Written by Joe Reedy
After hearing the theme song he composed for the Big East - Last One Standing - played after UConn beat Louisville in the conference tournament final last Saturday, singer-songwriter Nick Lachey is ready for March Madness. One of Cincinnati's more famous sports fans gave his Final Four predictions, projected how UC and Xavier would fare and talked about the Bengals and Reds during a phone interview this week.
Now that you've filled out your bracket, whom do you have for your Final Four?
Ohio State, Kansas, Kansas State and UConn. I've got the Jayhawks winning it all. I saw President Obama picked the same winner (Wednesday) night (laughing) . . . I know (UConn's) a stretch because whoever comes out of the Big East Tournament as the winner usually does not do well, but I'm making a leap of faith.
How far do UC and Xavier go?
I've got UC going into the second round and Xavier losing in the first. (UC coach) Mick (Cronin) has done a great job, withstood the criticism and has seen his players develop. I'm very happy for him and to see the Bearcats relevant again nationally.
You've been pretty vocal nationally with your frustration over the Bengals.
I think I represent the majority of Bengals fans when I admit that. It's been a tough tenure. It's at the point of being ridiculous. It's tough to support a team when there doesn't seem to be a commitment to winning. You would love to think at points that we turned the corner and have a competitive team, and it didn't work out that way.
Say you're the general manager and have the fourth pick in the draft. Whom would you take?
It's a tough question for obvious reasons with the lockout and Carson's trade demands. What kind of compensation can you get for him? I'm a much bigger supporter of going after a young veteran quarterback like Kevin Kolb and taking (Georgia wide receiver) A.J. Green. The receiving situation needs attention. I would be shocked if they bring Chad (Ochocinco) back. It would be nice to see a stud No. 1 receiver come in and develop and if a trade doesn't work out at quarterback see if you can take someone if they fall into the second or third round.
Thoughts on the Reds and can they repeat this year?
To me, the Reds are the exact opposite of the Bengals. The Castellinis have done a good job turning them around, and they can be competitive year in and year out. I wish that the Bengals would take on a similar mentality. All the pieces with the Reds are there. They're hungry, the attitude is great and Scott Rolen was a huge piece of the puzzle because his leadership has been invaluable.