The Payson Roundup staff is well divided on which school will claim the men's NCAA basketball championship when it is decided April 5 at the Alamodome in San Antonio. In fact, no two employees picked the same team to win the crown.
In a highly unofficial arm-twisting poll I compiled yesterday (Monday), our picks were:
Editor Jerry Thebado --uke (27-5), the No. 1 seed in the East regional. Jerry says he no longer watches basketball, but eventually settled on a team with probably the best college coach (Mike Kryzewski) in the game today.
Production technician Dave Rawsthorne -- Either Oklahoma State (27-3), the No. 2 seed in the East or Connecticut, (27-6) the No. 2 seed in Phoenix. Since Green Bay, his favorite football team is not playing, Dave had trouble finding just one team to cheer for.
Publisher Richard Haddad --Kansas (21-8), the No. 4 seed in St. Louis. Could Richard's pick be because the home office of the Roundup is located in Lawrence, Kan.?
Production manager Sherrie McQuerrey -- North Carolina (18-10), the No. 6 seed in Atlanta. Sherrie must know when the Tar Heels are at the top of their game, they are tough. The Heels, however, open at No. 11 Air Force (22-6) in Denver. That will be like a home game for the fly boys.
Reporter Jim Keyworth -- Arizona (20-9), the No. 9 seed in Atlanta. Jim's alma mater, Michigan, didn't make it to the 64-team field, so he's going with a state favorite. My question to Jim is "Do you know if Arizona wins its opener, it will probably play No. 1 Duke in the second round?"
Production assistant Jay Cooper -- Gonzaga (27-2), the No. 2 seed in St. Louis. Jay probably thinks this is the best Gonzaga team among the six squads who have made it to the Big Dance. Gonzaga also could be looking to make amends for last year when a very good team was unfairly given a lowly No. 9 seed. In the second round, the Zags took top-seeded Arizona to double overtime.
Production assistant Melinda McQuerrey -- Kentucky (26-4), the No. 1 seed in St. Louis. Melinda went with a topnotch team that wins with defense.
Sales representative Scott Smith -- Alabama (17-12), the No. 8 seed in Phoenix. Scott must know the very athletic Crimson Tide played a tough schedule.
Reporter Teresa McQuerrey -- Murray State (28-5), the No. 12 seed in Atlanta. Teresa said a team with five senior starters has to be good.
Legal clerk Marge Hanscom -- Stanford (29-1), the No. 1 seed in Phoenix. Marge claims to know absolutely nothing about college basketball, but never hesitated when asked her choice.
My pick? Since the ASU Sun Devils stumbled this year and didn't make the tournament, I'll have to stick with the PAC-10 and take Stanford. I know, Arizona is a PAC-10 team, but real Devils Disciples never run with cats.
If there is a Cinderella team in the field, I'd pick 12th-seeded Manhattan (24-5) in the East Rutherford Region. Guard Luis Flores is one of the best scorers in the country.
From all indications, this tournament is going to be a thriller.
A track and field coach -- longtime rival of the Longhorns when PHS was a member of the 3A conference --as received national honors.
Safford coach Herman Andrews is one of five Arizona coaches recognized by the National Federation of High School Coaches Association at the Arizona Interscholastic Association meeting yesterday (Monday) in Phoenix. In past years, Andrews' Bulldog teams and the Longhorns engaged in some memorable battles for state honors.
Also recognized at the meeting were swimming and diving coach Bil Kopa at Brophy Prep, cross country Rick Baker coach of Hopi and golf coach Lynn Winsor of Xavier College Prep.
Mountain Pointe's Karl Kiefer, the state's all-time winningest football coach, is the Western USA football coach of the year and a finalist for the National Coach of the Year award.