Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Officially retiring

Sometimes things just run their course....and it appears that is the case with this blog.

When I first started this blog, it was January 12, 2006. The Davidson Basketball team got very little coverage at the time. Brendan Winters was the leader, Steph Curry was still playing high school basketball (almost nobody knew who he was), and the team was coming off a nice run in the NIT the previous year.

At the time, I had become familiar with blogging, and thought it might a good way for a few Davidson fans out there to follow the team. So, I began.

My first post on this blog was this:
"Why this blog? As a Davidson alum ('94), I am interested in what is happening with the basketball team. Since Davidson is such a small school, there is very little coverage. I thought I might try to consolidate what little coverage our team gets. I hope you will enjoy it. "

In January 2006, this blog was about all you could find on the internet as a source for info on the Cats, other than the official website, and a brand new message board.

Well....as they say.....that was then, and this is now. My, how the atmosphere has changed since then!

No longer is our beloved basketball team just another small school in a small conference. We have been to 3 straight NCAA Tournaments, and last season even went to the Elite Eight, beat several top 20 teams and finished #9 in the nation. The Wildcats are getting LOTS of coverage now, which is wonderful!! That is also the very reason that I don't think this blog is really necessary anymore. That is a testament to the accomplishments of the basketball players and coaches over the past few years.

So, with that in mind, I bid you farewell. I will not say goodbye, because - who knows - maybe I'll make a blogging comeback some day. But for now, I look forward to simply watching the games and pulling for Davidson.

GO CATS!!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Still on hiatus...

...but this video needed to be posted. I did not put it together. Whoever did so deserves a ton of credit. Great job!



UPDATE:

This one is great....they guys having some fun on campus, just goofing around with The Davidson Show.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

On Hiatus (and possibly in retirement)

Now that this incredible season has come to a close, I'm going to take some time to recharge. So, with that said, I'm going to take a break from posting here, barring some major development with the basketball program, and figure out if I'm going to continue this at all in the future.

Thanks for reading, and GO WILDCATS!!

WB

PS: If you need your Davidson fix, check out DavidsonCats.com.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

A brief comment

The season is now over after the heart breaking 2 point loss to Kansas in the Elite Eight. I'll have plenty to post a little bit later.

For right now, however, I want to say one quick thing: I could not be prouder of Davidson College, this team and what they have accomplished this season. It has truly been a remarkable ride. To the team, I say thank you, thank you, thank you.

I encourage you all to post your thoughts in the comments section.

Cats not a one man team

Jayhawks wary of Curry's surrounding cast
Davidson guard is a star, but his teammates are solid and selfless
The Associated Press
DETROIT - OK, so the entire country now knows every last little detail about Stephen Curry, the sweet-shooting guard who’s got double-digit Davidson one game away from the Final Four.

But Curry didn’t get the Wildcats this far all by himself. There’s also Jason Richards, the sublime point guard who can shoot it as well as he sets it up. There’s Andrew Lovedale, a big guy with a feathery touch. There’s Max Paulhus Gosselin, who actually thrives on setting screens. And on and on.

Lose track of any of them, and Kansas is in for a long day Sunday, followed by an equally uncomfortable offseason.

“There’s a lot of things that concern us,” Jayhawks coach Bill Self said, shaking his head as he ran down the list. “They’re a physical team. They do a great job of setting very physical, legal screens. They do a great job defensively of not letting you go where you want to go, riding off cuts, things like that ...

He was just getting started.

“They’ve got,” Self said, summing it all up, “a lot of pieces.”

On paper, Kansas (34-3) should win Sunday’s game easily and advance to a matchup with North Carolina in the national semifinals.

The Jayhawks are the power in a power conference, so stocked with talent they’re bringing guys off the bench who would start at most schools. They have four players averaging in double figures and another just short, and two guys who are averaging more than six boards a game. They can play big or small and do it at a grinding halt or a playground pace.

They’re walloping opponents by almost 20 points a game — best in the nation — and their three losses were by a combined 13 points.

“We’re just doing what people expect us to do, and that’s go to the Final Four,” said Brandon Rush, who leads Kansas with 13 points. “We don’t see it as pressure. We see it as people expecting things of us. Big things.”

But Davidson (29-6) didn’t just stumble into its first regional final since 1969. The Wildcats have the nation’s longest winning streak at 25 and counting, and they beat three very good teams to get here including Georgetown, a Final Four team last year, and Wisconsin, the Big Ten champs with the best defense in the country.

The Badgers were holding opponents to a nation-best 53.9 points a game and hadn’t allowed a single 3-pointer in the second round against Kansas State. Davidson dropped 73 on them, including 12 3s.

Granted, Curry has had a lot to do with the Wildcats’ run. The son of former NBA sharpshooter Dell Curry is averaging 34.3 points in the tournament, best since Bo Kimble of Loyola Marymount averaged 35.8 over four games in 1990. And his 103 points are second only to Glenn Robinson of Purdue (108) for a three-game span since seeding began in 1979.

He’s gotten so big — he’s not nicknamed “Prime Time” because he likes Deion Sanders - even LeBron James has joined his fan club.

“That’s the thing, they have other good players,” Russell Robinson said. “Even if we stop Curry, that’s not going to secure the game for us. We have to guard everyone.”

That’s what makes Davidson such a fun story. Well, that and the fact the school has free laundry and the Board of Trustees are picking up the tab for students who wanted to come to the game.

Ask the Wildcats about their success, and they repeatedly refer to their system. It’s based on patience and balance, finding the open man and working for good shots. They’re infuriatingly persistent, passing the ball back and forth, back and forth, and back and forth again if that’s what it takes to get the shot they want. That kind of grinding eventually wears on opponents, and the Wildcats know it.

They put a premium on teamwork and selflessness, cooperation and chemistry. It’s a simple premise, but implementing it is another thing entirely.

“I’m in a quest for the perfect game, the perfect performance, the perfect season. The Brazilian soccer team, they call it ‘The Beautiful Game.’ That’s what our system is all about, the quest for that,” said coach Bob McKillop, who can get downright philosophical about it, mixing in everything from politics to religion to diversity.

“These guys aren’t all rocket scientists that play for us. They have to really work to achieve academically,” he added. “So I think it takes a combination of a willingness to be coached and a consistent message from the coach. And we’ve stuck to that very simple game plan for quite a few years now.”

When it works, it’s a sight to behold.

Richards — and it is Richards, not Richardson — might have had a stat line more impressive than Curry’s on Friday night. Not only did he score 11 points — nine from 3-point range — he had 13 assists without a single turnover. That’s the kind of ballhandling usually seen from another Jason.

Lovedale, a 6-foot-8 forward who was sweeping up a court the first time McKillop saw him, made all five of his shots. Bryant Barr made only two shots all night, but the second allowed Davidson to go into halftime tied with the Badgers. And Gosselin and Thomas Sander set so many screens, they’re going to be taking a lovely collection of bumps and bruises home as souvenirs.

“Did you guys see Steph smile after he made that backdoor cut?” Sander said when asked why the Wildcats buy into the collective good. “It’s just fun to watch Jason and Steph score. When they do that, we win.”

Added Gosselin, “Giving the other guys opportunities to score the basketball is just an amazing feeling. I always emphasize that my whole life, that what I like most is winning. So we win games. Whatever I have to do, I’ll do.”

One more win will put the Wildcats in very select company. Only two double-digit seeds have reached the Final Four, and George Mason’s run in 2006 captivated the entire country. Davidson’s run has conjured all kinds of comparisons to the Patriots — not to mention Cinderella and every other underdog there is.

That’s all well and good, but the Wildcats will pass on the warm-and-fuzzies. They know who they are, even if everybody else is still learning.

“We feel like we belong here and we feel like we showed that in the past three games,” Sander said. “You know, we’re just Davidson. That’s what we consider ourselves. We think we can go out there and compete. That’s what we try to do.”

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Some lasting images from the win over Wisconsin











From The Detroit News

Melting pot works at Davidson
McKillop, school embrace diversity and, as a result, so do his players.

Eric Lacy / The Detroit News

DETROIT -- We as Metro Detroiters could learn quite a bit from Davidson College, its players and coach Bob McKillop, who has one of the most diverse teams in basketball.

In the Midwest Regional, hosted in an area that still has a disconnect between the city and suburbs, one that doesn't always sing together in racial harmony, the Wildcats dazzle with unselfish play based on principles of unity and acceptance.

At a time of political chaos for Detroit, a community bogged down by decades of social and economic issues, McKillop's squad thrives at Ford Field and hopes for another encore on the big stage, this time against No. 1 seed Kansas at 5:05 today.

