It’s a busy Monday after a busy weekend, with both the B’s and C’s splitting two, but the big talk today will be a dissection of the NCAA Tournament as pools around the country open for business. Let’s see what the experts say.

Jerry Spar is cutting out all the top-seed and which-bubble-got-screwed? debate, as he’s lined up the national championship game already. Rivals.com’s Steve Megargee has the Big East, ACC, and Big 10 in vogue and a distinct dissing of the SEC. Bob Ryan loves the subjectivity and promise of fulfilled dreams offered by the Tournament.

Mike Anthony has coach Jim Calhoun and the UConn Huskies grateful for holding a top seed despite disappointing closeouts to the Big East regular season and tournament. Neill Ostrout has Calhoun neverminding a trip west, which has opened two past Huskies’ national championship runs. Bob Clancy has the Huskies as no stranger to a top-seed. Dave Solomon says this Huskies team has yet to write its legacy. Kevin Powtak has the BC Eagles’ roller coaster season getting new life, as they draw a seventh seed and USC in Minneapolis on Friday. Julien Benbow has it all business on The Heights when Al Skinner & Co. got their matchup against the red hot Trojans.

Boston Herald staffers have the full rundown of New England invitees to the smaller dances. Bill Reynolds has PC coach Keno Davis with Sunday optimism at 6 PM, but getting some new reality at 9 PM, as both the Friars and URI Rams go to the NIT. Paul Kenyon has Rhody coach Jim Baron disappointed to be traveling in the first round.

Wherever they may be, find out how David Scott and G.P. Giglio rank your teams. Adam Smartschan joins his other Metro counterparts in assessing this year’s field, and even offers some advice for filling out your brackets.

Celtics

Staying with b-ball, the Celtics lost ugly in Milwaukee yesterday, 86-77. Steve Bulpett says there’s no excuse for 25 turnovers in this one. The Boston Metro gives us three unpleasantries from yesterday’s game serving to remind us that last year is over. Marc J. Spears puts yesterday’s stinker at the top of this year’s lowlights.

Bulpett’s Celtics Notebook gives KG and Big Baby both a 50% chance of playing before week’s end. Spears’ Celtics Notebook has Doc less than thrilled about returning Garnett and Davis after a non-practice day.

Bruins

It was a third period meltdown at the Mellon yesterday, as Tim Thomas and the Bruins surrendered four goals in a 6-4 setback in Pittsburgh. Steve Conroy cautions against figuring the Penguins – or any team for that matter – to be a first-round pushover for the B’s. Kevin Paul Dupont says Black & Gold inefficiencies make for a bad postseason prognosis. Conroy’s Bruins Notebook has Blake Wheeler’s penalty bringing on the third period downfall, while Dupont’s Bruins Notebook has defensemen Dennis Wideman and Zdeno Chara contributing to the loss with minus-3 performances.

Kevin Paul Dupont has collectively-bargained givebacks putting some green back in Jeremy Jacobs’ pocket, while players essentially work a month for free.

Red Sox

Let’s start on a positive note. Maureen Mullen brings us more on Jon Lester becoming the third home-growner to sign a long-term extension this winter.

Now, some serious notes. After two weekend injuries threatened to wipe out the middle of the starting infield, Adam Kilgore says the news isn’t so bad after all. Michael Silverman says it’s just past Opening Day for Julio Lugo and only two or three days for Dustin Pedroia, who sustained a sore abdominal at the WBC. Joe Haggerty has Lugo’s injury sealing the job for Jed Lowrie at short.

As for Pedroia’s WBC vacancy, Sean McAdam has Brian Roberts filling in nicely. But McAdam’s World Baseball Classic Notebook has Pedroia being missed off the field.

Nick Carfardo reports that, with no defined market, talks between the Sox and Jason Bay have broken off. Silverman’s Red Sox Notebook says Bay’s timing is terrible as he approaches his first free-agent experience at the end of this season.

Odds & Sods

John Tomase has more on the acquisition of Joey Galloway to compete for the Number 3 wide-out, and the re-signing of DL Mike Wright. However, Scott Benson is still up in the air concerning Jabar Gaffney’s replacement even after the Galloway signing.

In his NFL free agency roundup, Chris Gasper likes the Patriots with their low-cost, high-upside approach.

Mark Blaudschun has BU AD Mike Lynch looking for his next men’s basketball coach and drops the name of one part-time Celtics analyst in the process.

Have a pleasant start to the week, and good luck with your NCAA brackets. I’ll be back again with my regular klogging links on Thursday afternoon.

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