AP Basketball Writer
Welcome back to BracketRacket, your one-stop shopping place for all things NCAA.
For our final Sweet 16 edition, Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim chuckles at NFL film study, author R.L. Stine marvels at the NCAA tournament's knack for mass hypnosis, Pizza Hut plans a shockingly good deal at Wichita State, a rare travel plan for the Maryland women and the tournament's interference with educating tomorrow's leaders.
BOEHEIM, THE FILM CRITIC
You know how those NFL coaches bury themselves in the film room? AP Sports Writer Joseph White reports from Washington that's just not Jim Boeheim's style.
"I'm not a big proponent of scouting, film work," the Syracuse coach said before facing fellow Big East member Marquette in a regional final. "I probably watch less film than anybody in the country. We know what we need to do. Everybody in this business knows what they need to do. It's a question of if you can execute it in the game."
That much was evident in the Orange's win against top-seeded Indiana on Thursday night. The Hoosiers just couldn't solve the Syracuse zone even though they knew what was coming.
"I always laugh at football coaches," Boeheim said. "They know every play, every position, every move that these other guys are going to make because they watch 36,000 hours of tape. Their players have no clue what they're talking about. ... I always say if the football player can do one-tenth of what those coaches know, they would be geniuses, because you can't.
"It's not what the coaches know or what you know, it's what the players know and how they execute, and sometimes it looks like we didn't coach 'em at all, you know, but we do. We do try. We do coach 'em."
Author R.L. Stine has spent two decades scaring children with his "Goosebumps" youth horror books. Stine, who went to Ohio State, is also fascinated with the way the NCAA tournament puts the nation in a trance every March.
"This is why the tournament is so brilliant, with all the brackets," Stine told AP Business Writer Christina Rexrode. "That's incredible mind control."
Stine -- his latest work, "How I Met My Monster," is out this week -- said he doesn't fill out a bracket and doesn't follow the sport much until the tournament arrives. But his wife, Jane, always does a bracket.
"She has very strange methods," Stine said. "Last year, she just picked schools that began with K, and she did great."
Evidently so, considering Kentucky beat Kansas to win the national title.
GATORS, UNDERDOGS AND (GASP!) BLUE DEVILS
Wendy Thomas is the red-headed girl featured in the name and logo for Wendy's fast food restaurants. The daughter of founder Dave Thomas is keeping a close watch on this year's round of 16.
Wendy Thomas went to Florida, but cheers for Ohio State because she lives in Columbus, Ohio. She even told Rexrode that, while she wanted the Gators to beat tournament darling Florida Gulf Coast in Friday night's South Regional, she would've been OK had the game gone the other way.
"I love underdogs," she said. "Everybody deserves a chance."
As for her late father, well, he liked one of the blue bloods.
"There was a time there -- I hate to say it -- when he did cheer a lot for Duke," she said. "But I think he did it just to make me mad."
PIZZA FOR EVERYONE? ONLY AFTER 3 MORE WINS
Three more wins by Wichita State, and it's time for an all-time college-student favorite: free pizza.
If the Shockers win the title, Pizza Hut officials have promised to feed the students in the original restaurant building on campus the Thursday after the final game.
The first Pizza Hut opened in 1958 in Wichita and the building was later moved to campus in 1986 for use by student groups. Spokesman Doug Terfehr said in an email Friday night that the chain will bring in a mobile kitchen to prepare and serve the pizzas, and open the restaurant building for students to sit and eat.
The chain would also offer a $9 pizza deal, matching the Shockers' NCAA seeding, for people who sign up online.
Any more last-second 3-pointers from Ohio State -- which has won two straight in dramatic fashion to meet the Shockers in the regional final -- and Wichita State students will be depressed AND hungry.
Over in the women's tournament, AP Basketball Writer Doug Feinberg reports, the Maryland women took a different route to get to Bridgeport, Conn., for Saturday's regional semifinal against Connecticut.