Top 10 NCAA Hoop Cinderella Men

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Top 10 NCAA Hoop Cinderella Men

Postby rlee » Thu Dec 27, 2007 10:05 pm

Top 10 NCAA Hoop Cinderella Men
by Jim Weber

With all the unpredictability in the NCAA Tournament, only one thing is certain each year: Cinderella is always the star of the show. Last season, George Mason shocked the college basketball world by cheating midnight to dance all the way to the Final Four.

The Patriots also proved that every Cinderella team has an individual in particular who captivates the nation's attention by willing his team to victory.

It could be a player looking like the boy next door or a tattooed giant from a trailer park. Some have catchy nicknames. Others triumph over personal tragedy. And every so often, it isn't even a player, but rather a coach.

No matter what the case, these are the Top 10 Cinderella Men, whose names and games we will never forget.

#10 Harold Arceneaux (Weber State)

Better known as simply "The Show," Arceneaux led No. 14 Weber State to a 76-74 win over No. 3 North Carolina in the 1999 tournament.

Years later, then-Carolina coach Bill Guthridge used one word to describe Arceneaux's performance to the St. Petersburg Times: "unconscious."

How else do you explain a 36-point performance against a college basketball powerhouse, 20 of which came in the second half? Arceneaux hit 14 of his 26 shots from the field and five 3-pointers despite constant double teams.

To top it off, he then sealed the game with two free throws in the final seconds.

"The Show" followed that up with 32 points against Florida in the second round, bowing out in an overtime loss.

#9 Mouse McFadden (Cleveland State)

McFadden had the perfect name to play the underdog role, not to mention a great story.

A New York City playground legend and high school dropout that got his GED to play for the Vikings, he burst onto the scene as a 20-year-old freshman in the 1986 tournament. With his lightning speed, McFadden helped the No. 14 Vikings pull out an 83-79 shocker against Bobby Knight and Indiana in the first round.

He exploded for 23 points in a second round victory over St. Joseph's and was deemed the breakout star of the tournament after hitting 10 of his 15 shots to send CSU to the Sweet Sixteen.

There they lost to David Robinson and Navy by one point.

#8 Tony Price (Penn)

Now the only conference that does not offer athletic scholarships, there's always something special about a Cinderella team from the Ivy League.

So while the 1979 tournament will always be remembered for "Bird vs. Magic," people haven't forgotten about Penn's Tony Price.

Slated as a No. 9 seed, the Quakers defeated Jim Valvano and Iona in the preliminary round before shocking North Carolina, Syracuse and St. John's to reach the Final Four.

Price carried the team through the East Regional and was named its MVP after averaging more than 23 points per game on their march to Salt Lake City.

Unfortunately, Price didn't have nearly enough magic for Earvin Johnson and Michigan State in the Final Four, as the Quakers lost by 34 despite Price's 18 points.

#7 Roosevelt Chapman (Dayton)

Earning the nickname "Velvet" on the streets of Brooklyn, Roosevelt Chapman wasn't fazed by the bright lights of the NCAA Tournament.

As a No. 10 seed in 1984, the Flyers knocked off LSU and Oklahoma in the first two rounds. Chapman put up an astounding 41 points against Wayman Tisdale's Sooners, sending the campus into a frenzy.

Thousands formed a tunnel for the team bus as the Flyers took off for the Sweet Sixteen in Los Angeles. And the dream didn't end there, as Chapman put up another 22 points to defeat Detlef Schrempf and the Washington Huskies.

Only eventual national champion Georgetown could ground the Flyers, ending their run in the West Regional final.

#6 Kevin Pittsnogle (West Virginia)

People couldn't take their eyes off this 6-foot-11 giant sharpshooter with a body full of tattoos and a funny haircut.

A reserve at the beginning of February, Pittsnogle earned his way back into the starting lineup in time for the 2005 tournament.

After shocking Wake Forest in double-overtime of the second round, Pittsnogle became the John Daly of college basketball. His name even became a verb, as his victims were deemed "Pittsnogled."

