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March 19, 2008
Someone is going to put on a show in the first round of the NCAA Tournament and lead a double-digit seed to a major upset. For as much as the radar has grown with cable TV and the Internet, there still are guys flying under it.
One of the most memorable performances by a player on a double-digit seed was a show put on by "The Show." The year was 1999 when Harold Arceneaux led 14th-seeded Weber State to a stunning 76-74 victory over third-seeded North Carolina. Arceneaux, the Big Sky Player of the Year, riddled the Tar Heels for 36 points, including two free throws with 13.3 seconds left that provided the winning margin. It was the first time UNC had been knocked out in the first round in 19 years.
Here are Rivals.com's picks for 10 players from double-digit seeds who are potential showstoppers this season, listed alphabetically:
Ten Potential Showstoppers from Double-Digit Seeds
Josh Akognon, Cal State-Fullerton
The Buzz: The Washington State transfer is a serious threat from long range (39.2 percent from beyond the arc). The Titans' leading scorer is averaging 19.9 ppg and has hit at least four 3-pointers in a game 17 times this season. He was Wazzu's leading scorer two years ago, including a 27-point game against No. 10 Washington and a 25-point game against No. 11 UCLA.
Dionte Christmas, Temple
The Buzz: The Philadelphia native averages 20.2 points per game and topped the 30-point mark three times this season. He attempts about eight 3-pointers per game, and he shoots 38 percent from beyond the arc. He scored 23 points each against Duke and Xavier, two NCAA teams the Owls played this season.
Moses Ehambe, Oral Roberts
The Buzz: How does a guy averaging just 11.7 points and who went scoreless in his conference tournament semifinal make this list? Because he hit eight 3-pointers in the quarterfinals and seven in the final. The Golden Eagles are 8-1 when Ehambe scores at least 15 points, which he did seven times in the final 13 games. Pitt will want to make sure it doesn't let Ehambe get going.
Alex Franklin, Siena
The Buzz: He's undersized at 6 feet 5. He has two teammates who were first-team All-MAAC. But if the Saints are going to knock off Vanderbilt in the first round, it will be because Franklin plays as big as he has all season against NCAA teams. Siena played five teams that are in the tournament, though Franklin missed the games with Saint Joseph's and Memphis because of back trouble. He had double-doubles in the other three games, including 14 points and 10 rebounds against Stanford and 30 points and 18 rebounds at Boise State.
Justin Hare, Belmont
The Buzz: This marks the third consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance for Hare and the Bruins, so the big stage no longer should be a factor. Hare, a senior, is a threat from 3-point range (37.7 percent), but may be more dangerous going to the basket. Belmont is 10-0 when Hare gets to the free-throw line more than four times in game, and it doesn't hurt that he's the best free-throw shooter in the NCAA Tournament at 91.5 percent.
Michael Jenkins, Winthrop
The Buzz: Jenkins was the leading scorer for the Eagles for the second consecutive season, though his scoring average (14.3 ppg) was down 0.5 from last season. Still, as he goes Winthrop goes. The Eagles are 15-2 this season when Jenkins scores at least 13 points. He had a season-high 33 in his last game, the championship of the Big South tournament.
Brandon Johnson, San Diego
The Buzz: The 6-foot combo guard can score from anywhere on the floor. The Toreros played 11 games against NCAA Tournament teams and Johnson topped the 20-point mark five times. He averaged 18.6 points in those games despite a season scoring average of 16.9. Kentucky fans no doubt remember the 27 points he dropped on the Wildcats in a victory in Lexington.
Reggie Larry, Boise State
The Buzz: Larry is the leading scorer (19.6 ppg) and rebounder (9.3) for the Broncos. He posted 14 double-doubles this season, including a huge outing in the WAC tourney final. Boise State finally took out New Mexico State 107-102 in triple-overtime behind Larry's 31 points and 16 rebounds. The win over ended a 14-year NCAA drought for the Broncos. Coincidentally, the last time the Broncos made the field, they also played Louisville in the first round in a 3-14 game. They lost 67-58.
Courtney Lee, Western Kentucky
The Buzz: The best-kept secret in the Bluegrass State is Lee, an athletic 6-5 swingman who has a nice mid-range game to go with his outside touch (38.9 percent from 3-point range). He scored at least 25 points in a game nine times this season. He had 21 against Gonzaga and 23 against Tennessee in the Hilltoppers' only non-conference games against NCAA Tournament teams.
Ryan Wittman, Cornell
The Buzz: The son of Minnesota Timberwolves coach Randy Wittman, the Big Ten player of the year in 1983, is a chip off the old block. Ryan Wittman strokes it as well as anyone from 3-point range (46.6 percent), and he leads the Big Red in scoring (15.4 ppg).