Advertisement

Sports has always been one aspect of this area that has brought people together. And the story behind Davidson, a liberal arts school of 1,700 students in Davidson, N.C., is an inspiring one that needs to be told.

McKillop, an Irish Catholic from Queens, N.Y., spoke with conviction Saturday at Ford Field when asked about the makeup of his squad. The group clearly means everything to him.

"You got a guy from Nigeria, a guy from the rich suburbs of Barrington, Ill., you have the son of a cheese maker from Montreal, Canada, we have some diversity and we get along as a team," McKillop said. "We must have something there and I think it's balance. You need that kind of balance in this word."

Davidson's figurative scale for measuring success involves the proper mix of freedom, discipline and unselfishness.

There are no barriers, players don't try to outshine each other and there's an overall love shared on and off the court, said guard Stephen Curry, this NCAA Tournament's national story because of the shooting tear he has been on.

Curry's scoring often appears effortless, but the son of former NBA sharpshooter Dell Curry continues to follow, like everyone else, the "humility before honor" approach.

"It doesn't motivate me to prove to other teams that I can play," Stephen Curry said. "I'm not like that. I have more motivation just for myself and for my teammates."

Based on the comments of his star player, McKillop's dream of having a program that not only wins but also teaches life lessons has definitely come true.

In fact, McKillop often looks beyond a prospect's basketball skills to see if they are a good fit for the school. Andrew Lovedale, a forward from England by way of Benin City, Nigeria, is a prime example.

McKillop discovered Lovedale in Manchester, England while the prospect swept a court and coached children at the Amaechi Basketball Centre.

"That was part of my evaluation, to see they way he handled things other than basketball," said McKillop of the initial meeting. "You could just see the genuine care Andrew had, that he took his job seriously. He's a marvelous young man."

Lovedale is not only grateful for the opportunity to play Division I basketball but he also feels obligated to carry out his coach's philosophy every day.

"He tells us all the time, 'You help someone, you help yourself,' " Lovedale said.

That mantra appears to be one followed by many on campus and around Davidson, about 20 miles north of Charlotte.

Asked to describe the community, McKillop said it was "unparalleled" to most college towns because of its intimacy. It's a city of about 9,000.

"The town and college are married together," McKillop said. "You have 1,700 students on campus and they know each other in a very personal way. You have PHDs, they aren't grad assistants or one year teaching assignments, they invest their whole lives in Davidson. Now they see some part of Davidson reaching the national stage.

"We've always sold the fact that when Davidson wins, we all win."

In many ways, no matter what happens against the Jayhawks, it appears that college hoops' new Cinderella team, and those that support its philosophy and values, are already winners.

From The Canadian Press


DETROIT — OK, so the entire country now knows every last little detail about Stephen Curry, the sweet-shooting guard who's got double-digit Davidson one game away from the Final Four.

But Curry didn't get the Wildcats this far all by himself. There's also Jason Richards, the sublime point guard who can shoot it as well as he sets it up. There's Andrew Lovedale, a big guy with a feathery touch. There's Max Paulhus Gosselin, a Carignan, Que., native who actually thrives on setting screens. William Archambault of St. Hubert, Que., also contributes. And on and on.

Lose track of any of them, and Kansas is in for a long day Sunday, followed by an equally uncomfortable off-season.

"There's a lot of things that concern us," Jayhawks coach Bill Self said, shaking his head as he ran down the list. "They're a physical team. They do a great job of setting very physical, legal screens. They do a great job defensively of not letting you go where you want to go, riding off cuts, things like that ...

He was just getting started.

"They've got," Self said, summing it all up, "a lot of pieces."

On paper, Kansas (34-3) should win Sunday's game easily. The Jayhawks are the power in a power conference, so stocked with talent they're bringing guys off the bench who would start at most schools. They have four players averaging in double figures and another just short, and two guys who are averaging more than six boards a game. They can play big or small and do it at a grinding halt or a playground pace.

They're walloping opponents by almost 20 points a game - best in the nation - and their three losses were by a combined 13 points.

"We're just doing what people expect us to do, and that's go to the Final Four," said Brandon Rush, who averages a mere 13 points to lead Kansas. "We don't see it as pressure. We see it as people expecting things of us. Big things."

But Davidson (29-6) didn't just stumble into its first regional final since 1969. The Wildcats have the nation's longest winning streak at 25 and counting, and they beat three very good teams to get here including Georgetown, a Final Four team last year, and Wisconsin, the Big Ten champs with the best defence in the country.

The Badgers were holding opponents to a nation-best 53.9 points a game and hadn't allowed a single three-pointer in the second round against Kansas State. Davidson dropped 73 on them, including 12 threes.

Granted, Curry has had a lot to do with the Wildcats' run. The son of former NBA sharpshooter Dell Curry is averaging 34.3 points in the tournament, best since Bo Kimble of Loyola Marymount averaged 35.8 over four games in 1990. And his 103 points are second only to Glenn Robinson of Purdue (108) for a three-game span since seeding began in 1979.

He's gotten so big - he's not nicknamed "Prime Time" because he likes Deion Sanders - even LeBron James has joined his fan club.

"That's the thing, they have other good players," Russell Robinson said. "Even if we stop Curry, that's not going to secure the game for us. We have to guard everyone."

That's what makes Davidson such a fun story. Well, that and the fact the school has free laundry and the Board of Trustees are picking up the tab for students who wanted to come to the game.

Ask the Wildcats about their success, and they repeatedly refer to their system. It's based on patience and balance, finding the open man and working for good shots. They're infuriatingly persistent, passing the ball back and forth, back and forth, and back and forth again if that's what it takes to get the shot they want. That kind of grinding eventually wears on opponents, and the Wildcats know it.

They put a premium on teamwork and selflessness, co-operation and chemistry. It's a simple premise, but implementing it is another thing entirely.

"I'm in a quest for the perfect game, the perfect performance, the perfect season. The Brazilian soccer team, they call it 'The Beautiful Game.' That's what our system is all about, the quest for that," said coach Bob McKillop, who can get downright philosophical about it, mixing in everything from politics to religion to diversity.

"These guys aren't all rocket scientists that play for us. They have to really work to achieve academically," he added. "So I think it takes a combination of a willingness to be coached and a consistent message from the coach. And we've stuck to that very simple game plan for quite a few years now."

When it works, it's a sight to behold.

Richards - and it is Richards, not Richardson - might have had a stat line more impressive than Curry's on Friday night. Not only did he score 11 points - nine from three-point range - he had 13 assists without a single turnover. That's the kind of ballhandling usually seen from another Jason.

Lovedale, a six-foot-eight forward who was sweeping up a court the first time McKillop saw him, made all five of his shots. Bryant Barr made only two shots all night, but the second allowed Davidson to go into halftime tied with the Badgers. And Gosselin and Thomas Sander set so many screens, they're going to be taking a lovely collection of bumps and bruises home as souvenirs.

"Did you guys see Steph smile after he made that backdoor cut?" Sander said when asked why the Wildcats buy into the collective good. "It's just fun to watch Jason and Steph score. When they do that, we win."

Added Gosselin: "Giving the other guys opportunities to score the basketball is just an amazing feeling. I always emphasize that my whole life, that what I like most is winning. So we win games. Whatever I have to do, I'll do."

One more win will put the Wildcats in very select company. Only two double-digit seeds have reached the Final Four, and George Mason's run in 2006 captivated the entire country. Davidson's run has conjured all kinds of comparisons to the Patriots - not to mention Cinderella and every other underdog there is.

That's all well and good, but the Wildcats will pass on the warm-and-fuzzies. They know who they are, even if everybody else is still learning.

"We feel like we belong here and we feel like we showed that in the past three games," Sander said. "You know, we're just Davidson. That's what we consider ourselves. We think we can go out there and compete. That's what we try to do."

From The Associated Press

More Davidson Students Travel to Detroit for Regional Final
The Associated Press

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Davidson College, which already sprung for more than 350 students to watch the men's basketball team play in the Midwest Regional, is sending an additional 200 students to see if the team can win a spot in the Final Four.

The new group was expected to board buses on Sunday at 3 a.m. to see the Wildcats play Kansas at Ford Field in Detroit at 5 p.m.

Media relations director Bill Giduz told The Charlotte Observer that the school was able to line up the additional buses, and said the students will return home immediately after the game.

The additional bus loads mean that almost a third of Davidson's 1,700 student population will be at the game. Davidson has never advanced to the Final Four, but the Wildcats have upset three teams in the NCAA tournament and have a 25-game winning streak.

From The Bulletin

America's Newest Darlings
By: Brendan F. Quinn, The Bulletin
03/29/2008

Detroit - It's rare that an NCAA tournament finds its lasting image before the Final Four even tips off.

