Every year a productive player seems to emerge on the NCAA tournament stage from a small school, leaving coaches and fans to wonder, "Why didn't we recruit him?"
This year it's Lehigh's C.J. McCollum, who scored 30 points in an upset win over Duke.
Among the interested suitors in McCollum were Bowling Green, Kent State and Akron — although they didn't offer scholarships — but none of the major schools. Few figured at the time that McCollum, just 5-foot-6 as a junior in high school, would sprout to 6-foot-3 and become the nation's fifth-leading scorer.
RULES ARE RULES: There were critical lane-violation calls by officials late in the UNC Asheville-Syracuse and Xavier-Notre Dame games, both involving players who ran in from behind the 3-point arc too early.
The rule requires that any player lined up behind the arc must wait for the ball to hit the rim before sprinting in for a rebound.
"Obviously when you're in that situation in a game, you're trying to get that little extra jump to get there a little quicker should the free throw be missed, so I certainly understand the thinking of the player that violated it," Creighton coach Greg McDermott said. "But I think the rule book needs to be called as it's written. And if we as coaches form like a rules committee that set the rules and we don't like the rules, then we need to change it. But the referee's responsibility in my opinion is to call it as they're written, and they shouldn't be criticized if they do that."
DON'T CALL IT AN UPSET: Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton wants everyone to call these "upset" games for what they are: just good basketball.
Hamilton doesn't buy into the notion that better seeds mean better teams, so victories like Lehigh over Duke or Norfolk State over Missouri shouldn't come as such a surprise.
"I said prior to coming to the tournament that they need to eliminate the word 'upset' from the vocabulary," Hamilton said Saturday. "The process we go by evaluating teams and putting them in positions and whether or not they're 16, three, four, five — I think it's very difficult to be accurate with that."
SMOTHERED AND COVERED: It's the simple things that make Darius Johnson-Odom happy. With Marquette assigned to Louisville for the first weekend of the NCAA tournament, the Golden Eagles guard made a beeline for Waffle House on Thursday night.
"I'm from North Carolina. There's not too many Waffle Houses in Wisconsin. Actually, none at all," said Johnson-Odom, who grew up in Raleigh, N.C. "I enjoyed that."
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