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Mama’s Picks

March 19, 2003 Columns No Comments

Mama’s Picks

by Jon Gonzalez (and Mama)

Armed with only school names, records, seeds, coaches’ names, geographic locations, team colors and a miniscule amount of college basketball knowledge, my ninety year-old grandmother, Angela Lebron, is on a mission. Her goal: to predict every game in the NCAA Tournament.

Starting with the first round, Mama, as my family and friends affectionately refer to as, will do her best Jimmy the Greek imitation and tell the entire world how the tourney will shake down:

Mama’s Picks

South Region

Opening Round: No.16a UNC Asheville vs. No.16b Texas Southern Pick: Texas Southern. The President is from Texas. He needs to bring peace to the world.

No.1 Texas vs. No.16 Texas Southern. Pick: Texas. I just think Texas is more devoted to what it’s doing

No.8 LSU vs. No.9 Purdue . Pick: LSU. Tigers are strong, aggressive and go for what they want.

No.5 UConn vs. No.12 BYU. Pick: UConn. Their name resembles what they are, Huskies; very tough.

No.4 Stanford vs. No.13 San Diego. Pick: San Diego. I like the Toreros because they are very good at getting the bull. The bull doesn’t get them.

No.6 Maryland vs. No.11 UNC Wilmington. Pick: Maryland. I like Gary Williams. That name just fills me with hope for some reason. To me, Williams means victory.

No.3 Xavier vs. No.14 Troy State. Pick: Troy State. There is a line of hope with this team that connects me to the past.

No. 7 Michigan State vs. No.10 Colorado. Pick: Colorado. I like the Buffaloes. They run wild in the mountains. Besides, Buffalo Bill was a very important man. He was very humble.

No.2 Florida vs. No.15 Sam Houston State. Pick: Florida. Gators are very sneaky. You always have to watch out for them.

East Region

No.1 Oklahoma vs. No.16 South Carolina State. Pick: Oklahoma. The Sooners are strong. They have conviction, composure and they follow their dreams

No.8 California vs. No.9 NC State. Pick: Cal. Gold is very important and bears are an image of humbleness.

No.5 Mississippi State vs. No.12 Butler. Pick: Butler. Bulldogs always think they are out of place. They are not what they think. They bring things up. I like the number 12 Bulldogs here, Butler.

No.4 Louisville vs. No.13 Austin Peay. Pick: Louisville. They [Cardinals] are tempted to make mistakes. But they always make the right choices.

No.6 Oklahoma State vs. No.11 Penn. Pick: Penn. The Quakers are very religious people. They stand for the right thing, always.

No.3 Syracuse vs. No.14 Manhattan. Pick: Manhattan. Gonzalez was my first sister-in-law’s name. Also, Manhattan is the heart of New York.

No.7 St. Joseph’s vs. No.10 Auburn. Pick: Auburn. The Hawks will try to swoop down on the Tigers, but the Tigers will be very careful and avoid getting hurt.

No.2 Wake Forest vs. No.15 East Tennessee State. Pick: ETSU. Tennessee is a sweet, abiding name. I don’t like Demon Deacons.

Midwest Region

No.1 Kentucky vs. No.16 IUPUI. Pick: Kentucky. They are number one. They don’t fool around. They take care of business.

No.8 Oregon vs. No.9 Utah. Pick: Oregon. Oregon’s coach’s name [Ernie Kent] reminds me of Clark Kent, which reminds me of Christopher Reeve. I always cheer for that man.

No.5 Wisconsin vs. No.12 Weber State. Pick: Wisconsin. With a badge, you can identify yourself when you go somewhere. Those with a badge are always respected. Plus, they are crazy enough to win this one.

No.4 Dayton vs. No. 13 Tulsa. Pick: Dayton. Because the Flyers go where they are supposed to go. They find their strength from within.

No.6 Missouri vs. No.11 Southern Illinois. Pick: Missouri. When I see the name, Missouri, I think of the word incompetent. I don’t know why. Anyway, I still think Missouri has fought its way in and will win.

No.3 Marquette vs. No.14 Holy Cross. Pick: Marquette. I love Eagles. They fly high in the sky.

No.7 Indiana vs. No.10 Alabama. Pick: Indiana. Indiana is very smoky and dirty. I know because I lived there for a little while. With that said, I still like the Hoosiers.

No.2 Pittsburgh vs. No.15 Wagner. Pick: Pittsburgh. They are a higher number and they have more intuition.

West Region

No.1 Arizona vs. No.16 Vermont. Pick: Arizona. They have come from a long journey and they are supposed to show the best of their abilities. I see a woman involved in this. They want to do it for her.

No.8 Cincinnati vs. No.9 Gonzaga. Pick: Gonzaga. Spelled backwards, [Bull]dog is God. Mark Few is great man. He builds hope for Gonzaga. He believes in his team.

No.5 Notre Dame vs. No.12 Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Pick: Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Because in the heart of [UWM coach] Bruce Pearl, there is strength and loyalty.

No.4 Illinois vs. No.13 Western Kentucky. Pick: Illinois. Because WKU is not fit to win. Those players [WKU] will have to keep dreaming for their goals to be accomplished.

No.6 Creighton vs. No.11 Central Michigan. Pick: Creighton. Blue Jays are birds that fly and they show the greatness of God in their beauty. They are supposed to win.

