Luke’s Locker Room

The day was March 21, 2008.

Another regular season of college basketball had just come to a close, and it was time for the always unpredictable March Madness.

Higher seeds would lose to lower seeds. Buzzer-beaters would happen every night. Chaos was everywhere.

On March 20, 2008, the basketball world at large had no familiarity with the name Stephen Curry.

They didn’t know Curry led the Davidson Wildcats to a 26-6 regular season record and an unprecedented 20-0 record in conference play while averaging 25.5
points per game.

But on March 21, Curry had his national debut.

He first introduced himself to the seventh-seeded Gonzaga Bulldogs — traditionally seen as one of the best mid-major basketball programs in the country.

Curry was not phased, going 8-10 from 3-point land and dropping 30 in the second half to lead the No. 10-seeded Wildcats to an 82-76 victory.

“Ok, this kid can shoot,” basketball fans said.

Next up was the Georgetown Hoyas — the No. 2 seed in the bracket and No. 8 nationally.

No problem for Curry. This time he dropped 25 points in the second half as the Wildcats erased a 17-point deficit to the stun the Hoyas.

“This skinny, little dude is actually a pretty good player,” basketball fans said.

The Wisconsin Badgers were the No. 3 seed and next on the list for Davidson.

The Wildcats made quick work of the Badgers, advancing to the Elite Eight after 33 points from Curry and a 73-56 victory.

“Holy cow, this guy is going to lead Davidson to the Final Four,” basketball fans said.

Unfortunately for Curry, the No.1-seeded Kansas Jayhawks had other plans as the Wildcats fell in the Elite Eight by a score of 57-59. Curry had 25 points and set the record for most 3-point field goals made in a season.

Curry and the Wildcats were the ‘Cinderella story’ team of 2008.

The little guy from a conference few pay attention to showed up and knocked off some of the biggest teams in the game.

Curry drew national attention to the Wildcats and to himself.

He returned for his junior year the next season and averaged 28.6 points per game on his way to being named a consensus first team All-American.

His play caught the attention of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors — so much so that they drafted him with the No. 7 overall pick in the 2009 NBA draft.

Is there a chance that Curry could still have been drafted if he didn’t explode onto the scene during his sophomore season? Sure, there’s a chance, but if it weren’t for March Madness and the Wildcats having their explosive 2008 postseason run, I don’t think Curry’s story would be the same as it is today.

He wouldn’t have garnered national attention and maybe not the attention of a lot of NBA scouts.

They might have taken one look at him and ruled him out because he was too small.

And that is what makes March Madness so captivating.

Stories like Curry’s come to light, and they show fans everywhere that David can defeat Goliath.

So I can’t wait for another month of chaos in college basketball — particularly because a lot of the games in the first two rounds where a lot of upsets usually take place will be on spring break.

There is nothing I am looking forward to more on spring break than doing absolutely nothing except watching college basketball for hours on end.

I’m pretty sure I wrote that same sentence during bowl season this past college football season.

I am pumped.

March Madness grants everyone the opportunity to ignore their responsibilities and focus on the important things in life — 18-22 year-olds divided into teams fighting over who can put a ball in a hoop more while their middle-aged coaches yell at them.

What is more entertaining than March Madness? Nothing. Have a great March.

DILLARD is the sports editor.

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