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It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad March It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad March

By: Jim Linsdau Placer Herald/News Messenger Sports Editor
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It’s that time of year again when college basketball comes down to that 64 team madhouse known as the NCAA Basketball Tournament, or as it is better known, March Madness. The brackets came out Sunday and the sports pundits were hard at work telling viewers who would advance, who would make it to the Final Four, and who would be cast to the wayside. Actually, all but one team will find itself in the discard pile. Now, just for fun, I sent out my request to the finest basketball minds I know to get their opinions. That would be the basketball coaches of Lincoln, Rocklin, and Whitney. I only got a couple responses so we’ll play with that. Donna Tofft, athletic director and former head coach of Lincoln girls basketball took the bait. Donna is also the present coach of the junior varsity and knows well her basketball. Without looking at the brackets she went with the University of Kansas and Jayhawks coach Bill Self. Self is a no-nonsense guy and does not accept defeat matter-of-factly. Actually, he abhors it. I think Donna’s a lot like that. Kansas goes into the tournament as a No. 2 seed in the Midwest bracket. The top seed is North Carolina. The Tar Heels have a way of grabbing a top spot in spite of losing like they did to Florida State in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship. Donna also likes UNC. North Carolina last won the NCAA tournament in 2009 going in as the No. 1 seed in the South bracket. For coach Roy Williams, former coach at Kansas, it was his second NCAA championship since taking the job with the Tar Heels. Donna’s other pick was the Missouri Tigers. They’re also a No. 2 seed out of the West bracket. No. 1 there is Michigan State. Mizzou is 30-4, the Spartans 27-7 – go figure. “I like how hard Missouri plays,” Tofft said. MSU should take note. Another top prep coach in my book is Rob Ferraro, girls basketball coach at Rocklin. He took his club into the playoffs this season when early on it didn’t look as if they’d make it. Ferraro was more cautious; he picked two No. 1 seeds, Kentucky and North Carolina. “I think both teams are athletic, play with passion, and are very well coached,” Ferraro said. That sounds like this year’s Thunder The Carolina club is hard to ignore. They’ve put out such greats as Michael Jordan, James Worthy, and Sam Perkins. And they again have some blue-chip players. Kentucky is the choice of Vegas odds makers. Not surprising, they were No. 1 most of the season and stumbled only twice, the last time against Vanderbilt in the SEC championship game. I’ve always been partial to the Pac-12, but don’t strain your eyes looking for any of those teams. They haven’t threatened since Arizona won in 1997 – it’s the kind of thing that can drive one mad.