Thursday, March 20, 2008

Media Day at NCAA Tournament

Welcome to Will's World from Raleigh, N.C. We are here on the media day before tomorrow's first round games. Although it doesn't have the same feel as the Super Bowl media day, there are definitely a few nerves among the fans and Davidson's little media contingent. Tomorrow's a big day.

The morning press conference was pretty same-old, same-old as Jason Richards and Stephen Curry fielded most of the questions about the team and themselves. From the age-old VT questions to how great of a leader J-Rich is, we have all heard these before and the players gave the same answers. I will say that this press conference felt a bit tame at the beginning because most of the questions came from regional media like the Observer, the News and Record and the Salisbury Post. Unlike regionals in Dayton and Buffalo, most of the media here have covered Davidson all season and there weren't any new questions from reporters that didn't know anything about the team. As everyone got warmed up, you began to get a feel for each writer's story angle from their questions. There's an "academic NCAA team" story out there, a "Jason as leader" story, a "diversity of team and campus" story, a "Davidson wants to be where Gonzaga is" story, and possibly a "McKillop is still at Davidson--Why?" story.

After the press conference we all convened at the court to watch the Wildcats kick off the practice sessions. Each team has exactly 45 minutes on the court and the Wildcats went through some basic drills before ending in a mini-scrimmage. The players and coaches looked really loose on the court as they were flying around and engaging in lively banter.

The Charlotte news crews were patrolling the stands looking for Wildcat fans to interview for a nightly segment. Poor Trip Cherry...he was one of the only Davidson fans wearing a red t-shirt and everyone descended upon him. Although he makes for a great written interview, Cherry declined to be on TV and the camera crews were left to badger the ball kids in their khakis for a story.

Tomorrow has been declared Davidson Day by the town of Davidson as everyone has been told to wear red throughout the day. Excitement about the Wildcats and Zags is not limited to Mecklenburg county, however. The matchup has already been trumpeted by all of the national media as one of the best matchups of the first round. Even North Carolina's Roy Williams agrees.

"I would not call that a mid-major matchup," Williams said in his press conference this afternoon. "Those are two very exciting and high-powered teams. If I were a plain ol' basketball fan, I would make sure that I watched that game."

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