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

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

“I haven’t really looked at the whole bracket,” Burke said. “But it’s March, so every team’s going to bring it. They should be ready.”

Burke, who’s averaging 12.6 points and 5.3 assists his rookie season, doesn’t have second thoughts about leaving college after his sophomore year. But he admitted this is an extra fun time to be in school.

“Obviously, you miss those times,” he said. “I’m sure everybody in the locker room misses being in the tournament and in college.”

— Brandon Rush: Kansas (2) vs. Eastern Kentucky (15)

This 2008 NCAA champion, like Kanter, admitted that he hadn’t scouted out his school’s future opponents, but that didn’t keep him from being confident in the Jayhawks’ chances.

So, Rush has certainly reminded teammates about his team’s success in the tournament, right?

“Not really?” he said. “Some of these guys are young.”

“And,” Jefferson said, interrupting from the next locker over, “some of us don’t give a (bleep).”

“That too,” Rush added, laughing. “It was a good experience, though.”

— Richard Jefferson: Arizona (1) vs. Weber State (16)

It wasn’t quite as good of an experience for Jefferson, whose Arizona team lost in the 2001 NCAA championship game. Still an ardent follower of the Wildcats, the Jazz forward dismissed his school’s two recent losses in Pac-12 play.

“We lost to Oregon, who’s in the tournament, and we lost to UCLA in the conference championship. We feel confident,” Jefferson said. “It’s not like we lost to some of the bum teams they (Kansas) lost to. … We lost to tournament teams.”

And Jefferson’s message to Weber State, his No. 1-seeded team’s first opponent?

“We wish you the best,” he said. “Weber State, man. You know, everybody’s got a chance. Everybody has a chance. Never disrespect an opponent no matter how great or how small. It’s going to be a good game.”

— Diante Garrett: Iowa State (3) vs. N. Carolina Central (14)

Garrett is looking forward to filling out his bracket.

“I’m going with Iowa State,” he said. “I’m still going to stick with them.”

And not just because his former coach, Fred Hoiberg, whom he keeps in touch with every couple of months, has one of the best nicknames in the business.

“They look like they have a good path where they need to get to the Final Four,” Garrett said. “I think the Mayor will get them there. Yeah, I think so. I’ve got confidence in my guys.”

— Malcolm Thomas: San Diego State (4) vs. New Mexico State (13)

The Jazz power forward knows his Aztecs don’t get a ton of respect, but he’s pulling for this team that lost to New Mexico in the MWC championship but won at Kansas.

“That,” Jefferson said, “was a bad loss for Kansas.”

“I feel like after a couple of bad losses that they had people kind of forgot about them and felt like they weren’t really contenders,” Kawhi Leonard’s former teammate said. “But I feel like they’re pretty good. I feel like they’re going to shock people.”

— Alec Burks: Colorado (8) vs. Pittsburgh (9)

This Jazz guard can give you a dark horse tip.

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