Thursday, March 27, 2008

Don't call me "Cinderella"

Never mind the glass slipper
28-win team doesn't need Cinderella 'clichés'

Vince Ellis, McClatchy Tribune Services
Published: Thursday, March 27, 2008
At first glace, Davidson College appears to be your typical NCAA tournament darling.

It's not very big -- the enrolment for the school located near Charlotte, N.C., is only about 1,700. It also plays in the Southern Conference, which is probably better known for football than basketball. (Appalachian State, which stunned Michigan last season, is a league member.)

But as the 10th-seeded Wildcats prepare to face third-seeded Wisconsin in a Sweet 16 game Friday in Detroit, Davidson coach Bob McKillop isn't exactly embracing the underdog role.

"I don't dwell on clichés like Cinderella," McKillop said.

"We are a basketball team that has won 28 games. As we have faced each challenge in the postseason, we have shown we have the ability to adjust."

He has a point.

Sophomore shooting guard Stephen Curry has been, without a doubt, the best player in the NCAA tournament. Curry averaged 35 points per game in the Wildcats' upsets of No. 7 seed Gonzaga and No. 2 seed Georgetown last weekend.

In both games, Davidson (28-6) had to overcome early deficits after it appeared Curry was bottled up. Then he scored 30 points in the second half against Gonzaga and 20 in the second half against Georgetown.

After getting off to a 4-6 start, which included tough losses to North Carolina, Duke and UCLA, the Wildcats have U.S. college basketball's longest winning streak at 24 games.

But the coach is quick to say his team is more than Curry.

"Step Curry is a magnificent player and deserves all the accolades that have come his way," McKillop said.

"But our team understands that it takes a team.

"If you want to be an individual, you should have gone and played golf and tennis.

"That [Sweet 16] banner is owned by everybody on the team. Whether you are on the scout team or you are a guy that delivers the ball, you are a part of the team."

Other standouts for Davidson are senior point guard Jason Richards, who is averaging eight assists per game, and 6-foot-8 junior forward Andrew Lovedale. Lovedale has become a threat inside and averaged 11.5 points and nine rebounds in the two NCAA tournament games.

Davidson played its first two tournament games in Raleigh, N.C. Now it's on to the Motor City, but McKillop said not to be surprised if you hear a lot of Davidson chants Friday night.

"We've been fortunate that wherever we have gone, we have travelled well," McKillop said. "Our fan base is an intricate part of who we are.

"It's a relationship that's not built because they can make jump shots. It's because of who they are."
-- Detroit Free Press

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