Looking at the hoops bracket – Royals style
There are multiple ways to fill out a basketball bracket and if you’re looking for help…well…your guess is as good as ours. We’re here to have some fun with Royals trivia and connections to this year’s tournament.
First, three questions.
1. Which local school, in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament for the first time since 1998, is the alma mater of a current Royals player?
The answer is Nebraska, represented by left fielder Alex Gordon. (Catcher Adam Moore also redshirted at Nebraska before transferring).
We move to the free throw line:
2. This 2014 tournament entry’s baseball alums include former Royals pitcher Floyd Bannister and Royals Hall of Fame lefty Larry Gura (pictured, with a Hall of Fame third baseman in the background).
The correct answer is Arizona State. Bannister earned National Player of the Year honors with the Sun Devils in 1976 and Gura was on ASU’s College World Series Championship teams of 1967 & 1969.
Can you make the three pointer?
3. Name the current Royals player who attended two entrants in the 2014 basketball tournament.
If you guessed Jeremy Guthrie, then you really know the 2014 Royals. The righty attended BYU for one year, went on a church mission, then completed his college career at Stanford. Jeremy is also an Oregon native and a fan of the University of Oregon Ducks, who play BYU in the Round of 64 opponent is BYU. It will be interesting to see who Jeremy pulls for in this game!
We move on to our affiliates. KC’s minor league cities are well represented in the tournament – three times! And all three universities have a relation to blue.
Omaha, Neb., home of the Triple-A Storm Chasers, is also home to Creighton University Bluejays, the third seed in the West Region.
Wilmington, Del., home of the High-A Blue Rocks, is a short drive from Newark, home of the South Regional #13 seed University of Delaware Blue Hens. Blue is big in Delaware and that’s just fine with us!
Speaking of ‘Big Blue’ – Lexington, Ky., is Kansas City’s newest affiliate. The Legends of the South Atlantic League represent the same city as the University of Kentucky, which has played in 15 Final Fours. The blue variety Wildcats will battle our ‘Little Apple’ neighbors, the purple variety Wildcats of Kansas State.
Former affiliate hometowns are also well represented. Close to home is Wichita (Wichita State), where future Royals were once Wranglers; Memphis (University of Memphis), where Bo Jackson was a Chick; the gem that is Mike Sweeney was once an Emerald in Eugene, Ore. (University of Oregon); and Spokane, Wash. (Gonzaga) where Carlos Beltran hit his first professional home run with the Royals as an Indian. Additionally, the Royals once had an affiliate in Lansing, Mich., just down the street from East Lansing (Michigan State), which made several future Royals also former Lansing Lugnuts.
Good luck with that bracket! And if you don’t take home first place, hopefully you learned a Royal connection!