WASHINGTON -- Marquette player Junior Cadougan called the University of Miami team “the Cinderella story of the NCAA.’’ He meant it as a compliment, but the Hurricanes said they don’t see themselves as a Cinderella team.
“That’s not how I’d describe us at all,’’ said senior center Julian Gamble. “This is not something we just started doing. We play in one of the best conferences in the country, we won the ACC regular season and the ACC tournament championship. So, I don’t understand how you can be a Cinderella team with that longevity of success throughout the season. Maybe our rise to the top 10 was fast, but we sustained that ... so I wouldn’t describe it as a Cinderella story.
There are three teams from Florida in the Sweet 16 — Miami, Florida, and Florida Gulf Coast. It is the first time three Florida schools have made it this far. There are also at least a half dozen South Florida players remaining in the tournament.
Florida guard Kenny Boynton went to American Heritage High in Plantation, as did FGCU’s Marcus Blake. Sam Mills of Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons plays for LaSalle. The University of Miami has 7-foot freshman Tonye Jekiri of Hialeah Champagnat. And Michigan’s Tim Hardaway Jr. went to Miami Palmetto High.
On the mend
The wife of Marquette coach Buzz Williams was hospitalized in Lexington, Ky., early last week because of an appendix problem. She had surgery and is expected to be in the stands Thursday for the game against UM.
“Her appendix was about to burst,’’ he said. “I’ve been in the delivery room, and my wife delivered all four children of ours naturally, and I’ve never seen her in that sort of pain. They were giving her morphine in the lobby before she checked in, and the ambiance in the hospital wasn’t great. I think Robert Morris was up eight [on Kentucky] when we checked in. … She is tougher than all of us, so hopefully she’ll be able to come to the game.’’
Praise for Coach L
Williams said he has “great respect’’ for Hurricanes coach Jim Larrañaga.
“I think he’s pure in how he goes about things,’’ Williams said. “I think he’s a guy that someone at my point in my career can look up to because I think he does it for the right reasons. I don’t think he is in our industry for selfish motivation or for ego.’’