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Top Secret Fyles: NCAA Tournament bracket madness just around the corner

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From the drawers of the Top Secret Fyles:

Three weeks from today, we will all be scrambling at our desks, trying to find the perfect combination to complete our NCAA Basketball Tournament brackets.

Two of the nation’s top bracket experts, Joe Lunardi of ESPN and Jerry Palm of CBSSports.com, agree on the four regional top seeds. At this moment, that’s a no-brainer with Syracuse University (in the East), Wichita State (in the Midwest), Florida (in the South) and Arizona (in the West).

Of course, if any of those teams slump between now and conference postseason play in two weeks, seeds would be altered.

Subjectively, Lunardi has the Orange meeting the winner of a play-in game against either High Point or Robert Morris in the second round at Buffalo.

Palm also has the first-year Atlantic Coast Conference member SU playing in Buffalo, but against possible America East champion Vermont.

(I can’t see that matchup again, as these schools have already met twice in early tournament play in 2005 and 2010.)

If the Orange can get the two Buffalo games, the East Regional semifinal and final would be played at Madison Square Garden in New York City, where SU has plenty of alumni and has enjoyed success in previous tournaments when it was a Big East member.

The ACC should have five schools in the NCAA tournament: SU, Duke, Pittsburgh, Virginia and North Carolina.

Thirty-two conference champions receive automatic tournament berths, while 36 schools shall earn at-large bids in the 68-team field.

n The Winter Olympics definitely provided thrills and spills, and it was satisfying to see that some of the Times’ adopted Olympians fared particularly well. Remsen’s Erin Hamlin won a bronze medal in women’s singles luge, and Lake Placid’s Andrew Weibrecht captured silver in the Alpine men’s super-G event.

Overall, I ended up watching more Olympic events than I had originally thought I would, and television coverage from NBC and CBC and their family of networks was excellent.

Oh well, begin the 30-month countdown for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

n It’s too bad Sunday’s Daytona 500 auto race that began at 1:30 p.m. didn’t end until 11:30 that night, because of a lengthy rain delay and subsequent wrecks. Before the rain, the race was relatively accident-free.

Unless you are a die-hard auto racing fan, you can’t expect viewers to hang in there for 10 hours to see who wins.

It’s February in Florida, and it is going to rain by late afternoon.

Richie Rich’s Top 10 in College Basketball: 1. Wichita State (Florida is probably a notch above the Shockers, but a 29-0 start should be rewarded); 2. Florida; 3. Arizona; 4. Syracuse (played Monday); 5. Louisville; 6. Duke; 7. Kansas (played Monday); 8. Saint Louis; 9. Creighton; 10. Villanova.

Times sports copy editor Richard Fyle can be reached at rfyle@wdt.net

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