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March Madness picks a hot topic


Defensive end Tim Bulman has high hopes for his Boston College Eagles, who he picked to advance to the Sweet 16 in the Men's NCAA Basketball Tournament.

Texans players are not immune to March Madness, the annual craze that is the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. Four players shared with's Nick Scurfield a peak at their brackets and discussed why their respective alma maters might have what it takes to win it all – or at least win a game or two more than conventional wisdom might suggest.

DE Tim Bulman Alma mater:Boston College (No. 7 seed, Midwest region)

Did you fill out a bracket?I did fill out a friendly bracket with some of the guys. Me and Biscuit (Mike Brisiel) and Anthony Weaver, we did one as buddies.

Who do you have in the Final Four?My final four is Louisville, Duke, Oklahoma and Memphis. I stuck to the top tier. Memphis is my pick to win it all. I love (Memphis coach John) Calipari.

Any sleepers in your bracket?I've got BC going two games deep. My biggest sleeper teams, I've got Purdue going to the Sweet 16 –Purdue and BC – and I've got Gonzaga going to the Elite Eight.

As a USC grad, I don't see BC making it past the first round. But what do you like about them?Well, first, BC will not lose to USC because we have a group of hard-working, skilled team players as opposed to the movie stars that USC employs in their college, one of those being (USC guard) Lil' Romeo, who I think is doing the halftime show at the game. So, I don't know, I think that USC's too caught up in the limelight and they want to be signed to Master P's label.

So what do you like about BC?They've been able to beat some big-name teams. They beat, I think, two teams when they were No. 1, but the problem is that they've lost to teams like Harvard. But they played Duke really well the other night in the ACC Tournament. So I know that they can play the games with the big teams, it's just a matter if they can win the games that they should win, and USC is one of those kind of games. Hopefully, they get that done.

DT Travis Johnson Alma mater:Florida State, (No. 5 seed, East)

Did you fill out a bracket?Yeah, I just filled out one just for fun this year. I've got Florida State going to the Sweet 16 for the first time since '93 when we had Charlie Ward, Sam Cassell, Bobby Sura and those guys. I think it's going to be an exciting year for us.

What makes Florida State tough?We've got range, man. We've got a couple of guys who are about 6-11, then we've got Toney Douglas out there at guard. He's got a great jumper; hits buckets every time he shoots. Really, we've got our best team we've had in a long time. They're long, they're rangy, they play good defense, and as long as we can get Douglas moving that rock, I think we'll be good. And we've got to keep feeding our big men. If we do, we'll be dangerous all throughout the tournament. We might even go past the Sweet 16 and get an Elite Eight berth.

Who's in your Final Four?UNC, UConn, Pitt and Memphis. I've got Memphis winning it all.

DT Frank Okam Alma mater:Texas (No. 7 seed, East)

Did you fill out a bracket?I've seen them on TV. I don't have one online or printed out or anything like that.

Do you follow the tournament closely?I do. I've been watching it all day (Thursday). I've obviously got my eye on the Longhorns to see how they do. Me and (guard/forward) Damion (James), (guard) A.J. (Abrams) and (center) Dexter (Pittman), some of the older guys, are pretty cool. I think I'm going to pick them to upset Duke in the second round.

How far do you think the Longhorns can go?I think they can make it to the Sweet 16. Not sure what they can really do after that – just depends on what their matchup is and depends on how they're shooting. I've been watching them all season, and some of the other guys like (forward/center) Conor Atchley and (guard) Justin Mason, whether or not those guys step up can determine how far they can go, I think.

Who do you think is going to win it all?Oh, man. Everyone's picking Louisville. I don't want to jump on the bandwagon. They are looking pretty solid. But Memphis had a guy today that was 10 of 15 on three pointers. If that guy can continue to stick those shots consistently, they're going to be tough to beat.

QB Dan Orlovsky Alma mater:Connecticut (No. 1 seed, West)

Did you fill out a bracket? Who's in your Final Four?I did fill out a bracket. I have UConn, Louisville, Pittsburgh and Arizona State in the Final Four.

Why Arizona State, a 6-seed?I just think the Pac-10's a good conference. I like (guard James) Harden, the lefty. I think he's the key for them. I don't think (No. 1 seed North) Carolina's that strong – nothing against Carolina. The 2-seed is, who, Oklahoma? I just don't think Oklahoma is great. If (forward) Blake Griffin is off or anything like that, they don't have enough reinforcements. So I like Arizona State as kind of a Cinderella.

Who did you pick to win it all?Come on. UConn! I've got UConn winning it all. I've got to stay true to my alma mater.

What gives UConn a chance to go all the way?What makes them tough this year is they have the inside-outside combo. That's what a lot of teams look for. (Center) Hasheem Thabeet, just his presence alone is difficult to overcome, and obviously he's getting better and better. (Guard) A.J. Price is the outside guy. You know, I think (forward) Stanley Robinson will be their X-factor. They miss (guard) Jerome Dyson, who's hurt, so Robinson can give them that 15-18 foot jump shot. He's got the potential to take them to the elite level and to be in the Final Four with a chance to win it, so I think a lot rides on his shoulders. He's a big part of the puzzle.

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