After racking up 22 points in a win over Texas Tech, Pittsnogle cemented his legacy in the Elite Eight, hitting six triples and finishing with 25 points in a losing effort.

On top of all that, Pittsnogle led the Mountaineers back to the Sweet Sixteen in 2006.

#5 Fennis Dembo (Wyoming)

In 1987, this Cowboy had the entire country asking, "Who names their kid Fennis Dembo?"

The last of 11 children with his twin sister, Fenise, Dembo scored 16 points to lead No. 12 Wyoming to a first round upset of Virginia.

Known as a huge trash-talker, Dembo then squared off with one of the biggest loudmouths of all time: UCLA's Reggie Miller.

Dembo's game did the talking against the Bruins, as he piled up 41 points by hitting seven 3-pointers and going a perfect 16-for-16 at the free throw line. The Cowboys won 78-68.

Even his heroics weren't enough for Wyoming in the Sweet Sixteen, as he scored 27 more points in a loss to UNLV.

#4 Bryce Drew (Valparaiso)

It's simply known around Valparaiso as "The Shot."

With 2.5 seconds remaining in the 1998 first round against Ole Miss and trailing by two, No. 13 Valparaiso pulled out the miracle play it practiced once a week – "Pacer."

Guard Jamie Sykes inbounded the ball to forward Bill Jenkins past midcourt, who shoveled the ball to Drew. The buzzer-beating 3-pointer and swan dive that followed turned into one of the most memorable moments in tournament history.

The All-American son playing for his father carried the Crusaders on his back again in the next round vs. Florida State. Drew scored 22 points and hit two crucial free throws in an 83-77 overtime win, sending Valpo to the Sweet Sixteen where they fell to Rhode Island.

#3 Bobby Joe Hill (Texas Western)

Courtesy of UTEP Athletic Department Now credited as the game that broke the color barrier in college basketball, Bobby Joe Hill was the star of the 1966 championship game against Kentucky.

Finishing with a game-high 20 points, the 5-foot-10 Hill will always be remembered for steals on consecutive possessions that led to two layups.

Texas Western went on to win 72-65 and Kentucky coach Adolph Rupp credited those steals as the turning point of the game.

Hill averaged over 20 points per game during the Miners' run to the title.

After his death in 2002 at the age of 59 due to a heart attack, over 600 people attended his funeral to mourn his passing and a columnist for the El Paso Times called him the most beloved athlete ever to play in El Paso.

#2 Jim Larranaga (George Mason)

Instead of a player, it was George Mason coach Jim Larranaga who became the national media darling.

The stories about this carefree coach are now legendary – like the time he had his players release butterflies to symbolize their individual journeys and metamorphosis.

Before the tournament, he proclaimed he would have more fun than any other coach in the tournament.

He sure did. The eleventh-seeded Patriots went all the way to the Final Four, knocking off college basketball powerhouses Michigan State, North Carolina, and Connecticut along the way.

The Carolina game summed up Larranaga. Before the game he told his players dressed in their green uniforms to think of themselves as kryptonite and afterward, he seized the moment by dancing in the locker room.

#1 Bo Kimble (Loyola Marymount)

Who can ever forget Bo Kimble?

After Loyola Marymount's Hank Gathers collapsed on the floor during the West Coast Conference tournament and died, his childhood friend Kimble became a man on a mission in the NCAA Tournament.

First, he honored Gathers by shooting the first free throw of each game left handed, an image that will always be remembered by college basketball fans. He made all three attempts he took.

He also posted mind-boggling numbers.

In a first round upset of New Mexico State, Kimble poured his heart out for Gathers with 45 points and 18 rebounds in a Herculean effort.

No. 11 Loyola Marymount then knocked off defending national champion Michigan, as Kimble scored 37 of the team's 149 points, still a tournament record.

After squeezing past Alabama, Kimble had 42 points in a losing effort to eventual national champion UNLV in the Elite Eight. When he left the court with 1:03 remaining, Kimble got a standing ovation for the most courageous tournament performance ever.
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