Sports Extra

Article excerpt

Byline: Francine King, The Times-Union

2CENTS

Ask any college basketball junkie -- or even a casual fan -- what his favorite month is and you'll get a single answer:

March.

Well, folks, it's finally here.

March Madness officially began Sunday night with the announcement of the NCAA Tournament bracket.

The politics are over.

Gone are the polls, computers and that dirty, three-letter acronym -- B-C-S.

Thursday it will be down to 64 teams with one goal and six chances to decide their own fate.

No campaigning. Everything's decided on the court. And every team knows: lose one and they're done.

And that's how it should be.

Come April 5 there will be no doubt which is the best team in Division I, because that team will have an undeniable win streak that proves it has earned the title:

2005 NCAA champion.

CAJUNS AND GOPHERS AND GAELS, OH MY

MY FAVORITE MASCOT

These are our five favorite mascots represented in the NCAA Tournament:

MASCOT***SCHOOL

1. Ragin' Cajuns***Louisiana-Lafayette

2. Golden Gophers***Minnesota

3. …