Santo shares his opinion on this year’s tournament

Santo Caruso

So as I am sitting on my living room couch, my house as empty as my stomach (but I doubt the pizza delivery man will stay and hang out), I began pondering my first column back from break. Even though I knew it would come the week after Selection Sunday, and before ‘Nova’s first tournament game, I thought about the Flyers game I was watching, an OT street fight against Carolina, ending with a Simon Gagne game winner.

I also considered the World Baseball Classic, the Republica de Dominica and Venezuela game sitting nicely in my subconscious as a reminder of why I used to love baseball (until the Phillies ripped my heart out for 13 years straight).

Barry Bonds and steroids, the controversy of the NFL collective bargaining agreement, an autistic basketball manger shooting threes like foul shots, so much material and so little space for me to truly express all my feelings.

Who are we kidding, I think we all know where this column is going

A full year of waiting and the deepest of my college basketball fan scars is still healing next to my Eagles’and Phillies’ battle marks. Few seasons have left as bad of a taste in my mouth as last year’s did. A bogus traveling call in an epic coming-of-age game for Villanova, followed by the team we could have beat, should have beat, we did beat, cutting the nets down in St. Louis, leaving us with nothing but “what ifs” and an action-movieesque vow of vengeance: We’ll be back.

The tournament of tournaments has arrived, and the weather of Pennsylvania has responded, greeting Spring Break returnees with blue skies, a warm sun and the chance to mend broken hearts still smarting from the previous March.

The one seed is a reflection of everything this team has worked for all season, a national acknowledgement that the small school on the Main Line is one of the four best teams in the country, and deserves a fair shake at redemption.

So before I start openly weeping, or taking credit for what the players did, let me take a brief glance at what I expect to happen this weekend.

(That is besides me sneaking into the ‘Nova game of course.)

Memphis will not only win, but win big over Oral Roberts. Everyone needs to get off of the “Tigers are the weakest number one seed ever” bandwagon. Really, have we already forgotten St. Joe’s from two years back? And I don’t mean Memphis is a better team. The reference I am making is that the entire country screamed about the Hawks being a one, and they promptly sprinted into the Elite Eight. Memphis may or may not make it that far, but there is a reason a 16 has never beaten a one. I also see them moving past Bucknell or Arkansas (I tentatively have the Razorbacks and Ronnie Brewer, but it is Tuesday).

Northern Iowa and Wichita State will come to play. The MVC needs to back up having as many bids as the ACC. The Panthers still have Ben Jacobson and beat Iowa early this season. Jacobson is due to get back on track, and he has played extremely well in his other tournament appearances. The Shockers have the best player in the MVC, Paul Miller. He is a 6-foot-10 center with a few play making skills and the team reminds me of Vermont and Taylor Coppenrath, though Miller is not as prolific a scorer. Plus, c’mon, it’s the Shockers. For comedy’s sake I need them to make it past the first weekend.

If LSU plays it safe and sits Tyrus Thomas, they may lose to Iona. I have LSU in my Elite Eight (for now), and with Thomas and Glen Davis, the Tigers could really rough up Duke and pretty boy J.J. Redick, but if they look past Iona and try to give Thomas a few extra days rest, they could get bounced early.

‘Nova will lose to the winner of Arizona/Wisconsin. Just kidding, neither team has a shot against the ‘Cats. They need to use the games as a warm up for BC, a game that terrifies me.