Wednesday, March 14th, 2007...1:06 am

Tourney Stuff To Watch

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One of the reasons I fell in love with college basketball as a kid was because there seemed to be an infinite universe of schools, players and storylines. I used to wonder how every team had such a good record. What happened to the teams with bad records? Were they like the guys in the WWF who had no nickname and lost every single match on Saturday mornings?

I loved how players like Andrew Gaze, Nadav Hennefeld and Scotty Thurman (remember 40 minutes of hell) would suddenly appear, capture everyone’s attention and just as easily fade into oblivion. I loved the Runnin Rebels and the Fab Five. I loved trying to figure out how different conferences stacked up against each other and checking out the standings in USA Today. I wondered why the leading scorer in the country was usually unknown and I followed the top 25 poll religiously. I loved discovering guys like Mister Jennings, Steve Nash and hearing my dad talk about Cleveland State’s run to the Sweet 16 in 1986.

I still love uncovering amazing storylines. I usually try to chow down on as much March Madness information as I can so I can follow along as these stories play out. I also like to study up on teams I will be seeing live. Here are a few good stories that I found. Add articles, links, videos and rumors to the comments section.

UNLV Reserve Joe Darger and his unique family
Darger is a reserve forward to the running rebels and a brother to 17 others. You see, Darger is the son of a polygamist and his father has two wives and two familes. They all live together in Utah and travel together to Joe’s games. I’m hoping they make the trek to Chicago because I got to meet them all. The last time we went to Chicago to see the tournament we saw Ricky Paulding’s family all wearing his Missouri jersey. Imagine there are 18 people wearing a Joe Darger jersey in the arena on Friday!

Texas A&M – Corpus Christi
I’m seeing both No. 1 Kansas and No. 2 Wisconsin play on Friday. That means I’m seeing Corpus Christi and Niagra! You don’t really expect the 15 or 16 seed to win but you can damn well dream. Last year I saw Albany lead by 12 over UCONN with 12 minutes left only to fall apart down the stretch. This year I’m putting my faith in Corpus Chriti. They have only been around as a team for eight years but have a coach that has been there before, a seven foot center, and guys who come off the bench named Scooby and J-Wet. Check them out in this ESPN2 article.

On the other hand, half the team at Niagra spent the first third of the season suspended because they beat the crap out of a baseball player. Now the players are yapping about overcoming adversity. The coach doesn’t seem all that apologetic either. Not sure I’m down with these thugs.

I was reading the times on the train yesterday and came across this article by a guy on the Penn basketball team. It might be the best article I’ve ever read. The fact that this kid can write like this and also plays in the big dance makes him my hero.

Other Stuff To Chew On

  • Marty Pocius on Duke only has 4 fingers on his right hand
  • Winthrop has a 3:1 girl to guy ratio.
  • Jokim Noah Dances like my boy Vant
  • Kevin Durant is the second coming