Thursday March 18, 2004
MY MARCH MADNESS PICKS
AMERICAN IDOL THOUGHTS
A LOOK BACK:
The 1996 USA OLYMPIC TEAM
Over the course of this week, I have been be taking a look at the rosters of the USA Olympic Baseball teams back to the 1984 team. (Check out my posting on the 2003 Team USA Roster)Baseball was an exhibition/demonstration sport in the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Games with an 8-team tournament format. In 1992, it became a medal sport. Some really great players were able to represent America throughout these years. Some of the best college players of those years were chosen for the teams, until the 2000 team, when minor leaguers were allowed to play. Some players have gone on to become stars of the major leagues; some had remarkable college careers that simply did not translate into the professional level. Some were affected by injuries and some became coaches. I will discuss the players on the US Roster, with their big league successes, if any. Here are the previous entries:
Monday – 1984 Olympic Team
Tuesday - 1988 Olympic Team
Wednesday – 1992 Olympic Team
Today, we will take a look at the 1996 team.
1996 OLYMPIC TEAM
"If we kept this team together for two or three more years, we would beat everybody including Cuba," coach Skip Bertman said. "If we could keep it for six years, it would win the AL East."
In 1996, people were hoping for a USA/Cuba gold medal game. Team USA had a powerful offense and hit 32 home runs in Atlanta during the tournament. However, in the semi-final game, they were held in check by the Japanese team and lost 11-2. Cuba went on to beat Japan for the Gold Medal. However, the USA team did come away with a medal, the Bronze, after defeating Nicaragua 10-3. For Twins fans out there, it is fun to check out this list of players because nine of the twenty players on this roster are in some way related to the Minnesota Twins.
Head Coach – Skip Bertman
Skip Bertman was a coach of the 1988 Olympic team, under Mark Marquess. He was the head coach at Louisiana State University for 14 seasons. He had a record of 744-288-2. He also led the school to four national championships in the 1990s, in 1991, 1993, 1996 and 1997. Oh, and they also won the 2000 championship. He is now the Athletic Director at LSU.
Ron Polk, Jerry Weinstein, Ray Tanner
Bertman assembled a strong supporting cast of coaches around him. Ray Tanner is the coach at South Carolina. He has led that team to two consecutive College World Series. He was the head coach at North Carolina St. from 1988 until 1996. In 1997, he became the head coach of the Gamecocks. Jerry Weinstein coached at Sacramento City College and was 831-208-12 in his years there. Ron Polk was the other coach. In 30 years of coaching, his combined record is 1,198-578-2.
Chad Allen - OF – Texas A&M - Drafted in 1996, 4th Round, by the Minnesota Twins
Chad Allen was a starting outfielder in the ’96 Olympics. The former Aggie went 12-32 (.375) with 3 homers and 8 RBI in the Olympics. The Twins drafted him and he spent just two full seasons in the minors before making the leap from AA and spending the entire 1999 season with the Twins for whom he played in 137 games. He hit .277 with 10 homers and 14 stolen bases that season, which made it surprising when he was sent down before the start of the 2000 season. He hit .300 in 15 late-season games in 2000, and again split the 2001 season between the Twins and AAA. The team let him go following the season and he spent the 2002 season with the Orioles organization, and then the Indians AAA team in Buffalo. It earned him a brief five game call up to Cleveland. Last year, he was with the Florida Marlins organization. He hit .323 at AAA and .208 in 24 games for the Marlins. He has been getting playing time in the Texas Rangers outfield this spring.
