John Blackledge Sports EditorBasketball season’s finest team of the year is officially here. It’s none other than “March Madness.”
There will be a lot of local flavor in the Big Dance this year. Two Yazoo City natives will be going dancing. Tuesday night J.T. Sulton and the Blue Raiders of Middle Tennessee State will be taking on St.Mary’s of the WCC in Dayton, Ohio. It should be a good competitive game.
Although he is on injured reserve, DeMarco Cox and the Ole Miss Rebel basketball team will be going dancing for the first time since 1981. With the SEC Tournament Championship win, it’s pretty safe to say that Rebels head coach Andy Kennedy has saved his job. While Ole Miss is not a basketball player’s ideal dream school, Kennedy has done an outstanding job in Oxford, and he should be commended on a job well done.
Meanwhile, down in Hattiesburg, the Southern Miss Golden Eagles got left out of the Big Dance. However, the Golden Eagles earned themselves a NCAA NIT Tournament #1 seed bid, which is still pretty decent for Southern Miss.
The pre-season predictions had USM going to the CIT tournament, so realistically the Golden Eagles exceeded expectations. I don’t think Donnie Tyndall and company thought Southern Miss would be at this point at the start of the season. If the Golden Eagles would have won a few key games back in December that would have been all the difference in the world.
As far as my picks go in the Big Dance, I have all four number one seeds making it out of their respective regions. My final four teams are the Gonzaga Bulldogs, Louisville Cardinals, Kansas Jayhawks, and the Indiana Hoosiers. I’ve got the Cardinals beating the Bulldogs, and the Hoosiers whipping up on the Jayhawks creating a Indiana and Louisville National Championship.
In the end, my pick is the Louisville Cardinals over the Hoosiers 75-72. Russ Smith will be too much for the Hoosiers. Good luck to our local natives playing in the “Big Dance.” Hopefully, my bracket will get busted if those two guys are playing on down the line.
John Blackledge is sports editor of the Yazoo Herald. He maybe reached at