Davidson, Curry uncertain about NCAA tournament Print
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Thursday, 12 March 2009 12:49
NCAAB Headline News


 DAVIDSON, N.C. (AP) -Stephen Curry walked onto the practice court Thursday and showed no rustiness from three days off, consistently drilling long jumpers in a familiar scene for anyone who saw him star in last season's NCAA tournament.
But moments earlier the Davidson star had been forced into a different, unfamiliar role: salesman. After losing in the Southern Conference semifinals Sunday, Curry was making Davidson's case to be included in this year's NCAA field.
``We are 26-7. The seven losses are all against 20-win teams. We have some good wins against N.C. State and West Virginia,'' Curry began. ``I think we showed we can play and actually win games. Things didn't go well late in the season, but based on last year, if we get a shot we can do something with it.''
59-52 loss to College of Charleston that ended their three-year reign atop the lower-tier league.
``We've had three days off and it's kind of felt like the offseason not knowing our future, really,'' Curry said. ``It's been a weird week, confusing.''
Trying to sort out bubble teams is always difficult, and Davidson presents the NCAA committee with an unusual challenge.
Mid-major teams with an RPI that high are usually written off, regardless of how many wins they have. But Davidson showed that maybe that criteria isn't right.
Consider that last year the Wildcats entered the tournament as an automatic qualifier at 26-6 with no wins against the RPI top 50. They then upset Gonzaga, Georgetown and Wisconsin before Jason Richards' 3-pointer bounced off the rim at the buzzer in a 59-57 loss to eventual national champion Kansas.
This year, Davidson has a win against West Virginia, 26th in the RPI. It's lost to four ranked teams: No. 6 Oklahoma, No. 9 Duke, No. 16 Butler and No. 24 Purdue. It went 1-2 against College of Charleston (26-8) and, the other loss came to The Citadel (20-12) when Curry sat out with a sprained ankle.
Plus, there must be some Curry formula for the NCAA selection committee to consider while holed up in that Indianapolis conference room, right?
``If anything we did last year should say is don't make judgments based on what conference a team is in,'' Davidson coach Bob McKillop said.
McKillop stressed Thursday that Davidson's RPI is more a product of its 20-game conference schedule, which will be reduced to 18 next season. The Wildcats hold six league wins against teams with RPIs of 300 or above, giving them a schedule strength ranked 159.
``How can you do something with an RPI when you play 20 of your games in the conference? You play a conference game and your RPI gets hurt,'' McKillop said. ``I think there's a lot of spin we can put on that we're a pretty good team, and not far from what we were last year.''
But this club clearly has flaws, too. After Richards graduated, McKillop moved Curry to point guard. While the junior averaged a nation-best 28.6 points a game and 5.7 assists, 19th in the country, Curry has mostly had to create his own shot.
``He kept everybody's confidence going and then we fed off him,'' Curry said of Richards. ``That leadership mentality, I don't think we had that this year - myself included. I may have been the first option for both plays, and if it broke down we had to scramble to get things going. That's where we kind of miss Jason.''
If Curry and the Wildcats are denied an NCAA bid, they are guaranteed a spot in the NIT by winning the SoCon regular season title. It means Curry will play at least one more game for the tiny liberal arts school before deciding whether to turn pro.
``As soon as we play our last game I'll sit down with my parents,'' Curry said. ``My dad (former NBA player Dell Curry) has a lot of information about projections and all that stuff that he's got over the course of the year that he's withholding so it's not a distraction for me now.
``I'll get that information and then figure out what's the best thing to do. Either way, I don't think it'll be a bad decision. To go or stay and get my degree and play one more year for Coach and my teammates.''
But Curry insists he's only thinking about Davidson's next game, and he holds out hope will be in the NCAA tournament, giving Davidson a chance to duplicate its 2008 magic.
``I'm going to watch it on Sunday,'' Curry said, ``thinking we're going to get in.''
 

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