But nearly a full week before the last three games of the college basketball season, it is clear that no one is going to take the spotlight from Davidson College - a tiny liberal arts school with an endearing disposition and one bona fide superstar.

Following Friday night's rousing 73-56 victory over third-seeded Wisconsin, the 10th-seeded Wildcats stand one giant step away from reaching the Final Four. A win over big, bad Kansas stands in their way, like a blue and red brick wall sitting between Detroit and San Antonio. But win or lose, when all is said and done, the story of the charming school from North Carolina might rank as one of the best in college basketball's long history of Cinderellas.

Their tale is a joyous combination of "It's A Wonderful Life" and "Hoosiers" wrapped into one picture-perfect package.

There is the new-born celebrity in Stephen Curry, the son of former NBA sharpshooter Dell Curry, who has thrown the Wildcats on his back with three 30-point performances in the NCAA tournament. With a baby face and a flair for the dramatic, the sophomore has taken America by storm.

Then there is the coach, Bob McKillop, a Bronx native who thought that Davidson would be a springboard to bigger and better things when he arrived in 1989. Nineteen years later, the 57-year-old is oh so glad he never left.

Finally, there is the school itself. Located 30 miles outside of Charlotte, Davidson is a highly selective private school of 1,700 students. The college rests its dazzling academic reputation on a strict honor code and allows its students to take unproctored exams whenever and wherever they choose. While most schools in the Field of 65 count their number of Sweet 16 appearances, Davidson boasts its 23 Rhodes Scholars.

Which makes all of this that much more special. The Wildcats are no fluke. They are legitimate Final Four contenders and have yet to blink when standing toe-to-toe with the big boys.

"I told the team (Thursday) night that I have never felt confidence in a group like the confidence I feel in them," said McKillop, who led Davidson to four tournament appearances prior to this season. "And if you have witnessed from day one the many opportunities they've had to surrender to a variety of temptations, be it expectations, be it the great schedule we had early (losses to Duke, North Carolina and UCLA), be it falling on our faces early on (losses to Western Michigan and Charlotte), be it an undefeated season (in the Southern Conference), be it having to earn a bid to the NCAA tournament. ...They have faced every imaginable obstacle."

As the seconds ticked off the clock at Ford Field on Friday night, everyone wearing red sported expressions of disbelief - the Davidson fans, the Wisconsin players and fans - well, everyone except the Davidson players themselves.

The Wildcats celebrated, but at no point did it seem as if they thought they had pulled off another monster upset. This is the same team that had just registered its third straight win over a ranked opponent after entering the tournament without a win over a Top 25 team in the last 30 years. Instead of jumping on top of one another, the Wildcats turned to salute their faithful fans that traveled long and far to be with them. Earlier in the week, the school's Board of Trustees made an extraordinary offer to provide free bus fares, game tickets and hotel rooms to all students willing to sit through the 11-hour ride to Detroit.

"The sense of intimacy that exists on our campus is unparalleled in NCAA Division I basketball," McKillop said prior to the Wisconsin game. "You hear all about the free laundry (yes, free laundry is offered to all Davidson students). But when the Board of Trustees votes in a meeting on Tuesday to go into their personal pockets and put out the money so that every student can go to this game...that reaches a level that's unprecedented. I'm stunned by it, thrilled by it."

So many students jumped at the opportunity that the school couldn't secure enough buses to transport about two-thirds of the student body 650 miles. Ultimately, seven buses brought 350 students to the 72,000-seat stadium.

Though their noise vanished in the air of mammoth Ford Field, the Davidson fans were singing, dancing and cheering from beginning to end. As the game went on, fans from Kansas and Villanova, whose game tipped off in the nightcap, couldn't help but take up the Wildcats' cause.

One would imagine that the same thing occurred in front of televisions from coast to coast.

"We are thankful for every fan out there not wearing Davidson across their chest and cheering when we make a bucket or a steal," said junior forward Max Paulhus Gosselin. "We can only say thank you. ...They just want to feel like they want to be part of the story and it's amazing."

While everyone in the country now has a soft spot for the Wildcats, it is Curry who is truly reaching iconic status. He blitzed seventh-seeded Gonzaga with 40 points in a first-round win and then dropped 30 on second-seeded Georgetown two days later.

There are few things that tell you that you've truly "made it." But when LeBron James sits two rows behind your bench yelling, "Pour it on 'em, Steph, pour it on 'em. They can't stop you," - you know you're there.

As is his nature, Curry chalks the attention up to the name on the front his jersey, not the back.

"It just goes to show what we're doing at Davidson," he said afterwards. "It's just really cool to have a guy like LeBron James, one of the best players in the NBA right now, coming out and supporting Davidson."

While Curry is the headliner, the Wildcats are led by point guard Jason Richards. As the school's all-time leader in assists, the senior is the conductor of Davidson's crisp motion offense that usually sets upwards of three or four screens to get Curry open.

"It's definitely a big win for Davidson," Richards said after toppling Wisconsin. "To make it to the Elite Eight, that's something that hasn't been done for a while, since Lefty (Driesell) was here."

Back in 1968 and 1969, it was Driesell who placed Davidson on a national stage with a pair of appearances in the regional finals. Now it's Curry, McKillop and the rest of the Wildcats penning one of the most breathtaking stories in college hoops history.

Hopefully, a win over Kansas is just one of a few more chapters to be written.

No one wants this story end.

From CBSSports.com

Let Davidson hang around? That would be Kansas' downfall
March 29, 2008
By Gregg Doyel
CBSSports.com National Columnist

DETROIT -- The way I see it, Kansas has 20 minutes of game clock to put Davidson away. That's one half. The first half. But that's it.

If Kansas can't do it? If Davidson is still in range entering the second half?

Watch out, Kansas. Watch out, because the weight of the world -- the pressure, the crowd, the ridicule, all of it brought to bear by a baby-faced assassin named Stephen Curry -- will come crushing down. Forget winning. By the midpoint of the second half, if Davidson is still in this game, Kansas will have a hard time breathing.

The Jayhawks have to know that. They have to know that, beyond their fan base, the world is united against them. It's nothing personal against Kansas. The No. 1 seed in the Midwest Region could be UCLA, North Carolina or Memphis, and it would be the same:

People want Davidson to win.

That will include most of the 60,000 fans expected at Ford Field for the region final Sunday. The Jayhawks will have their rooting section, but the configuration of this monstrous football facility works against them. Kansas had thousands of fans at Ford Field on Friday, too, and you couldn't hear them. In the final minutes of the Jayhawks' 72-57 domination of Villanova, when Kansas fans broke into their Rock-Chalk-Jayhawk chant, it sounded like a whisper coming over a cell phone. Kansas coach Bill Self called the atmosphere "pretty indifferent."

It won't be indifferent Sunday, not with upwards of 45,000 people screaming for Davidson, regardless of how far from the court they are. It won't sound like a whisper. It will sound like an avalanche off in the distance, and it will be toppling onto Kansas.

There's only one way out for Kansas, and that way is through ruthless domination. The Jayhawks have it in them, believe me. Davidson is stout and Curry is spectacular, but Kansas is too much. Too much size, too much explosion, too much depth. Gonzaga was quicker than Davidson. Georgetown and Wisconsin were bigger than Davidson. Kansas will be both -- quicker and bigger than Davidson -- and Kansas also can match the Wildcats' skill and unselfishness. Kansas has the horses to trample Davidson.

But it better happen fast, because Davidson owns the second half. Gonzaga led Davidson by 11 midway through the second half, but the 'Zags let Davidson hang around, and you know the rest of the story. Curry scored 30 of his 40 points after halftime, and Davidson was pulling away at the final horn.

Then, Georgetown. The Hoyas led by 17 in the second half, but they let Davidson hang around -- and you know the rest of that story, too. Curry scored 25 of his 30 points after halftime, and Davidson notched another upset.

Wisconsin never made Davidson uncomfortable, getting involved in a back-and-forth game until Curry took control with 16 points in 6½ minutes of the second half. He finished with 33, and Davidson blew the Badgers away.

Now, Kansas. The Jayhawks have seen what happens to teams -- to very good teams -- when Davidson hangs around.

"It does kind of worry me a little bit," said Kansas junior Brandon Rush. "They're really hot ... and Stephen Curry is probably the best player in the tournament right now."

So cool him early, Kansas. Because once Davidson starts to believe, and once Curry gets going ...

"That's what we'd like to do: Come out, set the tone, get them rattled," said Kansas sophomore Sherron Collins. "We're going to try to get a big lead on them and not let up."

