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College hoops players teach us how to tourney

  • MEMPHIS, TN - MARCH 15: Russ Smith #2 and Chris Jones #3 of the Louisville Cardinals walk towards the bench against the Connecticut Huskies during the Championship of the American Athletic Conference Tournament at FedExForum on March 15, 2014 in Memphis, Tennessee. Louisville defeated Connecticut 71-61. (Photo by Joe Murphy/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 477024465
MEMPHIS, TN - MARCH 15: Russ Smith #2 and Chris Jones #3 of the Louisville… (Joe Murphy / Getty Images )
March 19, 2014|RedEye

So, seeds don't mean anything. Of the five Chicago college basketball players RedEye leaned on for March Madness expertise, three chose No. 4 seed Louisville as their tourney favorite or their dark horse. The Big Ten gets a lot of love, too.

As the meat of the NCAA tournament gets underway Thursday, players from Chicago State, Northwestern, UIC, Loyola and DePaul give us a glimpse of who will cut down the nets in a few weeks—and why this month is so magical.

WHO'S YOUR FAVORITE TO WIN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT AND WHY?

Quinton Pippen, Chicago State senior guard: Louisville. They have the experience and I like how they play. They get after you on the defensive end and are going to have a chip on their shoulder after they thought they would be a [No.] 1 seed. They are going to come out blazing.

Tre Demps, Northwestern sophomore guard: Florida. They have experience and they are talented at every position. They are also extremely tough down the stretch of games.

Pat Birt, UIC freshman guard: Michigan State. The Spartans have a lot of experience and are very dangerous if everyone can stay healthy throughout the tournament.

Edwind McGhee, DePaul senior guard: Louisville. They are tough to defend and they have good experience on the team. Don't let the 4 seed fool you!

Joe Crisman, Loyola junior guard: Michigan. They're a very good team and a few of my friends play for them.

WHO'S YOUR DARK HORSE PICK TO WIN THE TOURNAMENT AND WHY?

Quinton Pippen, Chicago State senior guard: Cincinnati. We played them this year and they are really athletic and they shoot the ball well. Plus they're going to be focused with lots of people picking Harvard to beat them.

Tre Demps, Northwestern sophomore guard: Nebraska. They're a tough defensive team and they have two great playmakers and a great shooting big man.

Pat Birt, UIC freshman guard: Virginia. UVA has the best defense in the country hands down. They are also very balanced and have smart basketball players.

Edwind McGhee, DePaul senior guard: My dark horse pick will have to be Iowa State because they just find ways to win. And Melvin Eljim and DeAndre Kane are men!

Joe Crisman, Loyola junior guard: Dark horse would be Louisville. They got a bad seed, so they'll be fired up.

WHAT'S YOUR ALL-TIME FAVORITE MARCH MADNESS MOMENT?

Quinton Pippen, Chicago State senior guard: Mario Chalmers' shot for Kansas in 2008. I thought Memphis had it won, and then Mario hit that shot. I'll never forget that.

Tre Demps, Northwestern sophomore guard: Stephen Curry's run in the [2008] tournament at Davidson.

Pat Birt, UIC freshman guard: My all-time favorite moment was watching Florida Gulf Coast make their run last year.

Edwind McGhee, DePaul senior guard: My all-time favorite March Madness moment is beating Georgetown this year in the Big East tourney. Bubble poppers.

Joe Crisman, Loyola junior guard: Bryce Drew's 3 at the buzzer [to get Valparaiso to the second round in 1998].

WHAT'S THE BEST PART ABOUT WATCHING THE TOURNAMENT?

Quinton Pippen, Chicago State senior guard: The energy coming from the court. Even if you aren't in the arena, you can feel that energy and vibe just watching.

Tre Demps, Northwestern sophomore guard: First two rounds. Watching basketball all day is awesome.

Pat Birt, UIC freshman guard: The best part about watching all these games is you never know when an upset is going to happen.

Edwind McGhee, DePaul senior guard: The best part of watching the tournament is seeing guys play together to reach one goal.

Joe Crisman, Loyola junior guard: The competitiveness is the best part. The guys play for love and not for money.

GIVE US ONE PLAYER TO WATCH DURING THIS YEAR'S TOURNAMENT.

Quinton Pippen, Chicago State senior guard: Chris Jones, Louisville

Tre Demps, Northwestern sophomore guard: Jahii Carson of Arizona State

Pat Birt, UIC freshman guard: Duke freshman Jabari Parker

Edwind McGhee, DePaul senior guard: Doug McDermott, Creighton

Joe Crisman, Loyola junior guard: Jabari Parker. A freshman and Chicago guy. Trying to get Duke back to the Final Four.

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