IU 2-1 favorite to win NCAA

IU 2-1 favorite to win NCAA

by Jimmy the Greek, Field Newspaper Syndicate

March 3, 1976

LAS VEGAS – The NCAA fills its 32-team tourney field Thursday and there won’t be many surprises among the 15 at-large teams.

And it should come as no surprise, either, that I make Indiana the tournament favorite at 2-1.

Second choice is Marquette at 4-1, then UCLA and North Carolina 6-1, followed by the independent sleeper in the field, Nevada at Las Vegas, 8-1 to take it all.

Not many of the 15 teams invited tomorrow will be independents. Marquette, Vegas and Notre Dame are sure things. A fourth ticket could be handed out to St. John’s or Florida State.

I’m figuring the four ECAC playoff winners will be Rutgers, Providence, Georgetown and Syracuse. St. John’s may be invited even as a loser.

Seven other at-large teams will be picked from the conferences, and they don’t have to be runners-up: Michigan out of the Big Ten; Washington from the Pacific-8; the loser of Missouri-Kansas State from the Big Eight; a second ACC team, undoubtedly Maryland if North Carolina wins that conference layoff; Cincinnati if Louisville wins the Metro-6 knockout tournament or vice versa; Tennessee in the SEC, and Utah in the WAC.

That means plenty of independents will get the snub including 20-4 North Carolina-Charlotte, which has a tough time filling out a schedule, and little 22-5 Centenary, with the best professional prospect in the country, 7-0 Robert Parish.