March Madness reaches its pinnacle ... in April




For all of you bracket-busters out there, the long ride known as March Madness is coming to a close.

Tonight in New Orleans, top-seeded Kentucky and underdog Kansas will play for the NCAA men's basketball championship, tipping off at 7:23 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time on CBS (Channel 11 locally).

Obviously, that final pairing has eliminated the long shots from millions of bracket pools across America. Kansas was a No. 2 seed, but given its history of success in the NCAA Tournament, KU was a popular choice for many bracketeers who didn't want to take the easy pick of Kentucky.

So now, for the Indy's online March to the Championship contest as well as our own inside-the-office pool, the outcomes probably will depend not on who picked the right team to go all the way, but who had the most Final Four teams and/or nailed the title game finalists.

If you're among the 600-plus entrants in the March to the Championship, you should receive your final score by e-mail, then compare it to the standings that will be published in Thursday's issue of the Independent. My prediction tonight: Kentucky, 80-74.

For basketball purists, of course, the college season doesn't end tonight.

The actual grand finale, unbeaten Baylor facing Notre Dame in Denver to wrap up the Women's Final Four, very well might turn into a better game than Kentucky-Kansas. The Baylor-Notre Dame battle starts at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Pepsi Center, televised by ESPN. My pick: Baylor, 68-60.

And it's hard to remember when the city of Denver has ever looked better as a sporting venue than as home to this Women's Final Four. It actually makes you wonder if the NCAA should consider making Denver the permanent host city, or possibly part of a small rotation.

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