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My Take 3/15 - GSU's Young gives predictions
Noell Barnidge, Statesboro Herald Sports Editor.

See C.Y.'s picks

To follow Georgia Southern men's basketball head coach Charlton Young's March Madness predictions, check out his bracket in Sports at

   It’s Tuesday night and Charlton Young’s cell phone rings. The Georgia Southern men’s basketball head coach answers it, listens to a question and responds that yes, he would be happy to share his March Madness bracket with the Statesboro Herald’s readers.
    Young, also known as C.Y., is watching television but he’s not in the middle of a movie or show. He’s watching No. 16 seed Mississippi Valley State play No. 16 seed Western Kentucky in the first round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.
    I ask him which team will win and he says Mississippi Valley State. He says Iona will beat BYU in Tuesday’s late game, and he says Lamar and South Florida will win their games Wednesday night.
    I read the list of teams that will play in the second round today and Friday, and C.Y. gives me his predictions. We go on to which teams he thinks will advance to the third round, Sweet 16, Elite Eight, Final Four and national championship game.
    C.Y. says he believes Wichita State, Michigan State, Florida State and North Carolina will advance to the Final Four on March 31 in New Orleans.
    Wichita State (27-5) is a No. 5 seed. C.Y. has the Shockers beating No. 12 seed VCU, No. 4 seed Indiana, No. 1 seed Kentucky and No. 7 seed Notre Dame to get to the Final Four.
    “I think Wichita State has a ton of seniors who are very big and very physical,” Young says. “And they’ve got a 7-footer that might be a pro. You have size, and senior leadership, and you’re physical. That makes for a good basketball team.”
    Michigan State (27-7) is a No. 1 seed. C.Y. has the Spartans beating No. 16 seed LIU Brooklyn, No. 8 seed Memphis, No. 12 seed Long Beach State and No. 2 seed Missouri to advance to the Final Four.
    “I think Tom Izzo is, arguably, the best coach in the country,” Young says. “And I think he performs the best, and his teams perform the best, consistently in the tournament. And also, Izzo is a great rebounding coach, and the teams that rebound usually win. They’re also a great execution team.”
    C.Y. says Michigan State will beat Wichita State and advance to the April 2 title game.
    “I just like Izzo and Michigan State,” he says. “I think he’s probably the best coach.”
    Florida State (24-9) is a No. 3 seed. C.Y. has the Seminoles beating No. 14 seed St. Bonaventure, No. 6 seed Cincinnati, No. 2 seed Ohio State and No. 1 seed Syracuse to advance to the Final Four.
    North Carolina (29-5) is a No. 1 seed. C.Y. has the Tar Heels beating No. 16 Lamar, No. 9 Alabama, No. 12 South Florida and No. 7 Saint Mary’s to reach the Final Four.
    C.Y. says FSU will beat North Carolina and advance to the championship game.
    “I think both of those teams have tremendous size and athleticism,” he says. “And the reason I think both of those teams can get there (to the Final Four) is because they can defend you, and they can really alter your shot, get a ton of deflections.
    “But I think Florida State this year just has a mental edge over North Carolina. And I think that Florida State has an underrated defense.”
    C.Y. had me at hello. As a 1994 graduate of Florida State, I nod with approval until we reach the part where he says the Spartans will beat my Seminoles.
    “(It will be a) low-scoring game,” he says. “Very low-scoring game. And I think you’ve got to give the edge, from a rebounding standpoint, to Michigan State.”
    A major part of the excitement and allure of March Madness is the Cinderella aspect, and C.Y. is calling for a number of upsets. He has No. 12 seed Long Beach State beating No. 5 seed New Mexico. He has No. 13 seed Davidson shocking No. 4 seed Louisville, and Long Beach State beating Davidson before Long Beach State falls to Michigan State.
    “I think they’re very difficult to guard,” Young says of Davidson, the Southern Conference Tournament champion. “I think they’re tough. I just really feel like it’s their time to win. As a program, they’ve been to the Elite Eight. Louisville’s style will struggle against Davidson.
    “Long Beach is another very good, senior-laden team. I saw them earlier in the year. Long Beach State hasn’t run from anybody, if you look at their schedule. I think that experience is going to help them in the tournament.”
    C.Y. has No. 12 seed South Florida beating No. 12 seed California, No. 5 seed Temple and No. 13 seed Ohio (which he has beating No. 4 seed Michigan) before the Bulls are eliminated by North Carolina.
    And he’s picking No. 11 seed North Carolina State to beat No. 6 seed San Diego State, but lose to No. 14 seed Belmont.
    “Belmont really shoots the three ball and you always have a chance to win from the 3-point line,” Young says. “They have so many people that can shoot it. I just really feel like it’s their time. They’ve been knocking on the door for years.”
    C.Y. says Belmont will beat No. 3 seed Georgetown and beat N.C. State before losing to No. 7 Saint Mary’s in the Sweet 16.
    “I think Saint Mary’s plays great defense and they’ve been in this tournament before,” he says. “They’re experienced. This is not their first time, and I feel like they’ll play well.”
    C.Y.’s biggest upset pick is No. 15 seed Detroit, which he says will knock out No. 2 seed Kansas.
    “I think Detroit should have a higher seed,” he says. “The reason I’m picking Detroit in an upset is because I don’t think they should be a 15 seed. And I think they’ve got an NBA player at the point.”
    C.Y. says he plans to watch as many games as possible. As we wrap up our conversation, Western Kentucky storms back from a 16-point deficit over the final 5 minutes to beat Mississippi Valley State.
    “I’m an NCAA Tournament addict. I watch every game,” he says, laughing. “I just finished watching Western Kentucky and Mississippi Valley State. I was wrong about Mississippi Valley State. They lost, 59-58.”
    Yes, March Madness is calling.
    Noell Barnidge can be reached at (912) 489-9408.

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