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Lakers share their NCAA basketball tournament predictions

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As Matt Barnes sat by his locker before the Lakers' game Monday against the Orlando Magic, Shannon Brown peered over his shoulder.

He appeared eager to hear what Barnes' prediction entailed for Thursday's first-round matchup featuring UCLA and Michigan State in the NCAA tournament's southeast region. The two have vested interest in the outcome for reasons beyond wanting to ensure a strong and healthy bracket. With Barnes and Brown alums of UCLA and Michigan State, respectively, the two have placed an undisclosed financial bet on who will win.

Don't expect there to be too much trash talking, though.

"Both those teams are a little bit further down," said Barnes, referring to the Bruins' seventh seed and the Spartans' 10th seed. "It's really a battle between us."

Below is a take from various Lakers on the field.

Ron Artest, Lakers forward, St. John's alum

Final Four: I don't care about anybody else. St. John's will make the Final Four. We're going to take it from there.

On St. John's: They're doing well. They're back in the tournament. I haven't gotten a chance to catch many games but I'm looking forward to seeing them in the Final Four.

On 11 Big East teams in the tournament: That's crazy. That's crazy. I didn't know. I have to look at the bracket now. Now I'm interested.

Matt Barnes, Lakers guard, UCLA alum

Final Four prediction: To be honest I haven't watched enough to give a prediction. But I'll say Duke, Ohio State, Pitt and Kansas. All one seeds

On UCLA versus Michigan State: That's a very battle- and tournament-tested team. They have their hands full, but anything in the tournament can happen. You just have to go out there and play basketball. We'll see. For the first time, I got to a few games and I try to keep up as much as I can. I'm hoping they can do well. We did better than people thought we would do this year. I just hope they continue to improve and get better. I hope they make a nice little run. The first round is always wide open and so is the second round, so you hope they'll stay healthy and do the best they can."

Steve Blake, Lakers guard, Maryland alum

Final Four: San Diego State, because I can't pick Duke. I just can't. I'll also take Kansas State, St. John's for Ron and Ohio State. I think Kansas State will win it. Frank Martin was my head coach in high school. I've seen them play and beat Kansas and Texas. I like the way they play. Frank gets them to play hard. It starts on defense. He works them hard. They don't take any seconds off. They share the ball and have a really good point guard. They have a chance to win it all.

Jim Cleamons, Lakers assistant coach, Ohio State alum

Final Four: I'm of the school of thought that you don't talk about it. You hope they just go out and play. I know people that as soon as they start bragging about their alma mater, they end up losing. I'll keep my mouth shut. I don't even watch [Ohio State] play. With the time difference, most of their games are happening when we're playing. I'll just keep my fingers crossed and hope they do well.

On Ohio State: They've done some things pretty well. The knock on them from what I've been reading is they don't have a deep bench. In the tournament, you don't know what's going to happen with foul difficulties. If there's one guy who goes down, who can you depend upon. Injury-wise, you have to be lucky enough to get through it. Let's hope they do it."

Devin Ebanks, Lakers forward, West Virginia alum

Final Four: Kansas, Duke, Ohio State and it's a tossup between Pitt and Florida.

On West Virginia: I got them going to the Sweet 16. If they put it together, they should do better than that. But for now, Sweet 16. We've done pretty well. They struggled at times but for the most part they had a pretty successful season.

On 11 Big East teams making the tournament: That's crazy. The Big East is competitive. I think you'll see more teams get further than last year, especially with 11. Somebody is going to play well.

On the tournament expanding to 68 teams: It's a lot more games for other teams. I don't know. I guess more basketball is more fun. But having 96 teams is way too long of a season. Some guys are not used to playing that many games.

Derek Fisher, Lakers guard, Arkansas-Little Rock alum

On his alma mater's play-in game Tuesday against UNC-Ashville: [Tuesday's] game is huge. Playing not quite in all the way, which I don't really understand what 64 through 68 really means. But I'm excited for them and happy for the program. I'll definitely be watching. I wish it was one time zone closer and then I'd promise you I'd be there.

