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Who will win the NCAA Tournament? The answer is in the stars

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famous_final_four_alum.jpgThis weekend's Final Four will be determined on the court.

This is a fact ... or is it?

If you take a moment to study the famous non-athlete alums of each of the four schools, the Final Four picture begins to take shape and reveal itself. In an effort to create a more informed Final Four viewer heading into this, college basketball's holiest weekend, we've compiled a famous alum starting five for each team -- plus a sixth man or woman who didn't actually graduate from the university but attended for some time. There's also a wild card -- someone who went to that university that makes you realize, hmmm ... I never actually pictured that person attending college, but I guess it makes sense. I mean, we all come from somewhere, right? (Yeah, Batavia!) This person would be the equivalent of your team's role player down the stretch.

So without further ado, here are the Sports Pros(e) famous alum squads for each of this year's Final Four schools: 
North Carolina

Center: Peter Gammons
Power Forward: Lewis Black
Small Forward: John Edwards
Shooting Guard: Billy Crudup
Point Guard: Dan Cortese
Sixth Man: Chris Matthews
Wild Card: Rick Dees

billy_crudup.jpgWe start in the middle with perhaps the greatest baseball journalist of our time, Peter Gammons, who once wrote for the Daily Tar Heel. He spent most of his career with the Boston Globe, so I see him as a Robert Parrish type -- dependable and wise. At power forward is the comedian Lewis Black. They guy's intense, and you want that from a power forward. I can really see him tossing some elbows hither and yon like so many political jokes. John Edwards, who graduated from UNC's law school, is swarthy, a little bit slimy and has great hair -- perfect recipe for a small forward. Billy Crudup just turned in a fantastic performance as Dr. Manhattan in "Watchmen." Judging by his character in the movie, he can probably play any position he wants. And if he multiplies himself, as he does in one memorable scene, he may actually be able to play all five positions at the same time while watching the game with Malin Akerman from the comfort of a Ford Field luxury box. You've probably long forgotten about the do-rag-rocking Dan Cortese, but this former "MTV Sports" will be happy to refresh your memory soon after he dishes his first 'oop to Gammons. UNC dropout Chris Matthews is a perfect sixth man because knows how to play a role -- as he did during the 2008 elections in that of a staunch Obama supporter. And I think we can all agree that Rick Dees and his weekly top 40 would be a solid addition to any club.


Michigan State

Center: Chris Hansen
Power Forward: Bob Guiney
Small Forward: Anthony Heald
Shooting Guard: Sam Raimi
Point Guard: Dan Gilbert
Sixth Man: Tom Sizemore
Wild Card: James Caan

bob_guiney.jpgThose who have watched me working in the Sun-Times newsroom on Saturdays know that my TV is almost always tuned to MSNBC's weekend marathons of Chris Hansen's groundbreaking "To Catch a Predator" series. If the man can stop pedophiles from pedophiling, he can certainly stop 'Nova's Toby Keith in the paint. Former TV bachelor Bob Guiney's music career might not have taken off, but his opponents will certainly have a tough time taking off for easy jump shots against this player (or would it be 'playa'?). Character actor Anthony Heald got his comeuppance at the hands (and appetite) of Hannibal Lecter in "Silence of the Lambs," but don't underestimate his ability at power forward. Sam Raimi directed the block-busting Spider-Man films, which gives him proxy spidey-sense I'm told. This MSU dropout left college for a perfectly valid reason -- to film the cult classic "The Evil Dead," thus adding a new dimension to the 'shoot' in shooting guard. Dan Gilbert is the majority owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers. If he can run an NBA franchise, he can surely run Sparty's offense. Tom Sizemore and James Caan are also both MSU dropouts, but their collective body of work makes them graduates of life. Hang that on your wall, 'Nova!

Connecticut


Center: Tony "Candyman" Todd
Power Forward: Moby
Small Forward: Michael Bergin
Shooting Guard: Edward Moore Kennedy, Jr.
Point Guard: Sam Webb, chairman of USA Communist Party
Sixth (wo)man: Meg Ryan
Wild Card: Tansu Penbe Çiller

tony_todd.jpgTony Todd played the title role in the 1992 film "Candyman." Suffice to say he'll be dunking on you before you have a chance to say his name three times. Richard Melville Hall (a.k.a. Moby) is known for his emotive, meandering electronica tunes, but few realize he's got some moves in the low post as well. Michael Bergin is one of the first male models to achieve  'supermodel' status, and you can bet he's a slashie: model/baller. Though his looks may have faded, his fade-away jumper remains as handsome as ever. Edward Moore Kennedy Jr., son of Sen. Edward Kennedy, is a solid addition to UConn's starting lineup. The only Kennedy curse this time around will be the one he puts on the shooting ability of any player he might be guarding. If anyone is going to spread the wealth and share the rock at the point, it's going to be the American Communist Party Chairman and UConn alum Sam Webb. A couple of strong women round out the team's bench -- actress and UConn dropout Meg Ryan, whose role in "When Harry Met Sally" rivals that of Tansu Penbe Çiller's role of Turkey's first and only female prime minister. I'll have what both of them are having -- baller skillz!

Villanova

Center: Toby Keith
Power Forward: Ed Rendell
Small Forward: Tim Donaghy
Shooting Guard: Tim Hauser
Point Guard: David Rabe
Sixth Man: Don McLean
Wild Card: Maria Bello

tim_donaghy.jpgToby Keith was a defensive end for the Moore (Okla.) High School and Oklahoma City Drillers football teams. He also worked at an oil field. He didn't even need to graduate from the school for them to give him an honorary degree in ethics. Clearly the man's a hoss, and when it comes to playing center for Villanova's famous alumni basketball team, he's as good as he once was -- probably even better (and apparently quite ethical). Pennsylvania's 96th governor, Ed Rendell, suits up at power forward because, let's face it, he's a powerful man and wears nice suits. Because former NBA referee Tim Donaghy is serving 15 months for some illegal gambling, it may be tough for him to suit up at small forward for Villanova's alumni squad. But, like his UNC counterpart John Edwards, the guy's slimy, and that makes for a super-shady basketball matchup. Fans of the vocal group The Manhattan Transfer will be excited to see 'Nova alum Tim Hauser at shooting guard. He's an a capella singer, which I imagine only enhances his stock as a team player -- naturally. In addition to adapting his Tony-nominated play "Hurlyburly" into the movie of the same name, David Rabe adapted the screenplay for John Grisham's "The Firm." It only makes sense, then, that he'll be able to adapt to a 2-3 defense or a full-court press at will. Patriotic dessert enthusiast Don McLean only attended Villanova for a few months, but the "American Pie" crooner will likely have more than one hit after coming off the bench. And if Billy Crudup starts heating up for the 'Heels, it's gonna be Maria "The Cooler" Bello time. Take that, Dr. Manhattan.


So, there you have it. Everything you need to make your Final Four predictions this week. I'm sure we've left out some famous alums of these schools, so we encourage you to chide us or offer your celebrity alumni-based predictions in the handy comments section below.

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3 Comments

Tom Sizemore went to Wayne State, not Michigan State.

Kevin Replies: Sizemore spent a year at Sparty before defecting to the mighty Warriors. But I appreciate you're questioning my vast knowledge of Sizemorian trivia.

hahaha burn

Singer Jim Croce also a Villanova alum. Not sure what kind of shooter he would be from the grave.

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