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Published: Friday, 3/16/2007

Toledo and the tournament

So I'm in the home stretch of my two-day stint on the couch. After working several days in a row with the Mid-American Conference tournament followed by Dan Dakich's resignation, I was lucky that a day off fell on one of the best two days of the sports year, the first round of the NCAA tournament.

Anyway, here I am at 11 p.m. Friday night, kind of spacing off, thinking of maybe starting to pack for my trip in the morning to East Lansing for Bowling Green's game on Sunday ... when I hear on TV, "from Toledo, Ohio ..."

My head snapped to the TV. No. 16 seed Jackson State is taking on Florida, the defending national champions. Two Scott High School grads -- Grant Maxey and Darrion Griffin -- play for the Tigers. It's halftime now and Jackson State is certainly holding its own: trailing 41-35, helped by Maxey's eight points and five rebounds in the first half.

The Tigers were not scared to play the Gators. They've forced 11 turnovers and are in the game despite shooting poorly and getting outrebounded. The odds are against them, since no 16 seed has ever beaten a No. 1 seed. But they're giving it their best shot.

Other Toledoans who played in this year's tournament are Xavier's B.J. Raymond and Notre Dame's Zach Hillesland, both from St. John's. I'm sure there are more I'm forgetting, and for that I apologize.

And may I just say I've picked 26 of 28 games right so far? I picked two upsets correctly (Virginia Commonwealth over Duke and Winthrop over Notre Dame) and got burned on two others (Creighton over Nevada and Old Dominion over Butler). It has been a great two days.

I really should be packing. After all, I could be in East Lansing for four nights if BGSU wins its second ever NCAA tournament game on Sunday. But I just ... can't ... stop ... watching ...

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