Like Friday night, he could have said. Kansas clearly let up against Villanova after taking a 26-10 lead, getting outscored 47-46 the rest of the way. Villanova didn't have the skill or the will -- or Curry -- to make Kansas pay for its indifference. But if Kansas lets up Sunday, Davidson won't go down as easily. Davidson might not go down at all.

"We need to come out and put it on them as good as we can," said Kansas senior Jeremy Case. "If we get up, we need to put our foot on their throat and sap their will. Coach has been preaching it all year -- we haven't always finished games well -- and one day that could bite us in the butt."

Or grab them around the neck. Choke is an ugly word in sports, especially the college game, but the longer Davidson hangs around, the more likely Kansas is to, um, gargle. It's human nature, and it could start at the top.

Self knows he will be considered lacking if he doesn't get to the Final Four -- he admitted to thinking about it "all the time -- I mean, I think about it every day" -- and he says this team is the best he has ever had, thanks mainly to the experience factor.

But that senior thing can work the other way, too. This is the last chance at a Final Four for Russell Robinson, Darnell Jackson, Case and Sasha Kaun, and it could be the last chance for some of Kansas' NBA-level underclassmen: Rush, Collins, Darrell Arthur and/or Mario Chalmers.

The Jayhawks want this Final Four so bad they can taste it. It's right there. All they have to do is beat Davidson. Three months ago, when Davidson was 4-6, that would have sounded like a joke.

Today, with Davidson riding a 25-game winning streak and one of the hottest players in NCAA tournament history, it doesn't sound like a joke. Not with Kansas 40 minutes from getting to the Final Four.

Or from becoming a punch line.

From Kansas City Star

Kansas will have to deal with Stephen Curry to get to Final Four
By: Joe Posnanski

DETROIT - Nobody wanted him. That’s the amazing part. Stephen Curry, the new face of college basketball, the Babyfaced Larry Bird, could not find a big-time school that would take him just two years ago. Even Virginia Tech, where his father Dell was a basketball-scoring machine and his mother Sonya played volleyball, would only take him as a walk-on.

Stuff like this always boggles the mind. How can people who study the games — build their whole lives around these games — miss this kind of genius? How could every team in major-league baseball pass on Albert Pujols 12 times in the draft, and then 18 months later he’s one of the greatest rookies in baseball history? How could every single NFL team look at Tony Romo and determine he was not even worth drafting?

No answer will do. Sometimes, apparently, we just miss what’s right in front of our eyes. College basketball teams did not just miss a good player with Stephen Curry. They missed a prodigy. They missed the most exciting college basketball player in years. They missed one guy good enough to carry a team, a real life Jimmy Chitwood in Hoosiers.

See, it wasn’t just that Stephen Curry played another ridiculous game Friday night — though he did, 33 points, four assists, four steals. It wasn’t just that he drove Davidson to another stunning tournament upset, this time a 73-56 destruction of third-seeded Wisconsin.

On Sunday afternoon he’ll try to repeat the feat against No. 1-seeded Kansas in the Midwest Regional final.

The Wildcats have now beaten the West Coast Conference champ, the Big East champ and the Big Ten champ in succession. Curry scored 103 points in those three games.

No, it was something more. Take one play in the second half. Curry had already broken Wisconsin’s spirit. The Badgers all year had been known for their piercing defense, their ability to frustrate opponents, their almost mystical ability to get opponents to miss “open shots.” The reason was simple: Those shots were not really really open. They were usually a couple of feet too far from the basket. They were usually shot by the wrong guy. They were usually shot out of rhythm. That was Wisconsin basketball.

And so, Badgers coach Bo Ryan came up with simplest plan — he had his best defender, Michael Flowers, hound Curry for 40 minutes. That’s just what Flowers did. Everywhere Curry went, Flowers was in his shirt. Every time Davidson tried to set a pick against Flowers, he fought through and got back in Curry’s face. It was impressive to watch, at least for a while. If Curry had been a normal player, it would have frustrated him to no end.

But this is the point: Curry is not a normal guy. Maybe he learned something from watching his father score more than 12,000 points in the NBA. Maybe he developed a certain determination because so many scouts and college coaches could not see just what made him special. Curry grew up in Charlotte, N.C., the heart of basketball country. He loved ACC basketball. He ended up at a small, private liberal-arts college just north of his city, a school for future politicians and authors.

Whatever the reason, Curry’s face never showed any frustration. He would work and work for a shot; if he got a small opening he would shoot. If not, he would keep Flowers away from the other four so that Davidson’s offense could run smoothly.

“I try not to force anything,” he said. “It’s hard for a defense to sustain themselves for a whole 40 minutes. Eventually you’ll find yourself open.”

At halftime, the score was tied. Curry appeared to be shut down, but he wasn’t at all. He had 11 points, a couple of assists, a couple of steals. And he knew something — it was Wisconsin that was about to get frustrated. It has happened the whole tournament. Gonzaga had led Davidson at halftime; Curry had scored 30 second-half points to lead the comeback. Georgetown had Davidson down 17 at one point; Curry scored 25 points in the second half to lead the comeback.

Wisconsin scrambled and fought and cut the margin to three points. Curry made a ridiculous three-point jumper — if the defender is even 6 inches away, he cannot get his hands up in time to block Curry’s shot. The ball swished, giving Davidson a six-point lead.

And then he made the play.

Davidson’s Jason Richards stripped the ball away from Wisconsin’s Joe Krabbenhoft. And now there was a mad scramble — Davidson players were running down the court, and Wisconsin players were searching for Stephen Curry. He was standing in the corner, by himself. Richards — who leads the nation in assists, in large part because he knows how to find Curry — found Curry. He threw a bullet pass.

Curry caught it and was about to shoot his lightning quick shot. Nobody was around him. He could have gotten it off. He was looking at the basket. And then, instead of shooting the ball, he just stopped. He stood there for one beat, two beats, as if he was waiting for something.

He was waiting for something. On the third beat, Krabbenhoft — one of the best defensive players in the country — came running like a mad man, and he jumped, and he flew right by. Curry waited for him to go by, as if he were the wrong bus. Curry then calmly shot his beautiful jump shot, swished the three-pointer, gave Davidson a nine-point lead.

The game would never get any closer.

It was genius, that’s all. There’s no way to know how he saw Krabbenhoft coming, or how he could know that Krabbenhoft would just rush by like the wind. But he did. Later in the game, he hit a reverse layup that got NBA superstar LeBron James to jump to his feet. Later in the game, he had done so much that even a few heartbroken Wisconsin fans stood and applauded. How could they not?

And all the while, no doubt, there were coaches staring at their television Friday night and muttering, “How did I miss that?” There’s just no answer for that.

From NY Newsday

Driesell put Davidson on college basketball map
Joe Gergen
9:53 PM EDT, March 25, 2008

Consider what Bob McKillop has wrought at Davidson College a charming sequel to a basketball version of the little train that could. It's not his fault that the original was so much more colorful. That's due almost entirely to the personality of the previous conductor, Charles Driesell, known to one and all as Lefty.

The man's teams won 786 games in 41 seasons at four institutions of higher learning and appeared in the NCAA Tournament 13 times in five different decades. He coached some of the great players in college basketball history at Maryland. But what remains truly remarkable about the Lefthander's career is that he lifted Davidson, a historic liberal arts college whose enrollment at the time was fewer than 1,000, to the level of a national basketball powerhouse during the 1960s.

As he pointed out just the other night from his home in Virginia Beach, "I can succeed anywhere. I know how to coach." He did not speak in the past tense. Driesell, 76, may have formally retired from the profession five years ago but still considers himself more of a participant than an observer.

The current Wildcats may have shocked the nation this season, first by their inclusion in the AP Top 25 ratings, later by their advance to the Round of 16 in the NCAA Tournament. All the more reason to marvel at what Driesell created 40 years ago when Davidson finished among the Top 10 four times and twice came within a basket or two of the Final Four. The same program had suffered 11 consecutive losing seasons when the onetime encyclopedia salesman unpacked his belongings on a campus 19 miles north of Charlotte.

"I had an assistant," he recalled, "but he was a baseball coach, too. My office was about 10 feet by 10 feet. My mother helped me paint it." Driesell was 29 and fresh off a 57-game winning streak and a state championship at Newport News High School in his native Virginia. He said he took a salary cut from $6,200 to $6,000 for the chance to coach in college. Oh, yes, the recruiting budget was approximately $500.

That didn't stop him from snagging his first recruit, Terry Holland, from the clutches of Wake Forest in the formidable ACC. Holland would become a successful coach at his alma mater and later at the University of Virginia. In Driesell's very first game, Davidson upset Wake, whose team would advance all the way to the East Regional final at the direction of point guard Billy Packer while the Wildcats faded to 9-14. But it would be Driesell's lone losing season at Davidson.

