March Madness predictions

By on March 19, 2014
Sports Writer Bruce Morgan

Sports Writer Bruce Morgan

For me, it’s a toss-up.

My favorite time of year on the sports calendar?

It’s either got to be now – with March Madness in full bloom, MLB Opening Day just around the corner, and the National Hockey League playoffs close behind – or October. The excitement that comes with the NFL season and Major League Baseball playoffs is pretty hard to beat.

Anyway, I’m sure our office on Monday morning was no different that many others, with everyone doing their best Dick Vitale and Billy Packer impersonations as pools were formed and the merits of No. 1 seeds were discussed.

Of course, my losing streak filling out the NCAA brackets rivals the skid in which the Philadelphia 76ers are currently mired. So I was trying to soak up as much of the dialogue as possible.

Given my background in these types of ventures – which usually means making a $5 or $10 donation to the eventual winner – my picks will probably hold as much water as a wet paper bag.

But I’m taking No. 1 Florida in the South, No. 2 Villanova in the East, No. 3 Duke in the Midwest and No. 2 Wisconsin in the West.

Part of my strategy is not to pick four top seeds – how often do all of them get to the Final Four? I admit that the Villanova pick comes from the heart. Truth is, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Michigan St. there either. In the Midwest, Louisville seems to be the popular selection. Yes, they are the defending champs, and yes in their last 10 wins, the Cardinals’ average margin of victory is 26.5 points. But I’m not convinced that teams like Rutgers and Houston are real good measuring sticks. I admit that Duke might be a risky pick to get to Arlington, Texas, but at least the Blue Devils are a program that knows how to win also.

Again, take it for what it’s worth.

My pick to win it all is Florida.

*****

Switching sports but staying on the national scene, a few former Warwick stars are playing key roles for their collegiate teams which are garnering recognition in the polls.

Adam Zipko and Mark Stuckey have helped the MillersvilleUniversity baseball team notch the 22nd spot in the College Baseball Lineup national poll. The Marauders have also appeared on the National College Baseball Writers Association and D2baseball.com’s polls this spring.

Zipko, a one-time ace for the Warriors’ baseball team, is MU’s Mariano Rivera, having recorded his 15th career save in as many opportunities while nailing down MU’s 5-1 win over Davis & Elkins last Sunday.

Meanwhile, second baseman Mark Stuckey has started all 15 of the Marauder’s games, with one homer, four doubles, six RBI’s and 20 total bases to his credit as of deadline. Stuckey started his career at Marist College (N.Y.) with former Warwick teammate Zach Shank, who is now playing in the Seattle Mariners’ system.

It seems hard to believe that it was just five years ago that those guys were helping the Warriors win their first District championship game.

Former Warwick softball star Sam Derr is no stranger to championship games either and LebanonValleyCollege is certainly glad to have the ace pitcher on the mound for them these days.

She is currently 3-0 with a minuscule 0.33 ERA and 20 strikeouts in 21 innings pitched, in addition to batting .417 for a Lady Dutchmen team that has achieved its highest national ranking in program history – 15th in the NFCA Top-25. Congrats to all of those players and continued success.

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