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VOL. 129 | NO. 55 | Thursday, March 20, 2014

Grizz Players Also Have March Madness

By Don Wade

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Point guard Mike Conley played in an NCAA title game with Ohio State. Mike Miller did the same with Florida.

Mike Conley played in an NCAA title game with Ohio State. He’ll be rooting for the 6 seed Buckeyes this weekend. 

(Daily News File/Andrew J. Breig)

Zach Randolph reached the Final Four playing for Tom Izzo at Michigan State. And Tony Allen did the same playing for Eddie Sutton at Oklahoma State.

Jon Leuer only got as far as the Sweet 16 at Wisconsin, but today that sounds like a pretty dreamy destination for Memphis Tigers fans.

Yes, the Memphis Grizzlies are focused on the business at hand: reaching the NBA Playoffs and with as high a seed as possible. But they are infected by March Madness like everybody else.

Miller – perhaps feeling extra giddy because when the Grizzlies go to Miami Friday, March 21, he’ll receive his second NBA Championship ring from his time with the Heat – suggested that if everyone wanted to save three weeks, the Gators could just cut down the nets now.

Which explains why when Conley was asked which Grizzly is most obnoxious about his alma mater, he said: “Mike Miller, for sure.”

Nobody’s team has a No. 1 seed this year – Tayshaun Prince’s Kentucky Wildcats are a mere 8 and Allen’s Cowboys are a 9 – but Leuer’s Badgers are a 2 seed. Not that this has earned him any grace.

“Zach talked some smack right after that loss we took to Michigan State,” Leuer said. “We always have that competitive edge with our (schools).”

Conley’s Buckeyes are only a 6 seed, so while he’s pledging loyalty, he is also saying, “I have to be realistic.”

When it comes to filling out brackets, Miller says his teammates can play it one of two ways.

“We’ll see who picks with their heart and who picks with their brain,” he said.

Randolph believes his team has the Izzo advantage.

“Coach is one of the greatest at preparing, helping you get ready for that big stage,” Randolph said. “I don’t see nobody better than him.”

And the tournament’s just getting started. Imagine how much fun is yet to come.

“There’s going to be a lot of trash talk the next week or so,” Conley said.

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