He recruited by car, driving thousands of miles by day and sleeping in the back at night. He convinced blue-chip center Fred Hetzel, from Washington, D.C., to forgo Duke. He won a tug of war with the Notre Dame football staff for Dick Snyder, an all-star quarterback from Canton, Ohio. He got Mike Maloy, a superb forward from Long Island City, to take a chance on the South. All three would be selected to All-American teams during the decade.

"We played the best teams in the country," Driesell recalled. "We played Cincinnati the year they won the national championship. We broke Ohio State's home-court winning streak when they had Gary Bradds. We played Duke, Virginia, Maryland, Alabama, NYU. We had a 2,000-seat campus gym but we used the Charlotte Coliseum (11,666) for big games like Duke. People weren't afraid to play good teams on the road in those days."

The Wildcats were ranked as high as No. 3 in the country in 1964 and No. 2 in 1969. They received the preseason nod as No. 1 by Sports Illustrated at the outset of the 1964-65 campaign. But they were doomed to disappointment. The '64 team was shocked by VMI in the Southern Conference Tournament at a time when leagues were permitted only one representative in the national showcase. One year later, Davidson was upset in overtime by West Virginia, snapping a 23-game winning streak. The '68 and '69 teams both reached the Elite Eight before excruciating losses to North Carolina.

One of the top players in the country in 1969 was Charlie Scott, a sharpshooter who had grown up in Harlem. While he was in high school, Scott's family moved to North Carolina where he soon was befriended by Driesell. After attending the Davidson basketball camp following his junior season, he verbally committed to the school, then changed his mind and signed with Dean Smith at the university in Chapel Hill. In the championship of the East Regional in 1969, Davidson turned the ball over with the score tied at 85-85 and Scott hit a jump shot from the top of the key just before the buzzer to thwart the Wildcats once more.

That game was staged at Cole Field House in College Park, where Driesell began the following season as coach of Maryland. Davidson enjoyed one more ranked season under Holland, then gradually faded from the national spotlight. The Wildcats, celebrating their basketball centennial, are back and Driesell is thrilled. He drove to Raleigh last weekend and witnessed the victory over Georgetown, appeared on the Davidson radio network at halftime and sent a note of congratulations to the team afterward.

"I love this team," he said. "That Stephen Curry is a great shooter. The point guard [Jason Richards] leads the country in assists. And Bob McKillop is a really fine coach."

Driesell said he expects the Wildcats to give third-seeded Wisconsin all it can handle Friday in Detroit. But then he never did believe any program was better than his, no matter how big. His final team, Georgia State, qualified for the NCAA Tournament in 2001. Its first-round opponent was Wisconsin. Georgia State won and a reporter asked him afterward how a mid-major team like the Panthers could beat an elite team from the Big Ten.

"Ask the players from Wisconsin if we're mid-major," he growled.

From SI.com




Shedding the slipper
Experienced and tested Davidson is no Cinderella
By Stewart Mandel

DETROIT -- The bracket says this was a big-time upset: The Midwest's No. 10 seed knocking off the No. 3 seed. Same thing if you went by the names on the jerseys: Wisconsin, champion of the vaunted Big Ten, losing to Davidson, champion of the Southern Conference.

From courtside, however, Friday night's Sweet 16 game looked like one thing and one thing only: A colossal mismatch in which a more athletic, better-shooting, more aggressive defensive team (Davidson) broke open a 36-36 halftime deadlock to make mincemeat of its overmatched opponent (Wisconsin), 73-56.

Perhaps the selection committee got the seeds backwards.

"You might say we're 'teeny' Davidson," said point guard Jason Richards. "But we're not going to back down from anyone."

As the only double-digit seed and 2,000-student school headed to the Elite Eight, Davidson will presumably get tagged with the "Cinderella" label in the coming days, a la George Mason two years ago. It could not be less accurate.

Yes, the Wildcats' current NCAA tourney run is quickly taking on a similar feel to those 2006 Final Four darlings -- just like Mason knocked off tourney staples Michigan State, North Carolina and UConn, Davidson has now offed Gonzaga, Georgetown and Wisconsin with top seed Kansas looming on Sunday -- there's really no comparison between the actual teams.

George Mason did not take top-10 squads North Carolina, UCLA and Duke to the wire in its non-conference season like Davidson. George Mason did not go 20-0 in its conference like Davidson. George Mason was not ranked in the Top 25 by the end of the regular season like Davidson. And with all due respect to former Patriots guards Tony Skinn and Lamar Butler, George Mason did not have a backcourt the likes of Richards and Stephen Curry.

Friday night against a Wisconsin team that came in with the nation's most efficient defense, Curry and Richards put on a show as impressive as anything seen this tourney. Curry, following up on his 40- and 30-point outputs in the first two rounds, scored another 33, while Richards delivered the eye-popping stat line of 11 points, 13 assists and zero turnovers.

"I think this is a pretty darn good backcourt," said Davidson coach Bob McKillop.

Curry, whose star has risen so high in the span of eight days that LeBron James came just to see him play (mouthing a visible "Wow" on an acrobatic reverse layup by Curry late in the game), put on another dazzling shooting display, hitting 6-of-11 three-pointers, but his most important stat may have been this one: Four steals.

Davidson blew open Friday night's game with a 21-3 second-half run that was fueled as much by defense as it was Curry's continued hot hand. Time and again, Wisconsin's guards would try to feed their big men in the post only to find them smothered by Wildcats counterparts Thomas Sander and Andrew Lovedale. Time and again, Curry or Richards would get a hand on the ball as a Badger attempted to drive the lane, and a teammate like Max Paulhus Gosselin would come up with the loose ball.

And time and again, Richards would race the other way in a matter of seconds, finding an open Curry in the corner or a streaking Sander down the lane. It looked a whole lot like watching another transition-specialist, North Carolina, another powerhouse the Wildcats faced earlier this season (losing 72-68).

"That's the type of game we play at Davidson," said Richards. "We get up and down the fast break, find shooters on the wings."

The game's most telling sequence came with 13:01 remaining and Davidson leading just 51-45. Curry stripped plodding Badgers forward Joe Krabbenhoft as he drove the lane. In a matter of seconds, he spotted up in the corner on the other end, took a pass from Richards, paused to wait for the trailing Krabbenhoft to fly past him like a stuntman jumping from a building and drained a three-pointer to put the Wildcats firmly in control.

Davidson held Wisconsin to 37 percent shooting while hitting 49.1 percent itself and caused the normally polished Badgers to finish with more turnovers (12) than assists (nine).

"We didn't have to change our basketball system because we were facing Wisconsin," said Lovedale. "We wanted to do what we did all year."

If it seems like Davidson plays unusually poised in these tourney games for a team that spent the majority of its season facing the likes of Georgia Southern and Western Carolina (during one break in the action Friday, the uber-cool Curry casually chatted up Wisconsin counterpart Michael Flowers about their respective hometowns), one need only look at their early-season schedule.

North Carolina. Duke. UCLA.

The Wildcats played all three of them and took all three to the wire. They didn't come away with any W's -- at one point, in fact, they were 4-6 -- but they came away with the confidence of knowing what the rest of us are only find out now: That they're every bit as good as some of the best teams in the country.

"We were right there 'til the end [against those foes]," said Curry. "That proved we can compete with anyone but we couldn't finish games. Now we have another shot at the big guys, and we've gotten better. We've learned to play 40 minutes."

They needed all 40 minutes to put away previous tourney foes Gonzaga and Georgetown, but Friday night's contest was unofficially over with about eight minutes left. By then, the Davidson band had broken out its favorite tune, Sweet Caroline, and the large swath of fans behind the Wildcats' bench -- nearly all of them wearing red-and-white "Witness" shirts purchased by Curry's NBA-alum father, Dell -- sang along in celebration.

Moments earlier, they'd watched Curry toy with yet another overmatched defender, hanging in the air and shoveling the ball from his knees to the hoop in the aforementioned reverse layup that brought LeBron to his feet. His team's lead had grown to 17 and would soon reach as high as 21.

"They're a great team," said Wisconsin forward Marcus Landry. "They really outworked us and out-scrapped us."

Re-read those previous words from Landry. If there's any major-conference team in the country synonymous with outworking and outscrapping people, it's Wisconsin. Yet when Curry started his now-customary second-half scoring binge (he scored 22 of his 33 after halftime) and the Wildcats rolled off a back-breaking 12-0 run, the Big Ten champs looked as helpless as ... well, a Georgia Southern or Western Carolina.

