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Sports

March 20, 2014

Area coaches reveal their thoughts on men’s bracket

At 11 a.m. today, the second round of the NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament will tip off and entry into most bracket contests will be closed.

If you’re waiting until the last minute to fill out a bracket, several area coaches who had successful runs in the postseason offered their thoughts on the tournament.

Connors State men’s coach Bill Muse, who was inducted into the NJCAA Men’s Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame on Monday, believes there are very few favorites to win this year’s championship.

“I’m going with Florida, Arizona, Louisville and Michigan State in the Final Four,” Muse said. “I have Michigan State and Louisville in the final with MSU winning it all. They’ve got everyone back. They looked real good against Michigan in the Big 10 championship game and they have one of the best coaches in the country in Tom Izzo.”

There is one matchup in particular that Muse will have a vested interested in and that’s Virginia, the top seed in the East Region, versus Coastal Carolina which tips off at 8:25 p.m. Friday in Raleigh. N.C. That’s because Josh Cameron, who played for Muse last year, is a key member of Coastal Carolina and Chanticleers’ coach Cliff Ellis was the head coach at South Alabama when Muse was an assistant there.

“They’ve have a tough road going up against the No. 1 seed,” Muse said. “But I have a former player and a coach who I assisted under, so I’ll be rooting for them.”

Jay Herrin, whose Sequoyah Indians lost in the Class 3A boys semifinals to eventual champion Okemah, is still holding off on his picks but has some possibilities in mind.

“I’d have to take Florida in their region,” he said. “They look like they’re running on all cylinders. I like Wisconsin. I’ve seen them play a few times and I’m a big fan of (coach) Bo Ryan. In the other two regions I like Virginia and Duke.

“Wichita State is really good but the pressure of going undefeated might be too much. It’s just so hard to go undefeated.”

Herrin also added to watch out for Oklahoma State. The Cowboys are the No. 9 seed in the West bracket and meet No. 8 Gonzaga at 3:40 p.m. Friday in San Diego.

“If I had a sleeper in a major conference,” he said, “it would be OSU in the Big 12. Harvard is also an upset pick. I have seen a lot of analysts taking them.”

Jerry Walker, who guided his Fort Gibson Lady Tigers to their second straight Class 4A championship, picked either Michigan State or Florida to win the title.

For his surprise teams, he looked towards the Big 12 conference.

“My sleepers are Oklahoma and Iowa State,” he said.

Sequoyah girls coach Larry Callison, who took the Lady Indians to the Class 3A quarterfinals, did not go according to the seeds

“I’ve got Louisville and Michigan State in the finals,” he said. “On the other side I’ve got Florida and Oklahoma State. I haven’t been a real big fan of the Cowboys since Eddie Sutton left but I like they way they’re playing.”

Callison also had an opinion on Wichita State, who enters the tournament at 34-0 and the No. 1 seed in the Midwest.

“I think they overloaded this thing on Wichita State’s side,” he said. “I don’t know if that was purposely done because they didn’t feel like they played a tough enough schedule. But that’s why I don’t think they’ll get through it. I just think they’ve got too many big ones to get through.”

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