Isaiah Canaan, Casper Ware among potential tourney breakout stars
Say the name out loud three times.
Dellavedova. Dellavedova. Dellavedova.
It just rolls off the tongue, doesn't it?
Nomenclature mouth feel might seem an odd way to predict which player will emerge from this weekend as a semi-household name, but NCAA tournament history is littered with breakout stars whose names just felt good to say. As predictive methods go, it's as good as any.
Harold "The Show" Arcenaux.
That last one is important because Samhan's comet-ride to stardom in 2010 might have set the table for Samhan's former Saint Mary's teammate, guard Matthew Dellavedova, to take the same trip this year. Dellavedova (Delly to his teammates) is a scrappy, usually unshaven guard from Maryborough, Australia, from whom his fellow Gaels take direction and draw inspiration. Thanks to Samhan's dominance in the opening weekend two years ago -- when 10th-seeded Saint Mary's beat seventh-seeded Richmond and second-seeded Villanova -- Dellavedova should have no tournament jitters when the Gaels face Purdue on Friday in Omaha, Neb. The West Coast Conference Player of the Year has seen all this before.
A mid-major team that wears
But what if I'm wrong? Perhaps I should hedge my bet.
This field has no shortage of potential breakout stars. Some are excellent players well known in the college basketball world but obscured from the general population by a lack of television exposure. Others are role players on power conference teams who may take advantage of circumstances and shoddy, quick-turnaround scouting reports to torch an opponent and sear their names into our collective Big Dance consciousness.