So it's probably wise at this point for hoops followers to re-think their preconceived notions about Davidson. Cinderella? Only to someone who hasn't actually watched the Wildcats play.

"Last year, you might have been accurate to say we were a Cinderella had we advanced [beyond the first round] because were a surprise," said McKillop. "We brought back five starters, we won 20 conference games, we played the heavyweights early and played them close. This team has expectations you wouldn't normally see a 'Cinderella' have."

Not to mention a pair of guards most major-conference teams can only dream about.

From New York Times

Knowing What It’s Like for Davidson’s Coach
By ADAM HIMMELSBACH
Published: March 30, 2008

The day after George Mason reached the Final Four in 2006 with a stunning victory against Connecticut in the regional final, Patriots Coach Jim Larranaga shared a quiet moment with his wife, Liz. The frenzied run the 11th-seeded Patriots had made seemed surreal to Larranaga, and he sought another frame of reference. So he pretended he was someone else.

“My wife asked me, ‘If Bob McKillop did something like this, how amazed and happy would you be for him?’ ” Larranaga said in a telephone interview. “I thought about Bob coaching Davidson to a Final Four and realized how amazing that would be. I used him as a gauge, and it made me appreciate what we had done.”

Two years later, McKillop and Davidson are a victory from matching George Mason’s improbable feat. The 10th-seeded Wildcats will face top-seeded Kansas on Sunday in the Midwest Region final in Detroit.

Larranaga and McKillop have maintained a friendship since their high school teams played in a 1967 playoff game. Larranaga attended Archbishop Molloy in Queens; McKillop went to Chaminade on Long Island.

Larranaga graduated from Providence in 1971 and spent five years as an assistant varsity coach and a freshman coach at Davidson. When Larranaga became an assistant at Virginia in 1979, he recruited several players from Long Island Lutheran, where McKillop was the coach.

“I didn’t actually get any of them,” Larranaga said. “So Bob kind of still owes me.”

After George Mason received an at-large bid to the 2006 N.C.A.A. tournament, McKillop asked Larranaga how he had done it. Larranaga emphasized the importance of a strong nonconference schedule.

This season, Davidson played nonconference games against North Carolina, U.C.L.A. and Duke.

“Bob didn’t win any of those games, but he figured an awful lot out about how he could,” Larranaga said. “He told me it wasn’t that they couldn’t play with them, it was that they had difficulty sustaining the effort for 40 minutes. Obviously, that’s not a problem anymore.”

Davidson defeated seventh-seeded Gonzaga, second-seeded Georgetown and third-seeded Wisconsin to reach the regional final.

On Saturday morning, Larranaga called McKillop to offer his congratulations and to share in the moment. He said there was a lot of chuckling, but there was no discussion of strategy.

“I told him the greatest compliment to your team is that CBS switched away from your game against Wisconsin because it was a blowout,” Larranaga said. “And he cracked up laughing. That game was supposed to be a nail-biter, but he blew out the Big Ten champion.”

As for Sunday morning preparations, Larranaga recommends keeping the mood light and finding a good bus driver.

In 2006, the bumpiest moments on George Mason’s road to the Final Four literally came on the road. En route to the regional final at the Verizon Center in downtown Washington, the Patriots’ team bus struck a parked car.

“The driver opened his window and talked to the policeman who was leading our escort,” Larranaga said. “He told us to go ahead because the car was illegally parked, anyway. He told us we couldn’t be late.”

From New York Times

A Long Trip to the Brink of History for Davidson
By JOE LAPOINTE
Published: March 30, 2008

DETROIT — The players, coaches, cheerleaders and band members of Davidson are staying at a suburban hotel called the Dearborn Inn, built by Henry Ford, who also built behind it replicas of the historic homes of Patrick Henry, Walt Whitman and Edgar Allan Poe.

In the bright Michigan sunlight early Saturday, a few older Davidson fans, clad in the team color of red, strolled among the homes, gazing at them, seemingly impressed and intrigued. It was as if American history had come alive before them.

When the Davidson fans assemble again at Ford Field on Sunday to see their 10th-seeded Wildcats play top-seeded Kansas in the final of the Midwest Region, they hope to see history of a modern kind made by a college with 1,700 students.

Led by the sharpshooter Stephen Curry, the son of the former N.B.A. player Dell Curry, the Wildcats (29-6) have won 25 consecutive games. If they beat Kansas (34-3) to reach the Final Four, it will be an upset of historic significance.

The Jayhawks seem like a much better team. They clobbered Villanova on Friday night, 72-57, hours after Davidson upset Wisconsin, 73-56. The Jayhawks appear bigger, tougher, more balanced and deeper than Davidson and come from the Big 12, a power conference.

Kansas has reached the Final Four 12 times and has won 2 national championships. Davidson is from the Southern Conference, a midmajor circuit. The Wildcats have never been in the Final Four.

Davidson lost its only two previous regional finals, in 1968 and 1969. So it seemed appropriate to ask Brandon Rush, a Kansas star, if he was concerned about a less-heralded opponent with momentum at its back and an upset on its mind.

“Yeah, it does kind of worry me a little bit because they are really hot right now,” Rush said. “And Stephen Curry is probably the best player in the tournament right now. We’re going to have our hands full.”

Curry and his teammates will be cheered by a new influx of fans to join the small but vocal group already here. Martin McCann, the director of marketing for Davidson, said five more buses had been chartered to carry students on the 10-hour trip to Sunday’s game.

They will join the 400 students who rode on seven buses for Friday’s game. The money for the trip — buses, hotel rooms, tickets — was provided by the college’s Board of Trustees, McCann said, from personal donations, not from the general fund.

Guard Jason Richards was asked to compare this team to George Mason, which lost in the Final Four two years ago. He rejected the comparison. “We’re Davidson,” he said. “We’re trying to make our own history.”

When Saturday’s news conference turned to the X-and-O fundamentals, players and coaches of both teams said the 6-foot-3 Curry, a sophomore, excelled in part because his teammates set complicated screens for him to duck and dart behind.

Curry needs only a moment to fire the pretty shot he learned from his father, who played 16 professional seasons. Stephen Curry said he was overlooked by recruiters for top basketball programs because he was only 5-7 as a high school junior.

Davidson Coach Bob McKillop said he welcomed advice from Curry’s father and often sought it.

Dell Curry said: “I would never infringe on the coaches. But it’s fun to share some of my insights when they ask.”

He was asked how much of his son’s skill was innate and how much was learned from him.

“When he was young, we worked on fundamentals and mechanics and shooting,” the elder Curry said. “But at some point, every young player has to be committed and dedicated. He has the work ethic.”

Dell Curry said he was enjoying his son’s success because he never had the same success at Virginia Tech. “This is what every father wishes for,” he said.

Stephen Curry has 103 points in three tournament games. Against Wisconsin, he scored 33, including six 3-pointers and a reverse layup off the glass on a baseline cut that dazzled even LeBron James, who sat near the court and said, “Wow!”

Russell Robinson, a top Kansas defender, seemed to dismiss some of Curry’s success. “Coach gives him the green light to knock down shots,” he said. “His teammates are behind him. Once you get those two things down pat, anybody can knock it down.”

When asked about Robinson’s comments, Curry said, “It’s just his opinion,” and conceded that he benefited from Davidson’s system. “I haven’t showed much of a one-on-one skill game kind of thing because that’s not what we needed,” he said.

Max Paulhus Gosselin, a defense-minded junior guard from Quebec, called the Davidson system “organized freedom.” Of Curry, he said: “Even if his nickname on the team is now Prime Time, he’s able to keep his head normal size.”

Back at the Dearborn Inn, where even staff members were wearing red and white T-shirts showing support for Davidson, the fans were milling about the lobby, giddy about their circumstances, greeting each other with squeals and hugs.

Some seemed to forget where they were. A woman walked up to the front desk and asked for a newspaper. “Do you have The Charlotte Observer?” she asked. No, she was told. “Would you like The Detroit Free Press?”

She bought one and joined dozens of her fellow travelers who sat and stood around the ornate furniture reading about their team’s victory the previous night. It was as if they had to see it in print to confirm that it was true.

Up in the fitness center, cheerleaders ran on the treadmills and a television blared in the corner. When it emitted the word “Davidson,” a few men gathered around it to hear Dick Vitale and Bob Knight on ESPN.

They stood silently, listening raptly. The basketball experts spoke of Davidson in the context of a possible trip to the Final Four. Two of the men looked at each other, smiled and shook their heads as if in disbelief. But it was on television; it had to be true.

