Crystal ball says Temple rolls by Duke in East

March 14, 2000|By John Eisenberg

Opinion: A Final Four prediction (with eyes closed, as always): Temple, Michigan State, Stanford and St. John's. That's right, Temple over Duke in the East Regional final. And Michigan State over Stanford in the championship game.

Fact: This makes it three years in a row that one of Baltimore's five Division I teams hasn't reached the NCAA tournament.

Opinion: If the seedings hold in the Maryland Terrapins' draw, UCLA would make a much, much tougher second-round opponent than Creighton was last year, but Iowa State, though obviously tough, is a Johnny-come-lately and thus the kind of high seed you want to play in the Sweet 16.

Fact: After former Maryland star Steve Francis lost a tooth in an on-court collision in an NBA game last week, a fan found the tooth and put it up for auction on an Internet site.

Opinion: The Atlantic Coast Conference fraternity is mad about getting only three NCAA bids for the second straight year, but it actually deserved just two this year. North Carolina's bid is strictly a lifetime achievement award.

Fact: A consensus of NBA scouts has Terence Morris going somewhere in the middle of the first round if he decides to turn pro. Probably not a lottery pick, in other words.

Opinion: Dan Marino did the right thing by retiring yesterday, instead of going to a Minnesota team in decline and trying (and failing) to win a ring.

Fact: Those close to the Yankees say the pitchers are really going to miss catcher Joe Girardi, who calls a better game than Jorge Posada. Girardi signed with the Cubs during the off-season.

Opinion: The Orioles haven't often had much of a bench in the past decade, but they do now with capable veterans Rich Amaral and Jeff Conine.

Fact: Vince Carter, Kobe Bryant and Tim Thomas played on the same Amateur Athletic Union team as high schoolers a few years ago. "What a crazy, crazy team," says Bryant.

Opinion: As awful as hockey goon Marty McSorley's stick attack on Donald Brashear was, the Vancouver prosecutors were wrong to charge McSorley with assault. Sports leagues should be left alone to legislate what happens in their games. (And you watch, the case will go nowhere.)

Fact: Arnold Palmer testified for the PGA Tour and against Casey Martin in court, but he is so fond of Martin that he has given Martin a sponsor's exemption to his Bay Hill Classic tournament this week.

Opinion: Believe it or not, there's a way Peter Warrick could fall to the Ravens as the No. 5 pick in the draft. If the Browns go with Penn State defensive end Courtney Brown instead of Warrick at No. 1 and the Redskins take linebacker LaVar Arrington and offensive tackle Chris Samuels after that, the Bengals probably would pass on Warrick at No. 4 because they already have receiver Carl Pickens. That would leave Warrick for the Ravens. Hey, it could happen.

Fact: Only five of the 16 games on the Ravens' 2000 schedule are against teams that won a playoff game last season.

Opinion: You know the Kentucky Derby is wide-open this year when the mutuel field leads all betting interests in future-book wagering sponsored by Churchill Downs.

Fact: Here's how important the baseball exhibition season is: The Royals had the game's best exhibition record (22-9) a year ago and went on to lose 97 games that counted.

Opinion: If producer Don Ohlmeyer really wants to spike "Monday Night Football" ratings, he should re-hire O. J. Simpson and put him back in the booth.

Fact: Iona, the Terps' first-round NCAA opponent, played in Baltimore one night in mid-February, beating Loyola at Reitz Arena, 74-56.

Opinion: Looking for a good guy to root for in the NCAA tournament? Miami coach Leonard Hamilton has graduated all but two players in a decade on the job.

Fact: The Washington Wizards are 8-17 since Michael Jordan took over as director of basketball operations.

Opinion: An educated guess at the top three picks in the NBA draft (after talking to scouts): Cincinnati's Kenyon Martin, Texas' Chris Mihm and Arizona's Loren Woods.

Fact: Maryland's streak of seven straight NCAA appearances is the nation's ninth-longest behind by North Carolina (26), Arizona (16), Indiana (15), UCLA (12), Temple (11), Kansas (11), Cincinnati (9) and Purdue (8). Pretty good company.

Opinion: There's no way the whole 2000 NFL season will pass without the subject of Trent Dilfer replacing Tony Banks coming up.

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