When it comes to the NCAA tournament, I think of a sleeper as a team that nobody regards very highly, if at all, for much of the season, has outstanding athletes or an exceptional coach, attracts attention by stringing together victories in February and March and rides the momentum through the first couple of rounds of the tournament.
You know, teams such as Valparaiso a couple of years ago and Gonzaga last year.
A few weeks ago, the Bruins weren't even the sixth-best team in the Pacific 10. Now they're ranked as the sixth team in the Midwest Region.
Even though the name of the university tells you how seriously it takes sports, I don't see Ball State beating the Bruins in the first round.
All I know about Ball State is that David Letterman and Bonzi Wells went there. If you didn't know for sure, which name would you guess belonged to a comedian?
In the second round, the Bruins certainly are capable of upsetting Maryland.
When Lefty Driesell was the coach there, he said he wanted to turn Maryland into the UCLA of the East. Lefty is long gone, but Gary Williams appears to have succeeded. The Terrapins have terrifically talented players who consistently disappoint with their inconsistency.
Sweet 16: Michigan State, Kentucky, UCLA, Iowa State. Winner: Iowa State.
If the Bruins advance to the Sweet 16, it will be the third time in Steve Lavin's four seasons as coach. . . .
If you didn't know better, you might think he was doing something right. . . .
Lorenzo Romar, another former Jim Harrick assistant in Westwood, has his team, Saint Louis, in the tournament. . . .
Harrick? His Georgia Bulldogs finished 10-20, the worst record in the Southeastern Conference. . . .
Upset: Creighton over Auburn.
Impact player: Marcus Fizer, Iowa State.
Sweet 16: Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma, St. John's. Winner: St. John's.
Arizona and Stanford were seeded No. 1. But considering that Arizona was allowed to remain closer to home in the West and Stanford went South, CBS's Billy Packer, incisive as always, speculated that the NCAA tournament committee must have liked the Wildcats better than the Cardinal. . . .
You think? Maybe the committee took into consideration that Arizona won the Pac-10 and beat Stanford twice. . . .
Arizona should hope that Texas beats Louisiana State in a second-round game. The Wildcats beat Texas in Austin by seven points and lost to the Tigers in Baton Rouge by 26. . . .
Upset: Gonzaga can't sneak up on anyone, having taught college basketball fans how to pronounce the name (gone-ZAG-uh) by advancing to the Sweet 16 last year, but will beat Louisville in the first round, anyway. . . .
Impact player: Bootsy Thornton, St. John's.
Sweet 16: Duke, Illinois, Oklahoma State, Temple. Winner: Oklahoma State.
The Blue Devils have the smoothest trip among No. 1-seeded teams to the Elite Eight, then run into Eddie Sutton. . . .
Penn needs the other Michael Jordan. . . .
Romar has two teams in the tournament. Eleven lettermen remain from the Pepperdine squad he coached last season. . . .
The tournament committee could have sent Pepperdine Coach Jan van Breda Kolff to the first round in Nashville, where he was unceremoniously fired last year as Vanderbilt's coach. But the NCAA has no sense of humor. . . .
I guess you knew that. . . .
Upset: Pepperdine over Bobby Knight and Indiana. Wishful thinking.
Impact player: Desmond Mason, Oklahoma State.
Sweet 16: Stanford, Connecticut, Arkansas, Tulsa. Winner: Stanford.
Cincinnati is overrated. Seedings are based on the strength of the teams as of Sunday. Not a week ago Sunday. Or a year ago Sunday. . . .
Now that that's perfectly clear, North Carolina appears to received a lifetime achievement award. . . .
No way Arkansas is a No. 11. Maybe the tournament committee didn't have a television this weekend. . . .
Not that anyone in Cincinnati besides Bob Huggins will be arguing this point on the day of the championship game, April 3. That's also the day Ken Griffey Jr., takes his first official cuts for the Reds.
Upset: Arkansas over Miami, Fla.
Impact player: Casey Jacobsen, Stanford.
Randy Harvey can be reached at his e-mail address: email@example.com.