Kris Benson - RHP – Clemson – Drafted in 1992, in the 1st Round, 1st overall, by St. Louis Cardinals
Kris Benson is another top college pitcher who has succumbed to injury. At Clemson, he went 29-8. His junior season, he was 14-2 with a 2.02 ERA. He struck out 204 hitters in 156 innings. In the Olympics, he started three games and went 2-1 with a 5.82 ERA. He struck out 17 and walked 5 in 17 innings. He made his professional debut splitting time between the Pirates Class A team in Lynchburg and their AA team in Carolina. Combined, he was 8-7. In 1998, he was at AAA Nashville and went 8-10 with a 5.37 ERA. He spent the entire 1999 season with the Pirates and went 11-14 with a 4.08 ERA in 31 starts. In 2000, he was 10-12, but had a 3.85 ERA. He had Tommy John surgery and missed the entire 2001 season. He rehabbed in 2002 before coming back to the Pirates and making 25 starts. Clearly, he was still working his way back to form. He did go 9-6 with a 4.70 ERA. People expected 2003 to be a big breakout year for Benson, but he was shut down after 18 starts. The Pirates are really hoping that he is healthy? So he’ll help them? No. So they can trade him and his salary. Expect Benson to be traded in the next two weeks to a contender, where, if healthy, he could really have a good season.
R.A. Dickey - RHP – Tennessee - Drafted in 1996, 1st Round, 18th overall by the Texas Rangers
Dickey was one of the best pitchers in college. In the Olympics, he started two games and was 2-0 with a 3.00 ERA. In 12 innings, he struck out 12 and walked just three. Things have not come so easy for him at the professional level. He spent two seasons in the Class A Florida State League and went 2-9. In 1998, he was used out of the bullpen. He split 1999 between AA and AAA and went 8-9. He spent 2000 at AAA and was 8-9. In 2001, he went 11-7 with a 3.75 ERA in 24 starts and got the call up to the Rangers, where he pitched four games in relief. He then went back and spent the entire 2002 season at AAA Oklahoma. He started 2003 there too, but after three games, he was called up again. This time, he pitched in 38 games for the Rangers, including 13 starts. He was up and down (as happens to pitchers in Arlington), but at times he was very good. He should be in the Rangers rotation in 2004, but could be a swing man again too.
Troy Glaus - 3B – UCLA - Drafted in 1996, 1st Round, 3rd overall by the Anaheim Angels
Glaus was a young guy on the team as he was just a sophomore at UCLA. He struggled in the Olympics, going just 5-21 (.219), but of those five hits, four were home runs. Sounds pretty similar to his major league career. He was drafted by the Angels in the 1997 draft. He signed late, so he made his professional debut in 1998. He hit .309 with 19 homers in 50 games at AA, then moved to AAA and hit .306 with 16 homers in 59 games. That kind of production earned him a call to Anaheim where he made his major league debut July 31, 1998! In 48 games, he hit .218 with just one home run. Last year, he missed over 70 games with an injury, but his home run totals in his four full seasons have been 29, 47, 41 and 30. He takes a lot of walks, although he also strikes out an incredible amount. In his 6 seasons in The Show, he has hit .253/.357/.491 with 164 homers and 473 RBI.
Chad Green – OF – Kentucky – Drafted in 1st Round, 8th overall, by the Milwaukee Brewers
''He possesses the kind of speed that would be classified as the best there is,'' said Olympic (and Louisiana State) coach Skip Bertman. ''No one has Chad's speed. He'd be the fastest guy on any team. He'll be the fastest guy when he goes to pro ball. He's got that bullet and weapon always working for him.''
Green did not play a lot in the Olympics; he was just 1-7 (.167) with an RBI. At Kentucky, he was clocked a 6.48 in the 60, a full quarter-second quicker than the nearest player in the SEC, JD Drew of Florida State. So, speed was certainly his game. He was quite an athlete in high school. His senior year of football, the tailback rushed for over 1,400 yards and 26 touchdowns. He had football scholarships from Miami and all of the Big 10 schools, but chose to play baseball in college. His junior season, he hit .352 with 12 homers and 44 RBI to go with 55 stolen bases. The Brewers drafted him, and speed was his main asset his first two seasons, however, he did not get on frequently enough to use it. Finally, in 1998, still in Class A, he hit .344 but that was in just 40 games before an injury. He played in AA in 1999 and stole 46 bases, but hit just .246. He was hurt for the 2000 and 2001 seasons. Then the Twins organization signed him before the 2002 seasons. He started in New Britain and hit .329 in 20 games and was called up to AAA where he hit just .218 in 75 games. Last year, he spent the whole season in Rochester and hit .252 with 9 homers and just 12 stolen bases. He doesn’t seem to really fit into the Twins plans. There depth in the outfield is incredible and there are five or six prospects that would rank ahead of him.
