Derek Carr going with an All-Central Valley of California battle for the NCAA Men’s Basketball championship

Photo Credit: Ed Szczepanski/USA TODAY Sports

Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr is staying true to his Central Valley of California roots, proven by his bold pick for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament championship game.

The Pro Bowler took to Twitter on March 13 immediately following the NCAA March Madness Selection Show to declare this daring prediction:

“I have Cal State Bakersfield and Fresno State in the final game.”

While many people filling out a bracket will look at Carr’s prediction as a head-scratcher, his declaration shouldn’t come as a surprise. After all, Carr and his family were raised in the Valley and have that “Valley Pride.”

Carr played his senior year of high school football at Bakersfield Christian, which is located eight minutes away from CSU Bakersfield when traveling on the Stockdale Highway. He later continued his football career two hours up north, where he wore the green “V” in the back of his helmet and shattered school records at Fresno State, winning the outright Mountain West Conference title in his final season with the Bulldogs in 2013. Before starring at BCHS and Fresno State, he grew up near Stockdale High School in Bakersfield, where his older brother David carved his legacy before joining Fresno State.

His two favorites for the national title do face a tall order, though. Both the Bulldogs – seeded at No. 14 in the Midwest regional – and the Roadrunners – sitting at the No. 15 seed in the West bracket – are opening the tourney against nationally ranked Utah and Oklahoma on Thursday and Friday, respectively.

Still, Carr proved his loyalty to the 559 and 661, in the form of 140 characters and emoji’s.

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Lorenzo Reyna

Lorenzo Reyna hails from the California's Central Coast, but has a bevy of experience with covering some fast-rising athletes from all over the Golden State. He's a former sports editor for The Reedley Exponent newspaper. His other credits include and


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