One of the best college basketball players in the NCAA Tournament happens to be named Hanna Jump. How wonderful is that?
She is a Stanford guard, leads the Pac-12 with 94 3-pointers, and the Psychology major was named conference Scholar Athlete of the Year with a 3.75 GPA. Jump is one of many reasons to tune into March Madness as the fun begins this week. Here, in random order, are some others.
— BRBB: Indiana University’s Big Red Basketball Band.
— ZACH EDEY: Purdue’s 7-foot-4 and 300-pound star is the most dominant force in the game right now. He averages 21.9 points per game, 12.8 rebounds and 2.3 blocks.
— TOP SEEDS (Men): Alabama, Houston, Kansas, Purdue. (Women): South Carolina, Indiana, Virginia Tech, Stanford
— 16 SEEDS: Sixteenth seeds are 1-143 all time in the men’s tournament. The one winner was University of Maryland-Baltimore County, which knocked off No. 1 seed Virginia in 2018. In the women’s tournament, the first No. 16 seed to topple a No. 1 was Harvard in 1998, which beat Stanford.
— DEANDRE WILLIAMS: At 26 years old, the Memphis forward is the oldest player in the tournament.
— COACH L: UM’s Jim Larranaga proved in 2006 that anything is possible in March. He led George Mason to the Final Four with wins over Michigan State, North Carolina, Wichita State and UConn. Last March, he led the Hurricanes to their first Elite Eight in school history, following a pair of Sweet 16 runs. They are poised to make a deep run again, but Norchad Omier is hobbling on a sprained ankle and may not be able to play.
— CAVINDER TWINS: Hurricanes twin guards Haley and Hanna Cavinder have 4 million TikTok followers, but they are not just social media influencers. They are ferocious competitors.
— KAMIE ETHRIDGE: The Washington State women’s coach inherited a program that had not been to the NCAA Tournament in three decades. The Cougars just booked their third trip in a row with a 23-10 record and a Cinderella run to the Pac-12 championship as a No. 7 seed, the lowest ever to win the crown.
— SHANIA TWAIN: P.S. The Washington State women’s team anthem all season has been “Man, I Feel Like a Woman,” by country star Shania Twain. The singer saw video of the players singing and became an instant fan.
— CELEBRITY FANS: Notable alumni from lower-seeded teams include Ben Affleck (Vermont Catamounts), George Clooney (North Kentucky Norse), and Kamala Harris (Howard Bison).
— POTENTIAL MEN’S BRACKET BUSTERS: Oral Roberts, Drake, College of Charleston, VCU, Louisiana, Furman, Kent State, Arizona State, Mississippi State.
— FGCU WOMEN: For the fourth year in a row, the FGCU women (32-3) lead Division I with 47% of their shots coming from 3-point range. The Eagles are the only team with four players shooting above 40% from the beyond the arc.
— JACKRABBITS: Looking for another upset pick in the women’s bracket? Check out South Dakota State. The Summit League champs are 28-5, won by an average of 28 points and are tied for the nation’s third-longest active winning streak at 21 games.
— DICK VITALE: Even while dealing with cancer and vocal cord issues, Dickie V was tweeting about PTPers and Diaper Dandies. The 83-year-old broadcasting legend is back to work and as excited as always.
— BUZZER BEATERS: Lorenzo Charles for NC State in 1983. Christian Laettner for Duke in 1990, 1992. Bryce Drew for Valparaiso in 1998. Kris Jenkins for Villanova in 2016.
— HOUSTON: The Cougars, under coach Kelvin Sampson, have 27 or more wins in five of the past six years. Marcus Sasser averaged 17.1 PPG. Jarace Walker is a projected lottery pick. J’Wan Roberts is one of five Houston players averaging 10 points or more per game.
— CAITLIN CLARK: Iowa two-time Big Ten player of the year will surely win National Player of the Year. Last season, she was the first player in Division I history to lead the country in both points and assists per game. This year she recorded an NCAA-best 8.3 assists per game, and averaged 27 points.
— OFFICE POOLS: Nobody’s brackets are busted … yet.
— CREEPY MASCOTS: Friar Dom of Providence and the Purdue Boilermaker (separated at birth)
— RECORD BREAKERS: Most points in a single game – Austin Carr (Notre Dame) 61 points in 1970 vs. Ohio. Lorri Bauman (Drake) 50 points in 1982 vs. Maryland
— SHAKA SMART: The Marquette coach lost three of the top four scorers from last season and were picked to finish ninth in the preseason Big East poll. They won the league’s regular-season title.
— GAELS: Of Iona, not to be confused with Gaels of Saint Mary’s.
— ISLANDERS: Ever wonder why Texas A&M-Corpus Christi’s mascot is the Islanders? Because the campus is on a 396-acre island.
— PALADINS: The Furman Paladins are based in Greenville, S.C. Among their notable alumni are singer Amy Grant, University of Florida football coach Billy Napier, and former U.S. soccer player Clint Dempsey.
— MEN’S STANDOUTS: Brandon Miller (Alabama), Jarace Walker (Houston), Keyonte George (Baylor), Trayce Jackson-Davis (Indiana), Drew Timme (Gonzaga), Jaime Jaquez (UCLA), Max Abmas (Oral Roberts), Kyle Filipowski (Duke), Tyler Kolek (Marquette), Oscar Tshiebwe (Kentucky), Azuoloas Tubeis (Arizona)
— WOMEN’S STANDOUTS: Aliyah Boston (South Carolina), Rickea Jackson (Tennessee), Azzi Fudd (UConn), Mackenzie Holmes (IU), Angel Reese (LSU), Cam Brink (Stanford), Diamond Miller (Maryland), Ta’Niya Watson (FSU), Elizabeth Kitley (Virginia Tech).
— WAGERS: An estimated 68 million Americans are expected to wager $15.5 billion on the NCAA men’s tournament, according to a survey from the American Gaming Association (AGA).
— ONE SHINING MOMENT: The ladder. Scissors. Luther Vandross. Video montage. It never gets old.
©2023 Miami Herald. Visit miamiherald.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.