NCAA tourney distracts students

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    By Suzanne Briggs

    With war raging in the Middle East, basketball was a welcome escape for students Thursday.

    Students gathered in the Wilkinson Student Center to watch the first day of the NCAA college basketball tournament. BYU played the University of Connecticut in the first round of the tournament, and students congregated around the big screen television set up in the center of the WSC Terrace to cheer on their school.

    “I skipped all my classes today to watch all the games for the NCAA tournament,” said Richard Hyde, 18, a freshman, open major, from Palo Alto, Calif. “I haven”t done anything school-related today. If there”s a game on, then that has priority over school.”

    One student left work early to do an assignment for a statistics class but stopped in the Wilkinson Center to watch the game.

    “I couldn”t help stopping to see the game,” said Justin Vance, 22, junior from Placerville, Calif., majoring in international studies.

    Students were so distracted with the BYU game they were oblivious to most anything else.

    “I should be writing a paper right now for class, but I wanted to watch the game,” said Kim Walden, 20, a junior from Glen Allen, Va., majoring in marriage, family and human development. “I am anticipating BYU to win, and so I am glued to the TV screen.”

    One student felt the game took people”s mind off the war going in Iraq.

    “There is a war going on, but everybody is more concerned with the basketball game because that is more positive,” said James Senior, 26, a senior from San Jose, Calif., majoring in sociology.

    A calculus lab on campus even got out of class early so the students could watch the game.

    “Everyone in the class did not want to do work, and even the teacher assistant wanted to leave because his wife was taping the game for him,” said Justin Jones, 22, a sophomore from Pittsburgh, Penn., majoring in chemical engineering.

    Troy Gulbrandsen was exhausted from watching the news about the war last night but still wanted to the watch the game.

    “I stayed up until 4:30 a.m. watching war stuff and was late to class today,” said Gulbrandsen. “Now I am watching the game and have not done anything today.”

    Lesley Carlile would normally be studying for school during this time but felt she should make exception.

    “I watched the first half of the game on campus and then ran home to catch the second half of the game,” said Carlile, 21, a junior from Albany, Ore., majoring in advertising. “It is hard to concentrate on school with the war and basketball game going on.”

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