While our team of elves is chained to a radiator in the basement counting your votes for the 2007 Name of the Year—still plenty of time to fill out a ballot!—we're handicapping the talent in that other tournament. Next up: the West Region.
Kansas v. Niagara: Benson Egemonye and Charron Fisher lead the Purple Eagles. That's right. A guy from an ’80s sitcom and the angel of death. The Jayhawks counter with Brady Morningstar and Sasha Kaun. We won’t call him ``Baron.’’ Winner: Niagara.
Kentucky v. Villanova: For a bunch of Wildcats, their names are pretty tame. Kentucky’s got Ramel Bradley, Lukasz Obzrut and Sheray Thomas. Nova counters with Bilal Benn, Reggie Redding and Casiem Drummond. Winner: Villanova.
Virginia Tech v. Illinois: Bring back Luther Head! Bring back the Chief! (Not really.) The Hokies win the battle of nicknames and real names: Zabian Dowdell, Robert Krabbendam, Cheick Diakite. Winner: Virginia Tech.
Southern Illinois v. Holy Cross: The Salukis aren’t exactly pit bulls, but Kobby Acquah, Dion Coopwood and Christian Cornelius easily handle the Crusaders’ Victor ``Va Va’’ Vaval. Winner: Southern Illinois.
Duke v. Virginia Comonwealth: Duke sucks in the name department, too. VCU won’t get far with Wil Fameni and Franck Ndongo. But who cares. Winner: Virginia Commonwealth.
Pittsburgh v. Wright State: One on one, the way the game was meant to be played. Levance Fields of Pitt against Dashaun Wood of Wright State. Levance advances. Winner: Pitt.
Indiana v. Gonzaga: Is Xavier Keeling? Only if Bobby Knight’s still coaching. The Zags aren’t deep, but when you’ve got a Quebecois named Pierre Marie Altidor-Cespedes in the low post with Abdullahi Kuso on the wing, you move on. Winner: Gonzaga.
UCLA v. Weber State: We love a pointless preposition (DeAndre Robinson) and a five-word name (Luc Richard Mbah a Moute). But even Walton and Alcindor would be overmatched against these names out of Mormon country. Jake Orchard, Jamaine Nance, Dezmon Harris, Ty Sparrow, Brody Van Brocklin, Daviin Davis, Juan Pablo Silveira and G.B. Burningham. Winner: Weber State.
Villanova over Niagara. Bilal? Casiem? What the fuck?
Southern Illinois over Virginia Tech. The Coop and Kobby show.
Pitt over VCU. Levancing.
Weber State over Gonzaga. Plants, inane spellings, alliteration, birds, a random Z, repeated vowels.
Southern Illinois over Villanova. Told Larry David he invented the Kobby Salad.
Weber State over Pitt. Not Levancing.
Weber State over Southern Illinois. Daviin into the Final Four.