1. Ok, so what's the deal with P. State? After 12 years in the NCAA hinterlands, your Portland State Vikings are ready for their national media close-up. Why do I say "your" Portland State Vikings? Because, inevitably in the run up to the school's first-ever NCAA Tournament game next week you will be inundated with stories (and a likely CBS video montage) about the plucky Big Sky champions and by the time you're done hearing about the Vikings pint-sized point guard and the school that couldn't even get respect in its home town you're going to want to drop everything, buy a Jerry Glanville mask and move to Portland. It's the largest public university in Oregon (bigger than Oregon and Oregon State) and is nestled in downtown Portland in the lovely Park Blocks. Pretty much everyone and their mother in Portland has at one time or another taken a class there, but few claim the commuter campus as their school. (We call it PSU, not P-State, Nittany this, Lions!).
2. Jerry Glanville is here. The school just moved to D-I in 1996, but hiring Glanville got our football team some serious press earlier this season. But this doesn't mean Portland State gets any respect, even from the local press. I ran into Portland's premier sports columnist en route to a game a few years ago and even he had no idea where the gym the Vikings play in was. This is a gym so small most high school's couldn't even hold assembly there and so outdated that bomb shelters would take offense if you compared the two. Amazingly, the Vikings can't even fill it. When the team won the right to hold the conference tournament by rolling through the regular season with a 14-2 conference record, the conference made them find a larger venue. Even with a surplus of local media coverage that would make Paris Hilton blush, the Vikings barely filled a fifth of the Rose Garden arena.
3. We are good because our coach hated it here. Why would a head coach leave a year after winning the regular season championship to become a glorified assistant coach? Would Jack Bauer hand the reins over to Chloe so he could kick it in CTU? I think not. But that's exactly what former PSU coach Heath Schroyer did three years ago though. Dude had just had enough. His departure opened the door for current head coach Ken Bone. Bone, who kinda looks like Ichabod Crane, has overcome local high schoolers' refusal to even consider PSU by luring some impressive transfers and his rapid success already has Viking fans fretting about his imminent departure to a bigger program. The two transfers who've led the team to the best season in school history are point guard Jeremiah Dominguez and forward Deonte Huff. Combining the best of Mighty Mouse and Astro Boy into a 5-foot-6 frame, Dominguez became the first player in Big Sky history to win Newcomer and Player of the Year honors this season after sitting out last year as a transfer. Huff is the Vikings high-flyer who does a little bit of everything while sporting a refined version of Chris Partlow's haircut from The Wire. — Ian Ruder