NCAA tournament: Seen & heard in Salt Lake City

2013-03-21T00:00:00Z 2014-07-08T15:32:51Z NCAA tournament: Seen & heard in Salt Lake CityPatrick Finley Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
March 21, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Pitt PG pride

Sean Miller is among the most famous point guards in Pitt history. Which means that Panthers point guard Tray Woodall has heard stories about the UA coach.

"For the most part, I think we got the same story," Woodall said. "He was the guy that made the pass for the famous dunk in the Fieldhouse."

That was the "Send It In, Jerome!" play, in which Jerome Lane shattered a backboard in 1988.

"So that's the most important story I heard," Woodall said. "And he was a great free-throw shooter at the university, and one of the guys that paved the way for myself to be a point guard and leave my legacy here at Pitt.

Dixon to USC?

Pitt coach Jamie Dixon was asked about speculation he'd be the next USC coach.

"I guess it's the time of year - things get talked about," he said. "We don't talk about other jobs. I don't think it's the right thing to do. We're used to it, I guess.

"And it happens to everybody, I think, this time of year, and it's speculation, I guess. So I don't give it much thought."

He said "you can't keep" recruits and players from talking about it but that there were other distractions he was more concerned about.

"I think they know the task at hand," Dixon said, "and we know the task at hand, and we can tell by their commitment and my commitment, I think they're pretty sure of what's going on."

Quotable

"I'd like Miami of Florida, because I enjoy going to the beach. Leaving in January, leaving Wichita and heading down to Coral Cables, spending time at South Beach."

Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall, tongue firmly in cheek, about who should be added to the Ohio Valley Conference after Creighton announced its departure Wednesday

Underdogs

Facing No. 1 seed Gonzaga today, Southern isn't as foreign to the NCAA tournament as you might think.

From 1981 to 1989, the Jaguars reached the Big Dance five times. In 1993, No. 13-seeded Southern even defeated Georgia Tech 93-78 in the first round at McKale Center.

"Our coach told us 20 years ago, Southern was in the Top 25, and nobody knew what Gonzaga was," senior guard Derick Beltran said. "Tables are turned now. But we tried to bring Southern back to where it used to be in the '80s and '90s and stuff like that."

Coach Roman Banks called Gonzaga "an example of what we're trying to do at Southern University," and that, "actually, when you watch their program and how they play, we're similar in many ways."

He said his team doesn't view itself as the underdog today.

"It could be the Lakers you're playing, and we want to play the game a certain way," Banks said. "And if we play a certain way, and compete a certain way, then we can obviously win a ballgame."

Haircut

Before Wichita State boarded a flight to Salt Lake City, Carl Hall did something strange - he cut his dreadlocks.

"It's different, man," the sixth-year forward said. "I haven't seen this person in, like, five years.

"I haven't gotten used to it yet. I lay in bed and night, and I'm rubbing my head, wondering, 'What did I do?'"

Teammate Cleanthony Early said he was "moving faster in practice," and coach Gregg Marshall said he wasn't as tall without his hair.

Hall said his dreadlocks might have helped him.

"Sometimes when I make post moves," he said, "I think my hair distracts the other player."

Hall called Marshall after he did it, the coach said with a smile. Marshall called the timing "a little odd," but said he thought the haircut looked great.

"He looks a lot like his mom," Marshall said. "She's a pretty lady. I'm not saying he's pretty. But he looks a lot like his mom."

The big number

1 in 128 billion

The odds of a basketball fan picking a perfect bracket, DePaul mathematics professor Jeff Bergen told Yahoo Sports

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