Our third annual March Madness tournament kicks off with a pair of matchups featuring a hot Ragin’ Cajun, a venerable spokeswoman for the arts, the second-most prolific passer in NFL history, and a Basketball Hall-of-Famer with arguably the smoothest nickname in the history of the sport.
FOXES: Ali Landry (1) vs. Kitty Carlisle (16)
ULL alum, Breaux Bridge native, and No. 1 seed Ali Landry is the most recent of two former Miss USAs from Louisiana in this year’s tournament. Landry won the crown in 1996. Two years later, People magazine named her one of the 50 most beautiful people in the world. Also in 1998, millions of people saw Landry star in a Super Bowl commercial in which she made Doritos seem downright sexy.
Landry’s opponent was born in New Orleans in 1910, educated in Europe, and is best known for being a regular panelist on the TV show To Tell the Truth. A lifelong champion of the arts, No. 16 seed Kitty Carlisle served 20 years on the New York State Council on the Arts, received the National Medal of Arts from President George H.W. Bush in 1991, and was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 1999. Despite a rich career as an actress on stage and screen, as well as an opera singer, Carlisle became a household name by regularly appearing on game shows like What’s My Line, Password, and Match Game, where even in her 60s and 70s, Miss Kitty still had it going on.
JOCKS(es): Peyton Manning (1) vs. Clyde Drexler (16)
Despite his penchant for famously yelling “Omaha,” No. 1 seed Peyton Manning was born and raised in New Orleans and is the best athlete to come from Archie Manning’s loins (sorry, Cooper and Eli). The number of records he’s broken as an NFL quarterback are far too numerous to list here, and he’ll undoubtedly break many more, including the record for most career passing yards. He’s just over 2,000 yards away from Brett Favre’s benchmark of 71,838. Oh, and did we mention he was pretty good as a host on Saturday Night Live?
Manning is facing off against a fellow Big Easy native, No. 16 seed and 10-time NBA All-Star Clyde “The Glide” Drexler. Named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History, Drexler won an Olympic gold medal as part of the “Dream Team” in 1992 and an NBA Championship in 1995 with the Houston Rockets, and his No. 22 jersey was retired by both the Rockets and the Portland Trail Blazers. While he never hosted SNL, Drexler did make a guest appearance on Married … With Children.
Ready. Set. VOTE! (Polls close nightly at 10 p.m. CDT.)
FYI: If you’re trying to figure out our brotastic competition, here’s an explanation.