Seth Greisinger - RHP – Virginia - Drafted in 1996, 1st Round, 6th overall by the Detroit Tigers
Greisinger was the third starter for Team USA in the Olympics. He started three games and went 3-0 with a 5.00 ERA. In 18 innings, he struck out 11 hitters. In his pro debut in 1997, he went 10-6 at AA. He started 1998 at AAA Toledo, but after going 3-4 with a 2.91 ERA, he was called up to the Tigers. He went 6-9 in 21 starts, with a 5.12 ERA. And then came the arm surgeries. He pitched very little in 1999 and then did not throw another pitch in pro ball until 2002. He came back and started four games at AA and four games at AAA, performing well, so he was called back up to the Tigers. He made 8 starts and was 2-2 with a 6.21 ERA. What a comeback! He spent all of last year with the Tigers AAA team in Toledo and went 6-9 with a 3.97 ERA in 21 starts (25 games). After the season, the Tigers released him. The Twins scooped him up on a minor league contract and invited him to training camp. So far this spring, he has pitched four games in relief. In 5 innings, he’s given up 3 runs on 7 hits, walked none and struck out 4.
Kip Harkrider - IF – Texas - Drafted 5th round in 1997 by the Los Angeles Dodgers
In the Olympics, he was a utility-type infielder. He went 2-8 (.250) in the tournament. At Texas, he was a three-time All-American. He struggled hitting his first two years of pro ball. Then in 1999, he had elbow surgery. He has been playing in some independent leagues the last couple of years, including the Alexandria Aces of the Texas-Louisiana League/Central Baseball League.
A. J. Hinch - C – Stanford - Drafted 3rd Round in 1996 by the Oakland A’s
AJ Hinch was a great catcher at Stanford, especially defensively. He was drafted by the Twins in the 3rd round of the 1995 draft, but decided to stay in school. It allowed him the opportunity to play on four Team USA squads. He went 5-21 (.238) with 1 homer and three RBI in the Games. He spent one year, 1997, in the minors and actually hit very well. He spent the entire 1998 season with the Oakland A’s. In 120 games, he hit .231 with 9 homers and 31 RBI. Not bad for a player known for his defense. That was really his only full-time catching job in the big leagues. Each season from 1998-2001, he spent at least half of the season at AAA. In 2002, he caught 72 games for the Royals. In 2003, he was in the Tigers organization. His career big league totals are .220/.281/.357 with 32 homers and 112 RBI. In five years at AAA, he has hit .299.
Jacque Jones - OF – U. of Southern California – Drafted 2nd Round in 1996 by Minnesota Twins
Jacque Jones was a college star at USC. He was arguably the best hitter on Team USA in the Olympics. He went 15-38 (.395) with 5 homers and 13 RBI. When the Olympics were done, he signed with the Twins and played one game at Ft. Myers. He spent the entire 1997 season at Ft. Myers where he hit .297 with 15 homers and 82 RBI. In 1998, he moved up to AA New Britain, where he hit .299 with 21 homers and 85 RBI. He started the 1999 season at AAA Salt Lake and played 52 games and almost predictably hit .298. He got the call to join the Twins in Minneapolis and made his big league debut on June 9, 1999. He has been a regular in the Twins outfield ever since, and been remarkably consistent The last two seasons , he has hit at least .300. Jacque has his weaknesses, something Twins fans are aware of. But he is a great defensive outfielder whose effort can never be questioned. I think that, if healthy, he will have a monster 2004 season.
Billy Koch - RHP – Clemson - Drafted 1st Round in 1996, 4th overall by the Toronto Blue Jays
Billy Koch was dominant in college, with a fastball frequently hitting triple digits. In his three years at Clemson, he was 21-9. His junior year, he was 10-5 with a 3.16 ERA. He struck out 152 batters in 111 innings. For Team USA, he pitched in three games and went 0-1. He pitched 8 2/3 innings and walked five. He can be so good, or so bad. In 2000 and 2002, he was one of the better closers in the American League. In 2001 and 2003, he was terrible. For his five year career, he has got 27-22 with 155 saves and a 3.82 ERA. He is currently slotted in as the White Sox closer for 2004, but that could be a short leash.
