SKLAR: Could happen.
Mr. J. SKLAR: Could happen. We're number five, the highest we've ever been ranked in the FIFA rankings.
CHADWICK: Randy and Jason Sklar are hosts of the show Cheap Seats on ESPN Classic and regular sports commentators here on DAY TO DAY. Thank you both for coming in again.
Mr. J. SKLAR: Thanks for having us.