No.3 Duke vs. No.14 Colorado State. Pick: Colorado State. Their coach’s last name is
Layer. When you make a sandwich, the third layer is cheese. When they win, they will enjoy all the cheese. This will be a great upset. Even the great teams fall.

No.7 Memphis vs. No.10 Arizona State. Pick: Arizona State. I see a red arrow that points to them [ASU].

No.2 Kansas vs. No.15 Utah State. Pick: Kansas. The Jayhaws have a lot of anger in them. They are true to their feelings. When they stand tall and firm, it means victory.

Second Round

South Region

No.1 Texas vs. No.8 LSU. Pick: Texas. Texas’ coach [Rick Barnes] is a man of truth, a strong and patient man who is very humble. He has made a commitment to bring his team to the top.

No.5 UConn vs. No.13 San Diego. Pick: San Diego. Even though Connecticut is more advanced in what it does, the tide will shift in San Diego’s favor. San Diego will surprise.

No.6 Maryland vs. No.14 Troy State. Pick: Troy State. Everything is in Troy State’s favor.

No.10 Colorado vs. No.2 Florida. Pick: Florida. Florida is in the mainstream.

East Region

No.1 Oklahoma vs. No.8 California. Pick: Oklahoma. Oklahoma has a stronger will than California.

No.12 Butler vs. No.4 Louisville. Pick: Louisville. Cardinals always get what they want.

No.11 Penn vs. No.14 Manhattan. Pick: Manhattan. The people in Manhattan are special people. Manhattan is a great place.

No.10 Auburn vs. No.15 East Tennessee State. Pick: Auburn. Auburn’s coach’s last name Ellis reminds me of Ellis Island. Many immigrants came to Ellis Island in search of a better life. Cliff Ellis will give the Tigers a good life.

Midwest Region

No.1 Kentucky vs. No.8 Oregon. Pick: Kentucky. Kentucky knows the name of the game. Kentucky’s players are very generous. They are blessed.

No.5 Wisconsin vs. No.4 Dayton. Pick: Wisconsin. They [Wisconsin] will play with a sense of urgency.

No.6 Missouri vs. No.3 Marquette. Pick: Marquette. Missouri can’t compete with Marquette.

No.7 Indiana vs. No.2 Pittsburgh. Pick: Indiana. Indiana will hustle more than Pittsburgh.

West Region

No.1 Arizona vs. No.9 Gonzaga. Pick: Arizona. Arizona’s steadfastness makes them superior. They will run wild.

No.12 Wisconsin-Milwaukee vs. No.4 Illinois. Pick: Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Believe it or not, Wisconsin-Milwaukee is a more uniform team. Things will fall into place for its players.

No.6 Creighton vs. No.14 Colorado State. Pick: Creighton. This game sets up nicely for Creighton.

No.10 Arizona State vs. No.2 Kansas. Pick: Kansas. Kansas does things differently. The players do more than just play, they do great things when they don’t play basketball. They deserve to win this game.

Sweet Sixteen

South Region

No.1 Texas vs. No.13 San Diego. Pick: Texas. Texas is just in line to win this game.

No.14 Troy State vs. No.2 Florida. Pick: Troy State. The newcomers will surprise many. Florida will take a big lead, but Troy State will come back and win by a small margin.

East Region

No.1 Oklahoma vs. No.4 Louisville. Pick: Oklahoma. Oklahoma’s coach shares a name with Sampson from the bible. Sampson was a powerful biblical figure. Oklahoma will win.

No.14 Manhattan vs. No.10 Auburn. Pick: Auburn. I am picking them for the same reason I picked them before.

Midwest Region

No.1 Kentucky vs. No.5 Wisconsin. Pick: Kentucky. Wisconsin doesn’t have a chance. Kentucky is much better; they might hold the map to the championship.

No.3 Marquette vs. No.7 Indiana. Pick: Marquette. Hoosiers rhymes with losers. They also look like losers in this one. The Golden Eagles will fly high.

West Region

No.1 Arizona vs. No.12 Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Pick: Arizona. You can’t go against number one. You have to realize the truth.

No.6 Creighton vs. No.2 Kansas. Pick: Creighton. It’s possible that Creighton can beat Kansas. It will be a close game, but the possibility will be a reality. The Blue Jays will win with calmness.

Elite Eight
South Region

No.1 Texas vs. No.14 Troy State. Pick: Texas. Texas’ longhorns will go through anything that stands in its way. Nothing can stand in Texas’ way in this game

East Region

No.1 Oklahoma vs. No.10 Auburn. Pick: Oklahoma. [Kelvin] Sampson will win again. I pick Oklahoma.

Midwest Region

No.1 Kentucky vs. No.3 Marquette. Pick: Kentucky. Kentucky is a legendary program. The Wildcats will stay true to their reputation.

West Region

No.1 Arizona vs. No. 6 Creighton. Pick: Arizona. Creighton will open the door for Arizona to win, and the Wildcats will kick down the door and run to victory.

Final Four

No.1 Texas vs. No.1 Oklahoma. Pick: Texas. Many great things come from Texas. Texas is a very historical place. Texas will make it happen.

No.1 Kentucky vs. No.1 Arizona. Pick: Arizona. Arizona has a good history and a proud tradition. They are a little higher, and better, than Kentucky. Also, the climate in Arizona is a little dry, but very nice.

National Championship

No.1 Texas vs. No.1 Arizona. Pick: Arizona. The championship will be a hard struggle. Both teams will fight until the end, but Arizona will prevail. Arizona will be the champion.


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