Looking for last-minute NCAA Tournament sleepers? Here's an insider tip from aRocket
Are you losing sleep as you wrestle with a few key selections in your NCAA Tournament bracket? Convinced your bubble is going to burst — as the co-worker you love to hate cackles his way to winning the office pool?
Have no fear, Clutch City gunner Kenny Smith is here to save the day. Or at least your $10 ... er, honor.
Smith, the former Houston Rockets guard who helped trigger the Clutch City moniker with his timely shots as a rookie, has some advice for all of us who become sudden college basketball "experts" at NCAA Tourney time. Look for the toughest guys out there.
"They're not un-high seeds, but I like Villanova and Marquette," Smith told CultureMap in an exclusive phone interview from NBA TV's Atlanta Studio. "Those are tough teams. They're going to play physical and those are the types of teams that are tough outs."
Smith cannot reveal his own full bracket yet because of a promotion he's a part of — the Sobe Lifewater Zero Inhibitions Bracket Challenge. In fact, Smith's under contract to keep (mostly) quiet about his picks until the first game tips off early this afternoon. Smith laughs when asked why his picks are more secret than the bracket of the leader of the free world.
"Hey, there's more on the line with me than Obama," Smith argues. "There's $10 million on this."
Technically. Sobe will pay someone that kingly sum if they pick every single game right in this year's NCAA Tournament. Translation: You have a better chance of winning most state lotteries or seeing Rick Perry bald by November. But if you beat Smith's bracket on the Sobe site, you do get the chance to meet the former Rocket.
Smith — an NBA analyst for TNT — is very big on research. He believes that you cannot truly get a grasp on a team until you've watched that team 10 times. Which pretty much disqualifies everyone in America from being an expert (Has Smith seen college basketball's miniscule regular season ratings?) Smith himself admits he's only watched 20 teams in the field two or three times.
"I know basketball though," the former New York City schoolboy legend argues. "High school, college, NBA, I follow it all. I'm still a basketball nut."
To find out what Smith thinks about local Cinderella-want-to-be University of Houston, come back to CultureMap later in the day. (Hint: Cougars coach Tom Penders may not want to eat anything he could upchuck at dinner).
The former player turned TV voice whose NBA All-Star Game Weekend parties have become legendary will also dish on where he hangs in Houston when he returns to the city these days (it's not where you think).