Boston College Eagles (26-7) vs. Pacific Tigers (24-7).
When: 12:40 p.m. ET
Where: Salt Lake City
1. All The News That Is Fit To Print. Think you're going out on a limb by picking BC as your dark horse? The New York Times already beat you to the punch. The Old Grey Lady picked BC to win it all back last fall. Good news since the Times' Midas Touch worked so well on past winners like John Kerry, Martha Burk and Jayson Blair.
2. Sowing Oats Leads To Oates Starting. Despite being arguably the least-talented big man in coach Al Skinner s rotation, John Oates started at center for all of BC's regular season games this year. Oates' best attribute was his ability to stay out of trouble this offseason ... something his counterparts Akida McLain and Sean Williams couldn't do. While all are individually limited, together they combine to form a serviceable center, averaging approximately nine points, eight rebounds, two blocks and 426 fouls a game.
3. Don't Hate BC Because Of The Sports Reporters. On a blog dedicated to exposing jerky columnists, BC must be viewed like one of those Al Qaeda training camps. The Jesuit school is the alma mater of Bob Ryan and Mike Lupica. If BC does well this March, both will surely jump on the bandwagon in time for their Sunday morning chat fest. Don t worry, though; by April they ll be ready to steer ESPN's focus back to 24/7 Yankees-Red Sox talk. — Bill Maloney
1. They Have An Award-Winning Swede. Sweden's Christian Maraker is the latest international player who has contributed to the recent success of Pacific's basketball program. Maraker was selected as the Big West player of the year after averaging 17 points and nine rebounds this season. Maraker also was selected as a Mid-Major All-America. But that might pale in comparison to Maraker winning the "Astrid Lindgren Award," which is bestowed upon the Swede who best represents his country. Former winners include the rock band Europe and actor Peter Koch, who portrayed "The Swede" in the movie Heartbreak Ridge.
2. The Kandi Man? Not So Bright. The most famous former Pacific basketball player is another international player, Michael Olowakandi. The Celtics bench warmer wanted to play on a campus near the beach, so he opened a book and picked the University of Pacific because he figured it would be on the Pacific Ocean. The University of Pacific is in Stockton, Calif., some 100 miles away from the ocean. Stockton does have the furthest inland port in the world, but probably not what he was looking for. This was just one of many bad choices by Olowakandi which seemed to start a trend.
3. Actually, It's Kind Of A Baseball Town. The Pacific baseball team is coached by Ed Sprague. And his Tigers baseball team is also as bland and indiscriminant as his playing career. But there is a lot of baseball history in Stockton. The minor league baseball team, the Ports, briefly changed their name to the Mudville Nine (2000-01). But even that seemed too hokey, even for minor league baseball. — The Hater Nation