The Southsider Voice’s third annual College Basketball Blitz is once again generating the interest of advertisers who were paired with teams in the men’s NCAA tournament after purchasing the 64 ad slots.
The promotion is of particular interest to Sleepy Hollow Pet Ranch, whose No. 8-seeded North Carolina State Wolfpack (22-13) upset No. 1 seed Villanova in the East Regional to earn a berth in the Sweet 16 against Louisville, which was drawn by Huser HomeCare. The Cardinals are back to the Sweet 16 for the fourth consecutive year and will match up well with any team it faces.
Longtime tournament fans will remember NC State’s march to the 1983 national title. The Wolfpack were a No. 6 seed and defeated No. 1 seed Houston 54-52 in the championship game on a buzzer-beating slam dunk by Lorenzo Charles.
The East also features No. 3 seed Oklahoma (24-10, drawn by Assured Neace Lukens Insurance Agency) going up against Tom Izzo’s No. 7 Michigan State Spartans (Merry Maids), who have made it to the Sweet 16 seven times in the past eight seasons. The Spartans (25-11) can never be counted out.
The folks over at Lamping & Husing Heating & Cooling are finding the Big Dance equally exciting as Jim Lamping and Chris Huser drew the No. 7 Wichita State Shockers, who lived up to their nickname by surprising Kansas, the No. 2 seed in the Midwest Regional, 78-65 Sunday afternoon. The Shockers face No. 3 seed Notre Dame on Thursday in Cleveland.
Should Wichita State (30-4) lose to the Irish (31-5), Lamping and Huser can hang their hopes on their other draw, Wisconsin, which is the No. 1 seed in the West. The Badgers (33-3), who won the regular-season Big Ten title and the conference tournament, defeated Oregon on Sunday to advance to the regional semifinals, where they will face No. 4 seed North Carolina (28-11), which was drawn by Direct Connect Printing & Digital Services.
The overall No. 1 seed Kentucky Wildcats (Ed Gregg’s Plumbing) will meet West Virginia (24-9, Duane Lytle Landscaping) in the nightcap in Cleveland. Kentucky (36-0) is trying to rewrite history books by becoming the first team to go undefeated since Bob Knight’s Hoosier went 32-0 during the 1975-76 campaign.
Joining Wisconsin and North Carolina in the West is No. 6 seed Xavier (23-13, Fahreenheit IT Staffing & Consulting) and Arizona (33-3, Beck Service Center), as No. 2 seed.
In the South Regional, Steve Alford’s UCLA squad (Annee & Matry Heating & Cooling) is the lowest seeded team (11) remaining in the tournament. At 22-13, the Bruins are tied with Xavier and NC State with the most lost losses. Many pundits claimed that UCLA didn’t belong in the Big Dance, but Alford and his team have silenced those critics.
The Bruins will have their hands full when meeting No. 2 seed Gonzaga (Legendary Technogies) at 7:15 p.m. Friday in Houston. Although UCLA is playing its best ball of the season, it will need a Herculean effort to knock of the Zags (34-2), who looked like a bona fide title contender while crushing Iowa 87-68 Sunday.
The nightcap will pit No. 1 seed Duke (31-4, Weichert Realtors Tralee Properties) against Utah (26-8, B. Davis Remodeling).
Regional winners will converge upon Indianapolis on April 4 for the national semifinals at Lucas Oil Stadium, with the championship game being played April 6.
A real Hoosier flare for the Final Four would be Notre Dame and Alford’s Bruins. That’s somewhat of a long shot, but wackier things have happened in the tournament.