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’m not going to fill out a bracket, but I pick them (the Buffaloes) to win it every year,” Burks said. “I’ve got to support them.”

Burks laughed when talking about Colorado’s recent trips to the NCAA. He didn’t get to play in the tournament as a freshman or sophomore before leaving for the NBA in 2011, but the Buffs have been invited the past three years.

“Ever since I left, they’re better without me,” he said, laughing. “I wish the best for them.”

— John Lucas III: Oklahoma State (9) vs. Gonzaga (8)

If they get by the Zags, Lucas’ Cowboys will take on Jefferson’s Wildcats or the Weber State Wildcats in the second round.

“I feel real good. … I think they got a chance. I like the way the bracket’s set up for them,” Lucas said. “They’ve got to come in there and play, though. Any given day, a team can come out and get hot on you.”

Lucas is realistic in his support.

“I’m going to fill two (brackets) out,” he said. “I’ve got one with them (OSU) going all the way and then I’ve got one Sweet 16.”

— Marvin Williams: North Carolina (6) vs. Providence (11)

Williams won the 2005 NCAA title with N.C. and then bolted for the NBA after his freshman season, and he believes the Tar Heels should be the winners every spring.

“Of course. I always fill out one bracket with Carolina winning it all,” he said. With a smile, he added that he has a Lucas-like back-up plan. “And I always fill out one that’s a little (smarter).”

Williams is excited but nervous that North Carolina will play Providence, a school he knows hasn’t been in the tournament for a decade. “I’m praying my boys pull through, but you never know,” he said. “Providence had a great year this year. … It’ll be a good game.”

Probably smart for guys from North Carolina, a school eliminated by Weber State 15 years ago, to be weary of the potential Cinderella stories.

“Anytime those smaller schools get in it’s exciting for those guys, an exciting time for the coaching staff, the university. You’ve got to be happy for them, definitely,” he said.

“It’s not always the most fun to play those schools because sometimes a school with a bigger name may take it for granted and then you see a George Mason in the Final Four like they were a few years ago. ... If you’re playing, you’ve got to play like it’s your last game because it really could be.”

EMAIL: jody@desnews.com


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