From "Will's World"

Davidson's famous students
By Will Bryan, Davidson '08
We all thought that the spotlight was blinding last week as CBS, ESPN, and Sports Illustrated descended on our campus, at this point we are just closing our eyes and holding on to each other for dear life.

Upon getting to the hotel last night, Davidson students weren't just exclaiming about how they can't wait to read about this team in tomorrow's papers, they were also pumped about getting to read about themselves. Swarms of reporters and camera people have mobbed this now-famous student body because of their free trip to Detroit and their undying devotion to America's basketball team.

"They put my picture in the Detroit paper...I was quoted in the Cleveland paper...I was in the Charlotte Observer..."

Clad in our red "Witness" t-shirts, the hundreds of Davidson students in this Dearborn hotel have a pretty imposing appearance. This morning, students back on campus learned that they would be able to come up for Sunday's Elite 8 game as the Trustees found another five buses for another 250 students to support the Cats.

And while the Davidson Wildcats' men's basketball team continues to transcend the stereotypes of low-seeded, mid-major teams, Davidson's student body has done nothing but uphold many of the stereotypes cultivated about them.

"So I guess you guys will have to study all day tomorrow," joked a reporter after the game.

"Well, yeah, we will."

The hotel lobby is currently filled with Davidson students and their laptops, typing away at papers and reading up for next week's tests. The Wildcats are forty minutes away from the Final Four, and yet the foremost thing on everyone's mind today is next week's academic assignments.

You work hard and have fun in the basketball arena, but academics remain all-important. Davidson students and players will be getting back to campus on Monday morning with very little sleep, but they will be expected back in class. That's just how we do things here.

From ESPN.com

Even LeBron has to salute the brilliance of Curry, Davidson
By Pat Forde
ESPN.com

DETROIT -- Jason Richards was leading the Davidson break one more time, driving the ball straight down Wisconsin's throat, when he saw The Man spot up on the left wing.

Richards fired a pass to Stephen Curry, who caught it, squared up …

… and froze.

Badgers defender Joe Krabbenhoft, sprinting back to get a hand up on the deadliest shooter in college basketball, flew past, halfway back to Madison.

Psych.

Then swish.

Wide open, Curry flicked his right wrist, and everyone knew what was coming. Including the big fella in the brown T-shirt sitting in the front row behind the Davidson bench. He rose from his seat and stuck both arms in the air, three fingers aloft on each hand, as Curry's shot snapped the Ford Field net.

Can I get a witness, LeBron James?

Can I get one of the two best players on the planet to verify the truth unfolding before our star-struck eyes? Can we all agree that Curry is doing something not seen in March since Larry Bird did it 29 years ago -- a special talent carrying a team from nowhere to dizzying heights?

You know Hoopsworld has tilted on its axis when The Chosen One has chosen a kid from Davidson College as his favorite collegian -- and travels from Cleveland into hostile NBA territory to see him shoot the rock. Make no mistake, James was here to see Curry -- he asked the school for tickets, after watching the peach-fuzzed assassin blow up Gonzaga and Georgetown for 70 points in the first two rounds.

Curry responded by bringing James to his feet not once but twice, doing it again just three minutes after the 3 with a startlingly athletic reverse layup and a free throw. After the layup, Curry looked at the scoreboard and spied James exulting on the big screen.

That had to be a surreal moment for a guy who grew up in the ACC footprint without a single ACC scholarship offer.

"It's very cool for him to be here," Curry said, after insisting to interviewers that James got to see the Wildcats, plural, not just one Wildcat.

After watching Curry do it again -- shredding the Badgers' allegedly impenetrable defense for 33 points in a 73-56 smackdown -- you have to say James has a good eye for talent.

We are all witnesses, to use one of Nike's LeBronisms. The shirts in the Davidson cheering section said as much -- red with the word "Witness" on the front and "Wildcats" on the back. A box of them appeared in the team hotel Friday afternoon, and all the players got one.

Curry might need to go into witness protection, because the adulation is nationwide now. But before I jump into the lovefest with both feet, it's time to salute the brilliance of the Davidson team.

This was a basketball lecture rapped into Wisconsin's knuckles. The Badgers played most of the game a man down after an injury to guard Trevon Hughes, but that's no excuse. They were the inferior team.

All the Wildcats made key contributions while confidently executing coach Bob McKillop's superior game plan. Richards was flawless, racking up 13 assists and no turnovers. Post men Thomas Sander and Andrew Lovedale were a combined 7-of-7 from the field. Max Paulhus Gosselin had a team-high six rebounds and was voracious defensively.

"I could not be more pleased, because so many guys contributed in so many ways to make this a very special victory for Davidson College," McKillop said.

It also was a very embarrassing undressing for the impostor Badgers, who were beaten into submission with 12 minutes left to play.

These were your Big Ten champions, ladies and gentlemen, being absolutely punked by the champs of the Southern Conference. Wisconsin fans enjoy railing at the perceived lack of respect accorded coach Bo Ryan, but let's examine his body of work in the NCAA tournament, where reputations are really made: His nine Big Dance victories have come over teams seeded 9th, 12th, 13th, 11th, 14th, 10th, 15th, 14th and 11th.

And now, he's been run off the floor by a No. 10 seed. The key word being "run."

In Big Ten slogball, where scoring 70 points apparently is against the rules, there's no need to get back quickly on defense, because nobody pushes the ball upcourt. Especially after made baskets. That fact jumped out to Davidson on film.

"We like to speed up the game, and we knew they didn't get back on defense as well as some other teams we've played," Richards said.

So the Wildcats force-fed Bucky transition baskets all night. Then, in the second half, they carved up Wisconsin in the half court, as Curry subtly cut the Badgers' defense to ribbons.

Michael Flowers is considered one of the finest defensive guards in America, but as the game wore on, he was literally defenseless against Curry -- who has become the ultimate closer. Curry is averaging 25.7 points in the second half of NCAA games, and he's done it against Gonzaga, Georgetown and Wisconsin.

The savvy sophomore lulled Flowers to sleep at times, standing still in the corner, then exploding to life and slithering around screens until he popped free.

"What I do best is run around like a little kid off screens," Curry said. "… I try not to force anything. It's hard for a defense to sustain themselves for a whole 40 minutes. Eventually, you'll find yourself open. If you're patient, stick to the system that we've worked all year -- when guys slip up, you find yourself open."

For Curry, "open" is a relative term. When you can squeeze off a shot in a trice, six inches of clear air might as well be six feet.

"I think they did a good job of running him off of double screens, sometimes even triple screens," Flowers said. "… He doesn't need that much time to catch the ball and release it."

He hasn't needed much time to become a national phenomenon, either. Some of us have been clued into the kid's talent since last year, but nothing puts a collegian on the map like starring in March.

Now, with 103 points in three games, Curry will see his name on a list with guys like Glen Robinson (109 points), Bo Kimble (101) and Glen Rice (93). And his team will see its name on the list of No. 10 seeds to reach a regional final.

Davidson is the ninth school to do it and the first in six years. Only three of the previous eight beat a No. 3 seed to get to the final eight. And absolutely none of the previous eight won a Sweet 16 game by 17 whopping points.

"I hope they'll drop that Cinderella tag," Curry said. "We've shown we can play."

Especially No. 30, who showed it to LeBron James in the flesh.

View from the crowd at end of win over Wisconsin

Davidson/Wisconsin highlights









Davidson/Kansas preview

Curry overlooked

Davidson/Wisconsin postgame



From Ireland

Davidson Continues Dream Run Into Elite Eight
Reuters Mar 29, 2008

DETROIT—The Davidson Wildcats continued their dream run into the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament on Friday, taking another notable scalp with a 73-56 upset win over third-seeded Wisconsin Badgers.

The Wildcats, seeded 10th in the Midwest Region, were joined in the last eight by South Region second seed Texas Longhorns, who booked their place with an equally convincing 82-62 win over the third seed Stanford Cardinals.

Davidson, a tiny liberal arts school with the small enrolment (1,700) and high tuition ($41,000) better known for its free laundry service for students than its basketball program, has become this season's feel good story.

A David among NCAA Goliaths, Davidson arrived in the Sweet 16 in impressive style, knocking off seventh seed Gonzaga and second seed Georgetown, but produced its best against the favored Badgers.

Once again Davidson was led by a dazzling display for sharp-shooting Stephen Curry, who scored a game-high 33 points.

The son of former NBA player Dell Curry, the Davidson sophomore has been the tournament's offensive sensation, pouring in 103 points in three games.

The crowd of 57,028 at Ford Field, home of NFL team the Detroit Lions, included a vocal contingent of Davidson students, who took advantage of their school's offer a free bus trip to Detroit, hotel rooms and tickets to anyone wanting to cheer on their team.

