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Get inside March Madness with SI.com's Luke Winn in the Tourney Blog, a daily journal of college basketball commentary, on-site reporting and reader-driven discussions.
3/14/2007 04:10:00 PM

Magical Monarchs?

Aaron Brooks
Sam Harris and 12th-seeded Old Dominion face fifth-seeded Butler on Thursday.
Luke Winn/SI

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The guy dunking in the photo above is Old Dominion's Sam Harris, who's easily my favorite 7-foot-3 Tasmanian basketball player. You probably won't see much of him tomorrow against Butler, though: Sam only averages 7.3 minutes and 1.7 points per game and is buried deep on the 12th-seeded Monarchs' bench.

Harris did, however, start two games in 2006-07, and one of them was at Georgetown on Nov. 19. It was the only time I covered an Old Dominion game this season, and it was easily the most memorable game I covered all season. The contest was held at the Hoyas' tiny McDonough Gym on campus -- one of two games all year there, along with Winston-Salem State -- and the Monarchs were slightly ticked they weren't given the privilege of playing in the Verizon Center downtown.

Georgetown was ranked No. 8 in the AP poll at time, but wasn't clicking yet on offense, and ODU delivered an inspired performance, holding Jeff Green to two points and winning 75-62. Hardly any TV footage existed of the game, and only a handful of reporters were there. A few of us were lucky enough to walk in on the Monarchs' post-game water fight in the locker room. I blogged about it, in a post called The Hidden Upset, and I get the feeling we're about to see another ODU stunner Thursday against fifth-seeded Butler. Good stories seem to materialize when I'm around this team.

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