Mark Kotsay - OF – Cal State-Fullerton - Drafted 1st Round, 9th overall, by the Florida Marlins
Kotsay was a great hitter and pitcher in his days at Cal State-Fullerton. For Team USA, he just played the outfield and went 10-33 (.303) with 3 homers and 6 RBI. His first full professional season was 1997 and he started out in AA where he hit .306 with 20 homers in 114 games. That earned him a call to the Florida Marlins where he was on the bench for their World Series championship. He has not been in the majors since. A steady offensive player who is better than average in the outfield. He spent three more seasons with the Marlins before being traded for a package that included Matt Clement, in spring training of 2001. He spent the last three years in San Diego. This offseason, he was traded north to the Oakland A’s, where he will solidify their centerfield position. In his six-plus year career, he has hit .281/.338/.418 with 65 homers and 336 RBI. He also has the ability to steal the occasional base, which will do him no good in Oakland.
Matt LeCroy - C - Clemson - Drafted 1st Round, 50th overall in 1997 by the Minnesota Twins
The Twins Matthew LeCroy was a great college player at Clemson. In three seasons there, he hit a combined .336 with 53 homers and 208 RBI. (8 stolen bases, in case you were wondering!) His junior season, he hit .359 with 24 homers and 79 RBI. For Team USA, he raked, going 13-33 (.394) with 4 homers and 10 RBI. Lecroy’s professional career began in 1998 at Ft. Wayne, but after 64 games, he moved up to Ft. Myers and hit .305 in 51 games with 12 homers. He played three games at AAA at the end of the season. In 1999, he started back at Ft. Myers, but moved up to AAA Salt Lake for the last 29 games where he hit .303. Twins fans remember his 2000 season. He earned the starting catcher job for the Twins to start the season. However, after 56 games, he was hitting .174/.254/.323 with 5 homers and 17 RBI and was sent down to AA New Britain, and later moved back up to AAA Salt Lake. He was injured and played very little in 2001, just 15 games with the Twins (but he did hit .425!) He started the 2002 season at AAA, but was quickly called up to the Twins where he played a utility role for the team, DH and 1B. In 2003, he played some 1B, caught a bit and DHed. He hit .287 with 17 homers and 64 RBI. He has earned the right to be an every day player but is without a real position except DH. However, Justin Morneau is pushing him, so Lecroy is in a tough position. However, he is great to listen to on post-game interviews!
Travis Lee – 1B – San Diego State - Drafted in 1996 1st Round, 2nd overall, by the Minnesota Twins
Travis Lee was Team USA’s first baseman. In the Olympics, he hit .382 (13-34) with 2 homers and 10 RBI. That summer, the Twins had taken him with the #2 pick in the draft. Because he was in the Olympics, the Twins did not make a qualifying contract offer to his agent until he came back. Because that needs to be done within two weeks of the draft, Lee was deemed a free agent. He then signed a $5 million deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks. They didn’t even have a big league team yet, so he was farmed to the Brewers, where he split the season between Class A, where he hit .363 with 18 homers in 63 games, and AAA, where he hit .300 with 14 homers in 59 games. In 1998, he was the Diamondbacks every day first baseman. He hit .269 with 22 homers and 72 RBI his rookie year and things looked good. However, he hit just .237 in 1999, and after continuing to struggle in 2000, he was traded at the deadline to the Phillies in a package for Curt Schilling. He stayed there through the 2002 season. When the Phillies signed Jim Thome, they had no need for Lee and let him go. He signed with the Devil Rays and last year hit .270 with 19 homers and 70 homers, a very solid season. But, for some reason the Rays’ brass decided to let him go. He just recently signed with the New York Yankees and will play some first base and some outfield for them.
