NCAA Tournament preview


Go ahead and do it. Pick up the phone and call out sick for today and tomorrow. It’s the first symptom of March Madness. If you find yourself glued to the television clicking back and forth between CBS, TNT and TBS, there is no need to call a doctor. You’ll be perfectly fine in a few weeks once this year’s national champion is crowned.

Many around South Philly, especially those who attend or work at Prep Charter, are routing for the Kansas Jayhawks (No. 1 seed in the Southwest Region) as juniors Marcus and Markieff Morris both earned All-Big 12 honors. Marcus, a 6-foot-9 forward, was named the conference’s Player of the Year after averaging 17.3 points and seven rebounds a game while shooting 59 percent from the field.

“I’m happy,” he said of the honor in a story posted on the school’s athletic website. “I give all the credit to my teammates. Without them there is no way I would have been selected.”

Markieff, a 6-foot-10 forward, led the conference in field goal percentage (59.8) and rebounding (8.3). Like their high school days, neither sibling is satisfied with simply making the dance. Their road to the Final Four opens tomorrow in Tulsa, Okla., against No. 16 Boston University (6:50 p.m. tip). The winner returns to the court for Sunday’s second-round match against the UNLV/Illinois winner.

In the East Region, the No. 3 Syracuse Orange features Neumann-Goretti grads Rick Jackson, a 6-foot-9 senior forward, and Scoop Jardine, a 6-foot-2 junior guard, who both earned All-Big East recognition. Jackson, also the Big East Defensive Player of the Year, led the league in rebounds (9.9) and blocked shots (2.8) while chipping in 12.8 points per contest. Jardine’s six assists per contest was tops in the league. He also averaged 12.6 points per game.

The squad opens the tournament 9:57 p.m. tomorrow against No. 14 Indiana State. The winner advances to Sunday’s second-round tilt against the Washington/Georgia winner.

The seventh-seeded Temple Owls with South Philadelphia High grad Ramone Moore, a 6-foot-4 junior guard, are in Tucson, Ariz., for this afternoon’s 2:10 tip against No. 10 Penn State. The game is being carried live on TNT. The victor advances to Saturday’s round of 32 to face the San Diego State/Northern Colorado winner.

The local athlete, an All-Atlantic 10 Second Team selection, is the Owls leading scorer with 14.9 points per game.

Contact Editor Bill Gelman at or ext. 121.