SI NCAA Tournament Preview Features Indiana’s Victor Oladipo, Kansas’ Ben McLemore, Gonzaga’s Kelly Olynyk and Syracuse’s Michael Carter-Williams on Four Regional Covers

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Sports Illustrated predicts that Louisville will cut down the nets as the NCAA basketball champion in the March 25, 2013 issue of SI, on newsstands Wednesday. In her bracket in this week’s SI NCAA Tournament Preview, senior writer Kelli Anderson says that Miami, Gonzaga and Georgetown will join the Cardinals in the Final Four, with Louisville defeating Miami for the title.

Anderson writes: “It’s true: Defense wins championships. The Cards’ path hasn’t been easy, but guard Peyton Siva & Co. make it look like so much fun.” (PAGE 36)

As part of the SI NCAA tournament preview, senior writer Tim Layden profiles Indiana’s Victor Oladipo, who is featured on one of four regional SI covers this week. Kansas’ Ben McLemore, Gonzaga’s Kelly Olynyk and Syracuse’s Michael Carter-Williams are featured on the three additional regional 13COVv8_KAN_Promocovers. This marks the 16th time Indiana and Kansas have been featured on an SI cover, the seventh time for Syracuse and fifth for Gonzaga.

In his profile, Layden describes how Oladipo’s journey from overlooked recruit to one of the best players in the country could be due in part to his odd relationship with his father Chris. Layden writes:

“The effect of this father-son relationship is impossible to fully know. He is very close to his mother and three sisters, all of whom text him constantly. He has improved dramatically as a player, and some suggest that this is partly because of his odd relationship with his father.” (PAGE 46)

13COVv8_GON_PromoChris Oladipo, who is from the African nation of Sierra Leone and met his wife Joan in Nigeria before moving to the United States, tells Layden in an exclusive interview that he has in fact seen his son play a few games and that his style of parenting simply differs from most Americans. He says, “I believe what the father should be is an anchor, to keep the ship from running away. He should be a stabilizing influence in the child’s life.” (PAGE 44)

Victor denies that his father has ever seen him play, but says he loves him and understands that he instilled a tough love culture in the Oladipo household.  His mother Joan, who did attend most of Victor’s games, tells Layden: “I know Victor really missed that his father wasn’t at the games.” (PAGE 44)

13COVv16_SYR_PromoNo matter what has led to Oladipo’s meteoric rise, an NBA scout tells Layden:

“Here’s a guy who was just barely on [the NBA’s] radar at the start of the year, probably not even in the top 100 in the country. Now he’s probably going to go in the lottery. It’s very unusual to make a climb like that in one year.” (PAGE 40)


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