Posted on Mar 20, 2013 in Alumni News
Dr. T.J. Pugh has already made one NCAA Tournament diagnosis that’s proven correct: Watch out for St. Mary’s.
Pugh, c’99, a popular forward on KU men’s basketball’s powerhouse teams of the late-1990s and now a radiation oncologist at The University of Texas MD Anderson Proton Therapy Center, wrote before the field was selected that fans filling out NCAA Tournament brackets should keep an eye on potential “sleeper” teams St. Mary’s and Creighton. Creighton landed the No. 7 seed in the Midwest bracket and faces a possible second-game matchup with No. 2-seed Duke; St. Mary’s, meanwhile, has already scored a first-round tourney victory, 67-54 over Middle Tennessee State. Next up for St. Mary’s, seeded No. 11, is No. 6-seed Memphis.
“I love that my career as a doctor allows me the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives,” Pugh says. “Nevertheless, there hasn’t been a March in the past 13 years where I didn’t want to lace them up one more time.”
At MD Anderson, Pugh uses proton therapy, described by the cancer center as “the most technologically advanced form of targeted therapy,” to treat “genitourinary” cancers, particularly prostate cancer.
He stays active in basketball by coaching his 7-year-old son’s team and by closely following the college game. Pugh advises amateur bracketologists to also be wary of small schools loaded with seniors as well as blue-chip programs Kentucky and North Carolina in the midst of rebuilding years. While Kentucky did not make the NCAA Tournament, UNC–led by Pugh’s former KU coach, Roy Williams– looms Sunday for KU, should both the Jayhawks and Tar Heels win their opening games Friday in Kansas City.
Said Pugh: “I wouldn’t want to face either of them if they make the tournament.”