The Wildcats made the long trip from just outside Charlotte, North Carolina worthwhile for their supporters.

Tied 36-36 at the half, the Wildcats roared out of the break with a 10-2 run to take charge and continued to punish the reeling Badgers, opening a 67-48 advantage with just under 10 minutes to play and cruising to a comfortable 17 point victory.

Davidson will face the winner between number one seed Kansas and Villanova, who play later on Friday in the Midwest Regional final, on Sunday for a spot in the Final Four.

Lebron likes Steph

Davidson's Curry wins King's favor
By: Dave Hackenberg
Saturday, March 29, 2008

Even LeBron James came to his feet and imitated the release.

With 13 minutes left in last night's NCAA Midwest Regional semifinal, Davidson guard Stephen Curry took a pass in transition in the far left corner. From his right flew Wisconsin's 6-7 Joe Krabbenhoft, timing his leap perfectly, ready to swat the shot through the end zone at Ford Field, maybe across the street into Comerica Park.

Curry could not have seen him coming, but he must have sensed it, felt it. He somehow kept his feet on the ground and reeled the ball in and, after Krabbenhoft achieved lift-off and flew harmlessly past, calmly lined up a 3-point shot and caught all net.

LeBron liked it.

But LeBron and some 57,000 others in the dome hadn't seen anything yet.

About four minutes later, that all changed. Point guard Jason Richards hit Curry on a baseline cut and he made a circus move under the basket and twisted and seemed to go horizontal for an instant and twirled in a reverse layup, and this time LeBron came to his feet along with everybody else and did a little dance.

Davidson is the darling of the Big Dance. But forget that Cinderella stuff. Enough of this underdog hooey and talk of tiny, little Davidson.

"We've got Steph Curry," said Wildcats coach Bob McKillop. "And that's pretty good stuff."

Yes it is.

Curry scored 33 points last night and Davidson mauled Wisconsin, the pride of the Big Ten, in the second half to take a 73-56 win. He scored 30 in a second round win over Georgetown, the pride of the Big East. He had 40 in the opening round against Gonzaga, the pride of the nation's mid-majors.

Next up? Kansas, the pride of the Big 12.

The Wildcats certainly have plenty to be proud of after running their winning streak to 25 games. They turned the tables on Wisconsin, the team known for defense, and held the Badgers to .238 shooting in the second half. Richards, the point guard, had 13 assists and zero turnovers, which McKillop called "unparalleled in a Sweet Sixteen game." It is pretty much unparalleled at any time and in any place.

But Davidson is one of eight teams still standing because of Curry, the sweetest shooter on the planet -- yes, LeBron's planet.

His release is supersonic, his shot silky and effortless. It is almost like watching a diver off the high board, tucking perfectly and disappearing beneath the surface of the water with hardly a ripple. When Curry shoots, you're surprised if the net even moves. It's that clean.

In the first half, which was a battle of 3-point shooting and physical, half-court offense, Curry would come off a screen against a good, quick defender in Wisconsin's Michael Flowers, have no more than a sliver of daylight, and still get off perfect-looking shots.

In the second half, with the tempo ratcheted up and

Davidson winning the transition battle, Curry was a baby-faced assassin. He hit step-back 3s, he fired off assists when triple-teamed, he banked a fall-away shot from the elbow off the glass, and he had four steals. He was a highlight reel.

"That's just how Steph Curry plays," Richards said. "It just shows what a great player he is. He's done it for us all year."

For most of that year he did it in the relative anonymity of the Southern Conference. Now, all of America's eyes are open to his talent.

For a half, the Wildcats were physical, banging on the boards, not backing down, "hitting flesh" as Curry put it. In the second half, they just ran away from the Badgers. Curry's hesitation trey made it 54-45, back-to-back 3s by Richards and Curry made it 60-45, and Curry's circus move for a layup made it 63-46.

There were still more than nine minutes to play, but the Badgers are not a team built to come from behind. That basket nailed it. Game. Even LeBron knew it.

"That's pretty cool," Curry said. "A guy like LeBron, who's in the spotlight, and he's coming to watch us play. It's pretty cool to give him something to be happy about and cheer about, to entertain him."

There aren't many players who can entertain King James.

It takes a fellow royal.

Call him Sir Steph.

Aw, heck, go ahead. Call him King Curry.

From The Baltimore Sun

Davidson in elite company
Curry continues roll with 33 points as Wildcats topple Wisconsin

From Wire Reports
March 29, 2008

DETROIT - Stephen Curry knocked down yet another three, thumped his chest and pointed skyward.

Heavens yes, Davidson is marching on.

Curry scored more than 30 points for a third straight game, and the 10th-seeded Wildcats pulled off another stunner last night, rolling over No. 3 seed Wisconsin, 73-56, to advance to the Midwest Regional final.

Davidson (29-6) extended the nation's longest winning streak to 25 and will play Kansas tomorrow for a trip to the Final Four.

Yes, add another defensive powerhouse to Curry's list of victims. A week after shredding Gonzaga's and Georgetown's vaunted defenses, the son of former NBA sharpshooter Dell Curry dismantled the Badgers and defensive specialist Michael Flowers.

Curry outscored the Badgers by himself in the second half, 22-20.

"It's hard for a defense to sustain themselves for a whole 40 minutes. Eventually, you'll find yourself open," said Curry, who finished with 33 points on 11-for-22 shooting, including six threes. "It's just being patient and sticking to the system that we have at Davidson."

Wisconsin (31-5) was holding opponents to 53.9 points, best in the nation.

Davidson looked right at home inside the monstrous Ford Field venue. The school's Board of Trustees provided free bus fare, tickets and a hotel room for students who wanted to make the 11-hour ride from North Carolina, and a few hundred took them up on the offer.

The Wildcats shot 49 percent, including 12-for-24 from three-point range.

Jason Richards added 11 points and 13 assists for Davidson.

This is the farthest Davidson has advanced since Lefty Driesell's squad reached the regional finals in 1969, when the Wildcats lost to North Carolina.

"Words can't describe it, but at the same time, we believe in ourselves and what we can do," said Andrew Lovedale, who scored 12 points. "We are happy, but not totally content."

Flowers led the Badgers with 12 points. Brian Butch and Jason Bohannon added 11 each.

From Cleveland.com

Stephen Curry and LeBron James: A final take
Posted by Doug Lesmerises
March 29, 2008

When Stephen Curry showed up at his Detroit hotel Thursday night, the Witness T-shirts were already there. When the seven busloads of Davidson students arrived in Detroit on Friday evening, the Witness T-shirts were waiting for them, too.

"That's pretty cool, to have a shirt like that made for the Wildcats," Curry said.

When the Davidson students arrived at Ford Field on Friday for Davidson's Midwest Regional semifinal with Wisconsin, the LeBron James rumors were already hot. Maybe they would witness him witnessing them. He bought a ticket from the assistant women's soccer coach ... he'll be at the game ... in a Witness T-shirt ... rooting for Davidson.

"He's a smart man," said Davidson senior Ashley Cramer.

"He knows who to root for," said her friend, fellow senior Harper Addison.

With the Cavs in town for a game with the Pistons on Saturday night, James did make the game, though his seats right behind press row were likely not provided by a soccer coach.

His presence was noted by an appearance on the Ford Field scoreboard. The Detroit fans booed. Curry saw him on the board while at the foul line. James had already singled Curry out for praise earlier in the week.

"He's a very, very, very, very, very good basketball player," James said. "I don't know if he's coming out (in the draft) this year. When he does, he has a spot."

Asked courtside why he was there, James said, "I'm here to watch the kid."

"I don't know what his schedule is like, to make an NCAA game," Curry said after scoring 33 points in Davidson's 73-56 win. Many of the questions he was asked after the victory were about James showing up. "I know he's greatness."

James saw greatness too, moved enough to rise from his seat several times after Curry plays.

"Steph can do it all," Davidson point guard Jason Richards said. "That's just how Steph Curry plays. He's done it all for us all year."

He's just the fourth player in NCAA history to score at least 30 points in his first four NCAA Tournament games. Smiling, happy, confident, Curry is a good winner.

"It's not surprising to win these games," Curry said. "This is just the confidence that we had."

Curry had no idea James was coming, wasn't sure which team he was rooting for. He's finally told what James said, that he was there to watch him.

"It's pretty cool," Curry said. "That also ties into the fact that he's here to watch us. Actually, I don't like to tie into that because I don't play for anybody in the stands. I play for God and my family, so anybody in the stands is cool. I hope I can entertain them, but when it comes down to it, I don't say I'm going to go out there and say I'm going to play for Lebron. But still, it's very cool that he was here."