Braden Looper - RHP - Florida State – Drafted 1st Round, 3rd overall, by the St. Louis Cardinals
For Team USA, Looper pitched in two games. He was 0-0 with a 0.00 ERA and one save. He was a high draft choice of the Cardinals and flew through their minor league system. He became a closer at AAA Memphis in 1998 and after 40 games there was called up to the Cardinals for four September games. Knowing the Marlins were holding a fire sale, Looper was one of three players sent to Florida in return for Edgar Renterria. For the Marlins, he has been a solid relief pitcher since 1999. Each season, he has pitched in over 70 games. The last two years, he has been the sometimes closer. He recorded 28 saves last year before Ugueth Urbina became their closer for the playoffs. In the offseason, Looper became a free agent and signed with the New York Mets. I think it’s a good team for him to be with. The lone question is how he’ll handle New York after a blown save.
Brian Loyd - C – Cal State - Fullerton - Drafted 5th Round, by the San Diego Padres
Loyd was a catcher on the Team USA squad. In the Olympics, he went 4-15 (.267) with 2 home runs and 8 RBI. Since being drafted in 1996, Loyd has jumped all over the place, but never reached the majors. He has played small parts of three seasons at AAA, but once he gets there, he hasn’t hit. He has spent time in the Padres, Blue Jays and Red Sox organizations. Last year, he played in just 35 games for the Red Sox AA affiliate.
Warren Morris – 2B – Louisiana State – Drafted 5th Round, in 1994 by the Texas Rangers
Warren Morris is still best known for his home run with one on and 2 out in the bottom of the College World Series championship game in 1996. Because of his diminutive size, he fell in the draft. He flew through Class A with the Rangers organization. In 1998, he was hitting .331 with the Rangers AA affiliate when he was traded to the Pirates with Todd Van Poppel for Esteban Loaiza. In 44 games with the Pirates AA affiliate, he hit .331. In a surprise, he won the Pirates 2B job out of spring training in 1999. He played in 147 games and hit .288/.360/.427 with 15 homers and 73 RBI. He was with the Pirates for the next two seasons but was never able to duplicate those numbers. He was released by the Pirates and the Twins signed him and brought him in for Spring Training. He made the Opening Day roster, but after starting the season 0-7, he was traded to the Cardinals for a minor leaguer. Last year, he started with the Tigers AAA Toledo team and hit .277 when he was called up to the Tigers. He got 346 at bats in 97 games and hit .272 with 6 homers. The Tigers brought in Fernando Vina, so Morris’s roster spot is uncertain for 2004.
Augie Ojeda - IF – Tennessee - Drafted 13th Round in 1996 by the Baltimore Orioles
Ojeda was another utility infielder for the Olympic team. He got just 5 at bats, and had one hit in the Olympics. Ojeda has spent time with the Chicago Cubs each season since 2000. Actually, he has played in 148 games with them. In those games, he is a career .196/.267/.275 hitter with 3 homers. At AAA Iowa, he was hitting .280 in 2000 when he was called up. Since then, his .251 average, when he was called up last year, was the highest his average had been. In other words, I am not sure why the Twins signed him and gave him a spot on their 40 man roster. I realize they need middle infield help, and maybe that is what he provides. I would be surprised if he made the team’s roster. He is currently 1-11 this spring.
Jim Parque - LHP - UCLA - Drafted in 1997 in 2nd Round, by the Chicago White Sox
Jim Parque is another example of the college pitcher with the bright future that was never realized because of arm injuries. In 1997 at UCLA, he went 13-2, with a 3.08 ERA. He struck out 119 in 120 innings. In the Olympics, he pitched four innings in four games and struck out four, walking just one. Following the ’97 draft, Parque pitched another 13 games in the minor leagues and went 8-2 between AA and AAA. In ’98, he made eight AAA starts before being called up to the White Sox. He started 21 games and went 7-5 with a 5.10 ERA. In 1999, he was 9-15 with a 5.14 ERA. In 2000, despite a 4.28 ERA, he went 13-6. However, in May of 2001, he tore his labrum and had surgery and it has been a struggle ever since then. He made 20 starts at AAA Charlotte in 2002 and was 7-9 with a 6.50 ERA. That year with the Sox, he was 1-4 with a 9.95 ERA in 25.1 innings. Last year, with the D-Rays organization, he started with the Rays and was 1-1, but had an 11.94 ERA when he was sent down. I know he was crushed by being demoted again and was ready to just retire. I’m sure he was just disappointed without his arm coming back. He did report to Durham and went 5-7 with a 4.08 ERA. This spring, he signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks and is in camp with them.