Lamar Odom, Lakers forward, Rhode Island alum

On who will win the title: I hope St. John's wins the whole thing. The one thing about the tournament is they have a chance. Everyone has a chance. I think they have the coaching staff to make a run and get something done. I haven't watched too many games, but early on in the year they were playing with great energy. They were really getting coached. Anytime you have an assistant like Gene Keady helps. I think the basketball itself is great. People love this time of year. I love to see all the buzzer beaters and everyone playing hard.

I'm a little biased with the Big East. I like to watch all these kids that got us ready as far as the national team. We played against some of the college kids. I watch Syracuse. Kemba Walker with Connecticut is playing great. I'm a big fan of Jimmer [Fredette]. It's a good time for basketball right now.

Luke Walton, Lakers forward, Arizona alum

On Arizona: I went to the game against USC, but they didn't look too good that game. The [Derrick] Williams kid was hurt. I check their scores. That's about it. We won another Pac-10 title so it's a great year for us on our way back to the top where we belong. It's been rough since Coach O. [Lute Olson] left. It's nice to have some stability in the program again. I thought it'd take a little longer [to bounce back], but Coach Miller has done a great job over there. Supposedly he has another great recruiting class coming in, so we're extremely happy with where the program is at right now.

Will Arizona win the title? Absolutely (smiles). 100%.

-- Mark Medina

Twitter.com/latmedina

E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Photo: Ohio State Buckeyes players huddle up before the game against the Northwestern Wildcats during the second round of the 2011 Big Ten tournament. CreditL: Brian Spurlock, U.S. Presswire

 
Comments () | Archives (26)

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@MM... You really need to tell your IT people that the ads they are running are causing a full minute delay in loading or refreshing the page. Very irritating. We brought this up yesterday.
..................................
TOM

Laker Tom - I forwarded it to them. I'll let you know once I know.

After watching the Fab 5 documentary and the meltdown they had in the Championship game, I must cheer for Steve Fisher and his Aztecs.

I remember watching CWeb calling the timeout and how everything just stopped, not just the game, but everything around me. That was one of the most heartbreaking losses i've ever seen at the college level.

GO AZTECS!!

For everyone who had trouble viewing the blog lately because of ads: Please highlight specifically which ads have caused you problems in loading the page. I forwarded the concerns to management but they need to know specifically which ads are causing problems so they can work with the engineers to rectify the problem.


@MM.... It’s the featured ad above the blog and below the Time title. I have had it happen with Chevy and BMW ads. What happens is all of the page loads except the ad, which takes around a minute to finally load.
..............................................................
TOM


@MM.... Seriously, all they have to do is log onto the site to see what’s happening.
..............................................................
TOM

Laker Tom - It's better to get specifics from you guys than having them visit the site. Take for example, my case. I haven't had any issues at all navigating the page. That's why if we get specific feedback from everyone who has issues, it'll be easier to fix the problem.

today we are having to come to terms, on a number of levels about our own mortality. a person i know, not a sports fan, and certainly not a laker fan, said to me that with all the pain and suffering in the world,how can i "waste " my time on sports. i had to tell this poor misguided person that is precisely because we do suffer and because we are mortal that we need to enjoy and APPRECIATE the joyful things that are presented to us in this life. i am blessed to be able to not just appreciate "THE OTHER BEATIFUL GAME", but to have the good luck to see things that no one has ever seen before, imagine an 18 year old kobe and you smile. there is that nba promo showing kevin durant and a few others, in their high school days, using computer technology to have conversations with them now ,because WE KNOW!. we know what happens to them,it is this connection
with past and future that allows us to chant for rings!!

Posted by: island priest24 | March 15, 2011 at 02:19 PM

6 of 20? hmmm, I think because of his ankle or must be his pinky finger flared up.

Posted by: Norcal | March 15, 2011 at 02:27 PM

Posted by: island priest24 | March 15, 2011 at 02:24 PM

You may have a point there, but then again jealousy or legacy, you think so?


Posted by: Norcal | March 15, 2011 at 02:36 PM

The BMW's and Chevy's Ads are competing with the Bynum ads. lol!


Edwin Gueco:

If you were the GM and had the option to pick Bynum or Dwight Howard then who would you pick? You always have a non-biased opinions.

thank you!!

