Friday, March 16, 2007

NCAA Names: Midwest Region

With voting for the 2007 Name of the Year well underway—keep those ballots coming!—we decided to take a look at that other tournament, the one played with ``student-athletes,'' an orange ball and Greg Gumbel. Over the next few days, we'll break down the field. Let's start with the Midwest Region.

Florida v. Jackson State: The Tigers start Caraiva Givens (powerful first name), Garrison Johnson (nice rhyming) and Kay Martinez (girl’s name). The Gators aren’t deep—Joakim Noah would be a fine name if he weren’t so annoying—but they have a big star in Marreese Speights, a sure 2008 NOTY nominee. Winner: Florida.

Arizona v. Purdue: Lots of depth on Lute Olson’s team with Jawann McLellan, Mohamed Tangara, Mustafa Shakur and Fendi Onobun. Purdue, typically, is slow and dull. When your stud is Tarrance Crump, you’re going down. Winner: Arizona.

Butler v. Old Dominion: No one’s advancing very far. Butler’s got Julian Betko—is that a gambling website?—and Brandon Crone. ODU counters with Marsharee Neely, Abdi Lidonde and Brandon Johnson. Marsharee, amor. Winner: ODU.

Maryland v. Davidson: Too bad someone has to lose. Maryland stars D.J. Strawberry (sister: Diamond), Bambale Osby, Ekene Ibekwe and Greivis Vasquez. In addition to Boris Meno, Max Paulhus Gosselin, Lamar Hull and Andrew Lovedale, Davidson’s lineup poses a question: Can Civi? He's from Istanbul, not Constantinople. Winner: Maryland.

Notre Dame v. Winthrop: Golden Dome, tin names. Rudy would start on this team. Winthrop is front-loaded with Mantoris Robinson, Torrell Martin and De’Andrew Adams. On and off the court, the Irish are losers. Winner: Winthrop.

Oregon-Miami (Ohio): Mid-major names: Alex Moosmann, Sean Mock, Monty St. Clair. Oregon, meanwhile, is a forest of redwoods: Malik Hairston, Maarty Leunen, Tajuan Porter, LeKendric Longmire, Joevan Catron. And, with Chamberlain Oguchi and Churchill Odia, they can win any debate about World War II! Winner: Oregon.

UNLV-Georgia Tech: Would Tark have slipped envelopes stuffed with cash to a Rene (Rougeau), a Gaston (Essenque) and an Efrem (Lawrence)? Is the Rebels’ JoVan Adams related to Oregon’s Joevan Catron? Georgia Tech has it all: first names, last names, an apostrophe, a hypen. Lewis Clinch, Javaris Crittenton, Ra-Sean Dickey, Paco Diaw, D’Andre Bell, Jeremis Smith, Zach Peacock, Alade Aminu. To quote Mr. Slinger in Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse, wow, all we can say is wow. Winner: Georgia Tech.

Wisconsin-Texas A&M Corpus Christi: Even Brent Musberger wouldn’t get excited about this game. Now starting ... Joe Krabbenhoft. TAMCC sounds like a pension fund and its roster is about as exciting. Winner: Both teams disqualified.

Second Round
Florida over Arizona. Can you hear the crowd? Mar-reeeeese!
Maryland over ODU. With a Strawberry on top.
Oregon over Winthrop. Did Maarty Leunen buy a vowel?
Georgia Tech (bye).

Third Round
Maryland over Florida. But Marreese is a lock for all-tournament team.
Oregon over Georgia Tech. Peace in our time.

Regional Final
Oregon over Maryland. Appeasing no one.