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Indirect insights offered

By GREG AUMAN, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published March 23, 2003

You're looking for that last bit of karma entering today's games, that morsel of luck that might carry your team to the Sweet 16. We're here for you.

Typing a player or coach's name into a search engine and measuring popularity is far too practical a way to divine today's results. For something this scientific, we opt to type in a name, followed by .com, then pass along what shows up and how it might signal success or doom in today's second-round games.

We should point out, however, just because a site exists, that isn't always a good thing. Tampabasketball.com exists "to help you find Tampa, Florida, basketball news." But Saturday that did not include the NCAA Tournament. It's one of dozens of sites registered by the Boca Raton-based basketballadvertising.com, and before you get excited about Tampa's emergence as a basketball mecca, check out uticabasketball.com and binghamtonbasketball.com.

That said, here is a trip through some of the big names on our subregion's remaining teams, offering insights, however indirect they may seem ...

Mattbonner.com: No basketball here, but home to another talent with range -- a Dublin-based singer who "amalgamates genres of jazz, alt-rock and hip-hop." Karma? The guy is 6-foot-1, but his new CD is (gulp) called Signs of Passing.

Davidlee.com: Alas, this is not for the Gators star but rather blue-eyed country singer David Lee Murphy. Karma? One CD is titled Out with a Bang, possibly auguring a Final Four run or an early exit to the NBA, while another track is titled The Road You Leave Behind.

Tomizzo.com: Not a home run, but the site sharing a name with the Michigan State coach makes contact, redirecting you to cityoflansing.com. Karma? The site's basketball link goes to a blank page, and the quote of the day, perhaps reflecting on the Spartans' 2000 NCAA title, is from Marie Antoinette: "There is nothing new except what has been forgotten."

Billydonovan.com: Worse than a musician's site, this comes up in Kentucky Wildcat blue, titled "The Kentucky Page!" Karma? It's not pirated by the Gators' SEC rivals, but a computer company. But it's never good to have a link to the LaRue County Solid Waste and Recycling home page.

Joshhoward.com: This actually is devoted to the Wake Forest star, with pics and links to praise from Dick Vitale and others. Karma? It's not fresh, urging fans to "get ready for the 2002-03 season." Still, bonus points for acknowledging the player in question.

THE OTHER 64: All the major sports sites have blown out their NCAA men's coverage, but Saturday's opening of the women's tournament brought different perspectives as to how much attention it deserves.

ESPN.com went all out with a bracket contest, analysis from Nancy Leiberman, who questioned Miami's inclusion as an 18-12 at-large team, and WNBA stars Sue Bird and Swin Cash, who chose their alma mater UConn as the team to beat.

NCAAsports.com, the tournaments' official site, has played up the excitement of the men's games, but its main women's headline read: "The Division I Women's Basketball Tourmanent (sic) is Under Way."

SI.com has token coverage, with a large chunk of the main women's NCAA page taken up by a showy ad of a swimsuit model hawking magazine subscriptions. AOL Sports invited fans to follow "every game of the NCAA Tournament," but the link went to men's scores.

-- If you have a question or comment about the Internet or a site to suggest, e-mail staff writer Greg Auman at auman@sptimes.com .

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