Jeff Weaver - RHP – Fresno State - Drafted 1996, 1st Round, 14th overall, by the Detroit Tigers
Weaver was very young, two years younger than most of the Olympians in 1996. He pitched in four games and had no record, but had a save. In 7 1/3 innings, he had three strike outs and a walk. The long, lanky righty was fast-tracked to the big leagues. He started five games after signing in 1998. In 1999, he made just one start at AA before the Tigers called him up. He started 29 games for the them and went 9-12 with a 5.57 ERA. In 2000, he made one AAA start, but made 30 starts for the Tigers and went 11-15, but had a 4.32 ERA. Again, in 2001, in 33 starts, he had a record of 13-16, but an ERA of 4.09. Teams loved the numbers he was able to put up for such a bad team. That’s why midway through the 2002 season, the Yankees were thrilled to acquire Weaver. He went 5-3 with the Yankees with a 4.04 ERA. Since then, the Bronx Zoo got the best of Weaver. He was not successful at all for the Yankees and made to be a scapegoat for anything that went wrong for the team. After the season, he was traded to the Dodgers in the Kevin Brown deal. This is a great thing for Weaver. I think he could have a very strong year pitching in Chavez Ravine. Oh, and his brother Jered, will probably be a Top 3 pick in this June’s draft.
Jason Williams - SS – Louisiana State - Drafted by the Cincinnati Reds
Jason Williams was a star shortstop at LSU. He was also Team USA’s shortstop in the Olympics. For the tournament, he went 11-30 (.367) with 3 homers and 9 RBI. The shortstop spent a few years in the minor leagues, but was behind the likes of Barry Larkin and Pokey Reese. He played some independent ball for a couple of years.
Those are the members of the 1996 USA Olympic Baseball team. If you have any information, stories or anything on any of these players, please e-mail me.
TWINS WIN AGAIN
WEDNESDAY - Twins 6, Blue Jays 5
Michael Cuddyer had a game-winning hit on Tuesday, and Wednesday, he went 4-4 with 5 RBI. It’s good to see him hitting the ball so well. Torii Hunter went 2-2. Jose Offerman was 2-2 with a double. Joe Mauer was brought in as a pinch hitter in the 8th inning and proceeded to double off a left-handed reliever. This weekend, he was 2-2 with a double off veteran lefty Al Leiter. We know he’ll hit, but if he will also be able to hit lefties equally well, he will be special. Johan Santana had a rough outing. He went just three innings because he threw 60 pitches. He walked three, struck out three, gave up two hits and two runs. JD Durbin came in and struck out the side (with a seeing-eye single mixed in) in the 4th. He gave up a solo home run to Damian Easley in the 5th. Aaron Fultz and Joe Nathan each pitched a one run inning before Carlos Pulido and Pete Munro pitched a shutout inning each.
Today, the Twins face the Baltimore Orioles at noon.