It was unfortunate Rick is no longer around to appreciate his stirring comments against Bynum. He could have enjoyed these moments when the baby beast has finally awakened, he is growing up by leaps and bounds right before our eyes in every game while the cheering is becoming louder with echo from all directions. The critics are have indigestion of crows consumption in reticence of a new found post weapon. I'm searching for humility, gentility and graciousness in the maturation of the beast. The beast himself is awfully quiet while the boosters have to spread the gospel of "I Told You So," the unmitigated pressures have to be released which are hotter than the fuel rods of a nuclear reactor. lol again!

Edwin, don't talk with your mouth full..lol . I kid.

GOLakers,

Time Warner owns the Lakers with a billion contract for 10 years. We got to have a show or else that contract will lose its steam. Lakers should have skyscrapers in Bynum, Dwight, Gasol, Lamar. To hell with luxury taxes, get all the best players and rammed it to the throats of small market teams. It is called slash and burn strategy and capture all Centers with capitalistic investment. Think Big before the Small swallow you with a copy cat business.

Posted by: Edwin Gueco | March 15, 2011 at 02:53 PM

what a command of english language Edwin, don't tell me that you are an english professor?

Posted by: Edwin Gueco | March 15, 2011 at 03:00 PM

but you still did not answer my question

Go 'Heels!


DBDH!

Lance,

I don't need to tell you how true your statements are.

The world around us seems pretty good right now, and if you don't think so, just wait.

Even for the vast majority of people that do not realize what lies ahead, their live's are filled with ups and downs, challenges and obstacles, success and failure. Lakers basketball is one of the few things that I will "waste" my time on simply because it will help me shift my focus from reality into simpler world. It's the very definition of entertainment; and the Lakers can be just as inspiring as a movie such as Rocky or Rudy.

And that's sort of the angle I choose to view it from.

GOlakers, go back to 3pm post, I said get them all. You are asking to choose, I said buy, buy, buy like Warren Buffet. LMAO!

ChicNStu, I'm eating slowly with fried crow digesting carefully every freakin' bone. Which is better to be a Bynum critic or eating crows? I prefer the latter anytime and anywhere. Should Dr. Atchek and World Soccer gets on the way, I will go back to being a critic again who are responsible for taking the beast out of commission.

Edwin-"Which is better to be a Bynum critic or eating crows?"

I don't mind eating crow, as long as it's marinated in champagne till June.

"He who has gone, so we but cherish his memory, abides with us, more potent, nay, more present than the living man." ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

R.I.P. Rick Friedman

It's been a rough year in MSU Spartan country. I'm hoping they can beat UCLA and survive the first weekend...but I'm certainly not confident.

@MM - What did Shannon have to say?

@LT - cut us some slack on the ads...some of us make a living in advertising...lol!

Can someone tell me why these lam3-a$$ comments are indexed by Google and show up as if they were an actual piece of writing ? It's pretty darn lame, as if I care about someone who comments on the LA Times blog says !? I mean c'mon, why subject me to some cr@p like this when all I was trying to do was find good Laker articles on Google. I wasn't googling "Lakers" to see some w33n33-heads comments about LA Times Blog articles (which aren't so good in the first place by the way, which is why I read on BR. The writers may be more inexperienced but they don't attract every Mamba24oz'er, or Laker Uncle Tom, or whatever some of the other testosterone-less nicknames there are on here.)

Matt (Barnes) is being very realistic, but i expect Ucla to beat Michigan State...Sorry, Magic! If they play again like they did way back two weeks ago, i'd then expect them to thrash Florida. A little payback.


UCLA will have to play 40 minutes of intense BBALL but they will take down Mich St and get their programs revenge against FLA - both St. Johns and BYU suffered close losses to the Bruins and I think the fact those games were a basket or two away from an L works in UCLA's favor. After that, a date with PITT and it's lofty # 1 seed means a more relaxed Bruin squad up against a team that's 'supposed to be there' - I like UCLA in a squeeker. Next up, SD State - I liken them to AZ and I like the way we last played them.

# 12


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