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Weber State Wildcats

1. The Original 'Cinderella Team.' You've seen the DirecTV commercial: "Who ever heard of Weber State?" Outside of Utah, the only people who know the name (and that it's pronounced WEE-ber) are NCAA Tournament fans who recognize the Wildcats as the scrappy minor-mid-major team that has managed to win six first-round games since 1969. The team's greatest moment in the spotlight was its 1999 first-round win over North Carolina, followed by an overtime loss to Florida.

2. Who's the Little Guy? The one in the purple-striped tie, who disappears completely in the middle of a players huddle? That's first-year head coach Randy Rahe. And while generous reports put his height at 5-7 or 5-8, he's suddenly a giant in the state and in the Big Sky Conference (which, by the time this is posted, will assuredly have named him coach of the year after the Wildcats' worst-to-first turnaround). Rahe's a no-nonsense guy who put this team together around only three returning players and got everyone to buy into a team-first, hard-work mentality. He's also refreshingly non-clich in interviews: When asked about watching Weber's 21-point lead in the Big Sky title game dwindle to two points in the second half, he replied, "I wanted to throw up."


3. Players to Watch. Senior forward David Patten, the Big Sky player of the year, is the heart of this team. He has great range, shooting almost 40 percent from 3-point land, but was asked to play closer to the basket this season and developed into an inside threat — he'll participate in the dunk contest at the Final Four. He's also tough, suffering a broken cheekbone during a game on February 1, then scoring 22 points against Northern Arizona 48 hours later. Others: Dezmon Harris, the junior point guard who's not really a point guard. You'll recognize him by his ball-handling skills, his fearless drives to the basket and his absolutely gigantic head. A head that size should be on a 7-footer's body; Harris is 6-1. Sophomore guard Juan Pablo (JP) Silveira of Uruguay has scored in double figures eight of his last nine games. He also is smoking hot and has developed a devoted female fan base in Ogden and among the ladies of Deadspin. — Jen Philion

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