FORMER TWINS PERFORMANCES
Another look at how former Twins players performed on Wednesday
· Matt Lawton, LF – Cleveland Indians (0-3)
· Casey Blake, DH – Cleveland Indians (1-3, HR off Curt Schilling)
· David Ortiz, DH – Boston Red Sox (2-3 with his 5th home run of the spring)
· David McCarty, 1B – Boston Red Sox (0-1)
· Tony Fiore, RP – Houston Astros (1 1/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R)
· Mark Guthrie, RP – Pittsburgh Pirates (1 IP, 0 H, 0 R)
· John Barnes, RF – Los Angeles Dodgers (1-1, RBI)
· Warren Morris, 2B – Detroit Tigers (0-1)
· Dustan Mohr, RF – San Francisco Giants (2-2, 2-2Bs)
· Brian Buchanan, PH – San Diego Padres (1-1, solo HR)
· Denny Hocking, CF – Colorado Rockies (0-2)
· Bobby Kielty, LF – Oakland A’s (1-2, 2 R, RBI)
· Mike Jackson, RP – Chicago White Sox (1 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 3 ER)
· Todd Walker, 2B – Chicago Cubs (0-3)
Let the Madness begin! When I was in high school and college, and even up until a couple of years ago, I was a college basketball junkie. I loved following certain teams, like the Gophers, Kansas and Duke. I loved watching all of the stars. Well, things have changed. There are no stars in college basketball, and if there are, it’s because the real stars left early to play in the NBA. So, I haven’t watched more than a handful of college basketball games this year.
However, there is nothing quite like the NCAA basketball tournament, especially this first weekend. Between today and tomorrow, there will be 32 important basketball games. By Sunday evening, the number of teams continuing will drop from 64 to 16. There will be shockers. Odds are that at least one 4 seed will lose to a 13 seed.
I love making picks for the NCAA tournament and seeing how well I do. I’ve done this in the past, probably having watched more games than anyone I would compete against, and would always finish in the middle of the pack. This year, I filled out just one bracket, and it took me about 5 minutes to complete. Maybe this is my year to win for once!
So, you may be asking what my picks are? (or not, in which case, you probably haven’t read this far into this section). But, here are my picks, region by region:
St. Louis Region
1st Round – Kentucky, UAB, Providence, Kansas, Utah, Georgia Tech, Michigan State, Gonzaga.
2nd Round – Kentucky, Kansas, Georgia Tech, Michigan St.
3rd Round – Kentucky, Georgia
To Final Four – Kentucky
East Rutherford Region
1st Round – St. Joe’s, Texas Tech, Manhattan, Wake Forest, Wisconsin, Pittsburgh, Memphis, Oklahoma St.
2nd Round – St. Joe’s, Wake Forest, Pittsburgh, Oklahoma St.
3rd Round – St. Joe’s, Pittsburgh
To Final Four – St. Joseph’s
1st Round – Duke, Seton Hall, Illinois, Cincinnati, North Carolina, Texas, Louisville, Mississippi St.
2nd Round – Duke, Cincinnati, North Carolina, Louisville
3rd Round – Duke, North Carolina
To Final Four – Duke
1st Round – Stanford, S. Illinois, Syracuse, Maryland, W. Michigan, NC State, Dayton, U. Conn
2nd Round – Stanford, Maryland, NC State, U. Conn
3rd Round – Stanford, U. Conn
To Final Four – U. Conn
Kentucky over St. Joseph’s
U. Conn over Duke
Kentucky 71, U. Conn 68
What do you think? Who is your tournament pick? Some random thoughts… I have three #1 seeds and a #2 seed in the Final Four. That rarely happens. There are a few #2, #3 and #4 seeds with legitimate shots at the title. There is so much parity in college basketball that truly anything can happen. And, with it being a loser out tournament, anything does happen, a lot! That makes this event fun to watch. E-mail me.
AMERICAN IDOL THOUGHTS
Last night, the first American Idol contestant was voted out of the competition. I was correct on two of the three people at the bottom of the list. My bottom three were Leah Labelle, Amy Adams and Camille Velasco. The results showed that Leah Labelle, Amy Adams and Jennifer Hudson were the bottom three. Amy Adams was sent back to safety before it was announced that Leah Labelle was, in fact, eliminated from the competition. Clay Aiken sang “Solitaire” which isn’t on his album. I hate when they do that. Oh well. So, what are you thoughts on American Idol, the contestants and last night’s results? E-mail me.
And on that note, that is it for today! Let me know what you think about the 1992 Olympic information. Also, if you have any information on any other Olympic baseball players from the 1984, 1988, 1996 or 2000 teams, please let me know! Or, if you have any questions or comments on anything, let me know. E-mail me. Have a great day!
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