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Davidson Wildcats

1. OK, let's get it straight now — Steph-en. If you pay attention to this team over the next week, you'll hear a lot about Stephen Curry, who pronounces his name as if it were spelled, "Steffen," not how most people named Stephen say their name. Not a big deal, except it touched off a (very) mini-controversy when some blabberheads got it wrong during one of Davidson's (very) few mentions on a four-letter network. So some Wildcats faithful got a little fired up because Curry has been overlooked most of his career. He is getting some pub now, but only after averaging 21.2 points a game — second-most in the country by a freshman behind some dude in burnt orange named Durant. As the story goes, Stephen wanted to follow in the footsteps of father and former NBA sharpshooter Dell Curry and go to Virginia Tech. The Hokies didn't want any part of him, so he wound up at little ol' Davidson, where he rewrote a whole bunch of freshman, scoring and 3-point records. At one point, Davidson also was in the hunt for the son of a more famous former NBA star (Jeff Jordan - you might have heard of dad, Michael). Word is that Jeff might be headed to Loyola Chicago instead, but the Wildcats are plenty happy with the son of a former NBA player they have.

2. Time to win one of these games. There's a fairly legitimate theory that schools such as Davidson should be happy just to make the NCAA tournament, but enough is enough. This is the Wildcats' third NCAA appearance since 2002, and they need to win a game. And there is a lot of reason to think that this is the year it will happen. The Wildcats graduated seven seniors off last year's NCAA team so this was supposed to be a rebuilding year. Instead, they went 29-4, winning 25 of their last 26 games with winning streaks of 12 and 13 games. They also were hammering people all year, winning by an average of 13.4 points and turning into a virtual cash machine, going 21-8-1 against the spread. This is coach Bob McKillop's fourth NCAA trip, passing Lefty Driesell for the most by a Davidson coach. The Wildcats went to the Elite Eight twice back in the 1960s but have gone 0-5 since. This shouldn't be the year it happens, but with all of this surprising success, maybe it should be.


3. So why not now? Earlier this month, Davidson inducted two of its most seminal sports figures — at least for somebody who might have been enrolled there between, say, 1992 and '96. The inductees were former men's soccer coach Charlie Slagle and basketball star Brandon Williams. Slagle took the Wildcats to the NCAA soccer final four in 1992 — when Davidson happened to be hosting the thing. This is sort of like the Arizona Cardinals reaching the Super Bowl when it is in Phoenix. After all, they put the big game there because nobody expects the home team to make it. The Wildcats got wiped out in the semifinal, but let's just say sobriety was a scarce commodity that weekend. As for Williams, aka Ozone (because he played up in the ozone layer), he was the star for a relatively great basketball run from 1994-96. That included NIT bids in '94 and '96, although the latter year should have been in the Big Dance. That's when the Wildcats wound up 25-5 and went 14-0 in the regular season before choking in the tournament final to Western Carolina. Davidson was crushing people like it did this year. Now that they got past the conference tournament hurdle, an NCAA win should be up next. As for Williams, he wound up buried on the San Antonio Spurs roster a couple years later and won a championship. This is sort of like an Arizona Cardinals player winning a Super Bowl ring. — Matt Pitzer

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