Player Profile - Part 2 - March Madness 2012 - Tucson News Now

4 (more) players to watch during March Madness

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Raycom News Network continues its coverage of March Madness with a look at some of the best players in the country. Part 2 highlights four from the teams you may not (but should) know going into this year's tournament. You can see Part 1 here.

[View the NCAA bracket]

(RNN) – The term "mid-major" needs to go away.

It has been used for years to describe the NCAA men's basketball teams not among the six "major" conferences: the ACC, Big 10, Big 12, Big East, Pac 12 and SEC. But as the line between the haves and have nots has blurred in terms of performance, a new way to differentiate is needed.

Besides, it makes no sense. If someone told you they had a mid-major problem, would you know what they were talking about? Did you choose a mid-major in college? Has anyone ever been a mid-majorette or watched mid-Major League Baseball?

Media types have begun to stray from the term in recent years, thanks to teams like Butler moving up in tournament seeding and moving on to the Final Four. The terms du jour among pundits consist of putting a "non" in front of something (non-power conference, non-Big 6 school, etc.) instead.

To avoid confusion, let's call them the outsider schools. Whatever term is agreed upon for the group of nearly 200 schools, someone better make sure they like it.

The Big conferences don't want to see more chips placed on the outsiders' shoulders; they already get beat by them enough.

There are multiple reasons for this. One is the game's popularity and availability caused a talent explosion, and a second is an increased number of players making an early leap to the pros, as discussed in Part 1.

[SLIDESHOW: The faces of March Madness]

Another reason is money. The Bigs have been raking it in for decades through live games and television revenues. A smaller school didn't use its resources on recruiting and tracking players across the country when its games weren't on TV and it couldn't sell out half the arena.

As college basketball got more popular in the 1980s, an increased demand brought about the 24-hour-a-day sports channel. With 18,679,033 (approximate number) outlets for athletics available on TV, more conferences were needed to fill the airtime.

The new revenue and exposure has allowed schools to recruit from beyond their own backyard. They can reach across the country – and in a player like Matthew Dellavedova's case, the globe – to find hidden gems others missed.

The top players still end up at the top schools most of the time. However, now the other teams can fill their lineups with quality players left behind who were deemed too short (Isaiah Canaan), ill-fitting (Mike Moser) or had been overshadowed (Doug McDermott).

Finally, the leaders of successful outsider schools keep these two things in mind:

1. The best athlete is not always the best basketball player, and vice-versa.

Every year there are top-rated recruits with great speed, strength and agility who can produce highlight-worthy plays but cannot deliver on a consistent basis.

Natural talent gives someone a great advantage in basketball. But if a player can create good shots for himself and others, who cares how high he can jump?

2. Basketball is still a team sport.

While an amazing player may save a coach's job for a couple of years, an amazing system can give a coach a successful career.

The best in the business figure out how to answer the simple questions: How do we get the ball in the basket? How do we keep them from doing that?

Then they take the best pieces available to them, teach them the answers and form them into one cohesive unit.

The players and the teams that will add Madness to this March have figured out the formula for succeeding in a Big 6 universe. They have gotten so good, it would be unusual if they didn't take down a few Goliaths once again.

Whatever you do though, don't call them mid-major. They hate that.

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