By JIM LITKE, Associated Press
Welcome back to BracketRacket, the one-stop shopping place for all your NCAA needs.
Today, Patrick Carney of The Black Keys drops by to explain why the loss by his beloved Akron Zips won't leave him a lonely boy, Rick Pitino's horse fills out a bracket, and Harvard busts everyone else's, though not necessarily in that order. We also brandish six-shooters — cap pistols, actually — and trot out the world's longest dry-erase board to explain in detail why you never had a chance.
But, first, a brief public-service message.
DIDN'T I SEE YOU IN THE LAST EPISODE OF 'SWAMP HUNTERS?'
If, like us, you can't get by without your weekly fix of "Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura," you already know where to find TruTV.
The rest of you Johnny-come-latelies scrambling to find it during the tournament?
CBS is spreading its NCAA games across four networks this year — the mothership, plus TNT, TBS and TruTV. And while it will still provide live look-ins to games on the other networks, those will be shown only at halftime or between games. No more cutting back-and-forth to close contests. That's what your remote is for.
So grab it, and courtesy of Deadspin.com, start your hunt for TruTV here: http://deadsp.in/16LTK2e .
In a previous incarnation, Tru used to be Court TV. Now, the network's slogan is "Not Reality. Actuality."
"Notice we don't say it's reality," Turner Broadcasting's Steve Koonin practically boasted to the L.A. Times a while back. Duly noted.
"This is our version of reality," he added.
What a coincidence. That's the NCAA's motto, too.
NOW YOU'RE TELLING US?
No. 14 Harvard 68, No. 3 New Mexico 62.
It's about time.
No, not the Crimson's first-ever NCAA tournament win, but this: http://bit.ly/ZgKICO .
DOES MR. ED KNOW ABOUT THIS?
A horse is a horse, of course, unless it happens to be Rick Pitino's horse, of course.
In that case, it's a potential gold mine.
Pitino is a master at recruiting kids and coaching 'em up. Everyone already knows that. He's on the Hall of Fame ballot this year, and Pitino reminded us why one more time Thursday, when Louisville opened the tournament with a very workmanlike 79-48 thrashing of tiny North Carolina A&T. Just like the sensei, his young charges showed none of the nerves that often accompany being tagged as the No. 1 seed overall.
What you might not know is the man also happens to be a pretty good judge of horseflesh (and occasionally names some of it after one of his players).
Goldencents, Pitino's 3-year-old thoroughbred, recently won the Sham Stakes, a Kentucky Derby prep race, and is pointed squarely down the road toward this year's Run for the Roses. What a double that would be. And here's a look that Pitino could pull off in either arena: http://bit.ly/ZYdZ6b .
But let's not get one foot too far out in front of the other.
First up on Pitino's dance card is the tournament, and so it was probably a good thing he wasn't around the barns when a reporter from NBC 4 in L.A. showed up earlier this week and asked his colt to fill out a bracket.
There's an ad on the front end of this video clip, and lots of TV happy talk right after, but if you start at the 1:50 mark and watch for a minute or so — it's not half-bad — you'll get it straight from the horse's mouth here: http://bit.ly/14aEMmO .
If you can't spare the time, here's the money quote: Louisville wins it going away.
CASTING CALL FOR A NEW TruTV SERIES
Just know you don't stand a chance if this guy finds out: http://bit.ly/Ycd5J9 .
You'd think growing up in Akron, Ohio, would be tough enough, even before you factor in the historic 88-42 beatdown the hometown Zips suffered at the hands of VCU in their opener.
Then you remember most of those same kids also grew up in the shadow of Cleveland's sad-sack sports teams. Patrick Carney of The Black Keys and bandmate Dan Auerbach did. But that was not the inspiration for their latest Grammy Award-winning hit "Lonely Boys" — even if it's tempting to think so.
Carney, who currently calls Nashville home, shared his tale of survival and what it's like to grow up a Zips fan with AP music writer Chris Talbott.
"My dad used to take us to games a couple times a year when I was a kid. They weren't very good back then, but it was fun. I always like rooting for the underdog, I guess," Carney said. "At this point, the school is probably the most important thing economically for the city of Akron, so it is great to see the basketball team getting a little attention."
Unfortunately, very little. But people have learned to make do with that in Akron. LeBron James hails from there, and gets back on occasion, but these days he's got eyes mostly for Miami.
Carney and Auerbach played baseball and basketball as kids, and began the band that became The Black Keys after dropping out of college. Carney still describes himself as a serious fan, but it could have been worse.
"I have the potential to be a 10, but after watching Cleveland teams get brutalized my whole life, I kind of backed off a bit," he said. "I am probably a five at this point."
Then, Carney proved his savvy by telling Talbot that while his heart was in Akron, at least when it comes to the NCAAs, his head is somewhere else:
"I am picking Duke."
YOU HEARD RIGHT. NOW WATCH THIS GUY PROVE IT
We told you Monday that the odds of a perfect bracket were one in 9.2 quintillion.
Maybe you didn't believe us.
But you'll believe this guy: http://bit.ly/YunLNo .
STAT OF THE DAY
If you value consistency, STATS thinks you'll like Indiana. Only two players in the tournament averaged at least 16 points per game in their previous appearances (minimum: three games) and two of them are Hoosiers: Christian Watford (19.0 ppg in three games) and Cody Zeller (16.7 ppg in three games).
Gonzaga's Elias Harris was at 16.0 ppg in six games, but managed just five on Thursday when the Zags beat Southern.
QUOTE OF DAY
"We got in here a little late last night, but we're trying to enjoy Austin. I did walk down 6th Street last night and I didn't realize how many bars they had. But I didn't see any of my guys there, so we're off to a good start." — Pacific coach Bob Thomason, whose 15th-seeded Tigers play Miami, on his team's arrival Wednesday night.
Jim Litke is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at jlitke(at)ap.org and follow him at Twitter.com/Jim Litke.
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