AP Basketball Writer
Welcome back to BracketRacket, the one-stop shopping place for all your NCAA needs.
Today's edition includes the sting of being rejected by famous people, an underdog on underdogs, Kevin Ware's popularity on Facebook and the actual location of next year's Final Four. That and some Bracket Bits that includes Tom Izzo and 2 Chains -- together, of course.
THE STING OF REJECTION
In our continuing quest to serve readers, we've chased down scions of entertainment, politics and business to talk college hoops.
The Rock? He was cheering for alma mater Miami, of course. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell? He went to Louisville but -- ever the diplomat -- declined to trash talk the rivals. Scott Flanders, the guy who runs Playboy? He was arranging his basketball watching around a masquerade party at the mansion.
But like a defending national champion that doesn't make the tournament (sorry, Kentucky), we too know the sting of rejection, getting a string of them.
Here's a few of the no-thank-yous from AP Business Writer Christina Rexrode:
James Earl Jones (Michigan) was in Australia touring with "Driving Miss Daisy," and only wanted to talk about the show. Will Ferrell was busy filming "Anchorman 2" -- but he went to USC and they didn't even make the tourney, so who cares? Elizabeth Dole, the former North Carolina senator and Duke alum, had just broken her foot (OK, that one seems reasonable).
Blue Devil Ron Paul was traveling. So was Gator Bob Vila, Jayhawk Sheila Bair, and Jayhawk/Quantum Leaper Scott Bakula. Personal finance guru Suze Orman (Illinois), "Fight Club" author Chuck Palahniuk (Oregon), screenwriter Aaron Sorkin (Syracuse) and actor Paul Rudd (Kansas) were just plain "unavailable."
Donald Trump was too busy, but sent his regards. "Mr. Trump would, however, like to thank you for thinking of him and sends his best wishes to you and your team for a successful story!" his office wrote.
Others just weren't into it. "So sorry, but it's not Madonna's thing," said the spokeswoman for the former Michigan undergrad.
"Bob actually is not much of a sports fan," said the spokesman for Bob Benmosche, the guy in charge of righting the wrong that was AIG.
"After more thought, he decided to opt out," said the rep for Jim Koch, a Harvard alum and founder of the company that gave us Sam Adams beer. (It was a decision he reached shortly after the Crimson got crushed by Arizona.)
After all that rejection, we're beginning to get the feeling that it's us.
AN UNDERDOG ON UNDERDOGS
Wichita State's run to the Final Four has started up discussions about underdogs.
Well, if you're going to talk about underdogs, might as well start with the Villanova team that shocked college basketball by knocking off powerful Georgetown in the 1985 title game.
AP Sports Writer Dan Gelston recently caught up with one of those Wildcats, 7-foot-1 center Chuck Everson, and here's what he had to say about the Shockers:
"Any time you get an 8 or 9 seed, there are comparisons to us," said Everson, who works as a liaison for Sunoco on Long Island. "They kind of came out of nowhere, too. They weren't ranked just like we weren't ranked. Nobody knew who they were until the Final Four. I'm sure they ruined a bunch of brackets just like we did back then."
Of course, even a player from one of college basketball's most famous underdogs is a realist.
Wichita State has to play Louisville, the NCAA tournament's top-seeded team and a group that has rallied around fallen teammate Kevin Ware.
"I think they're going to run into a juggernaut," Everson said. "After what happened the other day to that kid Ware, I think Louisville's on a mission right now. I don't know how I like their chances against Louisville. But you never know, as I can attest to firsthand."
In case you've forgotten about the upset -- or weren't even born then -- here's the finish: http://bit.ly/16eQfOE
FACEBOOK STATS POINT TO WARE
Everybody is talking about Kevin Ware, and Facebook has the stats to prove it, according to AP National Writer and hoops expert Nancy Armour.
Mentions of the Louisville guard on Facebook skyrocketed 3.7 million percent (you need a NASA calculator to figure that, right?) after he broke his lower right leg in gruesome fashion during Sunday's Midwest Regional final against Duke.
That made him -- not Trey Burke, not Seth Curry, not one of the players from Dunk City -- the most talked about player for all of March Madness, according to Facebook statistics (www.facebook.com/sports ).