Utah Jazz: Who's winning NCAA tourney? Depends on which Jazz player you ask

Published: Tuesday, March 18 2014 7:25 p.m. MDT

Utah Jazz power forward Marvin Williams (2) celebrates a 3-point basket as the shot clock expired during a game against the Miami Heat at EnergySolutions Arena on Saturday, February 8, 2014.

Matt Gade, Deseret News

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — There is hope in the Utah Jazz locker room right now.

It’s just not about this NBA season. Or this particular team.

With the NCAA tournament tipping off this week, the majority of Jazz players are holding out hope that their old college programs will see some success over the next few days and weeks.

If nothing else, March Madness livens up the chatter between teammates in a locker room that needs all the help it can get to keep spirits up during a rough stretch of 10 losses in 11 games.

Want to know who’s going to win it all?

You’ll need multiple brackets for all of the answers you’ll get from Jazz players. Depending on who you ask, the 2014 NCAA champion will come from Colorado, North Carolina or somewhere in between.

“You can never go wrong betting on the blue,” Jazz forward Marvin Williams said.

That’d be North Carolina's baby blue, by the way.

Well, unless you ask Trey Burke. He’ll be carrying the torch for his Michigan maize and blue.

“They’re having a great season,” Burke said of his Wolverines, who lost in the 2013 NCAA title game. “I just wish those guys the best of luck and hopefully they make a run like last year.”

And what about that Jayhawk blue?

“Just because they’re Kansas, I’ve got them going to the Final Four,” Jazz guard Brandon Rush said.

And Arizona’s got some blue in its color scheme, right?

“We feel good,” Jazz forward Richard Jefferson said, speaking on behalf of the U. of A.

Then again, so do John Lucas III (Oklahoma State), Alec Burks (Colorado), Diante Garrett (Iowa State) and Malcolm Thomas (San Diego State), who disagree with the whole safe-betting-on-blue theme.

A handful of players don't have dogs in this year's college fight, including Gordon Hayward (Butler), Derrick Favors (Georgia Tech), Jeremy Evans (Western Kentucky), Ian Clark (Belmont) and non-college guys Rudy Gobert and Andris Biedrins.

While overhearing locker room interviews, Jazz PR director Jonathan Rinehart couldn't help but chime in about a perceived injustice to his alma mater, 25th-ranked SMU, which didn't get its NCAA ticket punched.

"How are you a Top 25 team in the U.S. and not make the field of 68?" Rinehart asked, receiving no pity.

Then there’s Enes Kanter, who spent a year at the University of Kentucky (2010-11) but was unable to play due to eligibility issues. Asked about the Wildcats’ NCAA hopes, he smiled and responded, “Who are they playing?”

Here’s who:

— Enes Kanter: Kentucky (8) vs. Kansas State (9)

Told about the Wildcats’ opponent, Kanter smiled and said, “I’m hoping they’re going to win.”

Kanter continued to speak optimistically while shaking his head.

“I hope so,” he said, his words contradicting his humorous body language. “I’m hoping so.”

— Trey Burke: Michigan (2) vs. Wofford (15)

To his credit, Burke knew who last year’s runners-up are playing: the Terriers.

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