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Three Teams That Could Be This Year's George Mason

There's somebody like him in every workplace.

The know-it-all who just has to show how smart he is about the NCAA men's basketball tournament.

So, if you're like us and don't have a lot of time to pay attention to March Madness, might we suggest a proactive approach now that the field is down to the "Sweet 16?"

Pick one of these teams — North Carolina State, Ohio or Xavier.

Then say to Mr. Hoops Head something like this: "I think this year's George Mason is ... (insert one of those three teams)." And if you need help with the reference to George Mason, it was a No. 11 seed in the 2006 tournament that no one expected to go far. The Patriots made it all the way to the Final Four.

If you pick Ohio (a No. 13 seed) and need a little supporting evidence, perhaps checking out Mike Pesca's story about the team on today's Morning Edition will help. Here are some lines paraphrasing Mike, that you could use:

"Before the Bobcats overcame South Florida to earn a spot in the Sweet 16, the team was best known as being the nation's No. 1 party school. But the players are all business. Facing the North Carolina Tar Heels in the next game will be no party, and the Ohio team is fine with that."

Prefer Xavier (a No. 10 seed)? Maybe you could say the Musketeers have something to prove after losing the Atlantic 10 championship to St. Bonaventure (which, by the way, almost pulled an upset of its own in the first round, but lost to Florida State 66-63).

As for North Carolina State (a No. 11 seed), just say something like "the Wolfpack are hot and know what tough competition is like since they come from the ACC."

Then avoid further discussion by "remembering" a meeting you're supposed to be at.

Meanwhile, as Hoops Head undoubtedly knows and can discuss at length, all four No. 1 seeds from the tournament's regions have advanced.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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