My other favorite was Kansas, but they were eliminated early, as usual in recent years, in their second game by USC.
I have been fortunate over the years to live in several places where good basketball teams reside. I grew up in Kansas, where my mother and son attended K.U., where basketball was originally played under Coach James Naismith, the inventor of the game, and then under Coach Phog Allen (as in Allen Field House, where K.U. still plays) when my mom was studying in Lawrence.
Later, in the 80s, I lived in Boston, home of the champion Celtics that I enjoyed watching: Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Robert Parish, Dennis Johnson, M.L. Carr, and Tiny Archibald (formerly of UTEP).
I moved from Boston to Syracuse, where Hall-of-Famer Jim Boeheim coached some tough teams and exciting players like Derrick Coleman, Sherman Douglas, Danny Schayes, Rony Seikaly, and Pearl Washington.
After that I relocated to El Paso where UTEP's legendary coach, Don Haskins, was still basking in the adoration of local fans for his miraculous victory (when the school was named Texas Western) over Adolph Rupp's Kentucky contingent in the 1966 NCAA Championship, considered to this day to be one of the best coached college games ever played.
Next came Charleston, where John Kresse, in white shirt sleeves, was the coach at the College of Charleston and where, at tiny John Kresse Arena, he somehow put together a winning team year after winning year (560-143). The local joke in Charleston was even if you gave Kresse five one-legged midgets he would somehow find a way to win.
But, alas, I finally ended up in Alabama, where football is king and basketball, a mere measly serf. Until this year, when new coach Nate Oats has led the Crimson Tide round-ballers to SEC regular season and tournament championships, with a solid 26-6 record.
As a result, I'm gonna go way far out on the proverbial limb and predict Gonzaga, Alabama, Oral Roberts, and Syracuse in the Final Four. But I'm not betting a single penny on that. Just hoping...against all hope, as they say down here in Alabama.