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Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Sweet Sixteen full of New Yorkers

By Kieran Darcy

The NCAA tournament resumes Thursday -- and while there are no New York City teams remaining, we have plenty of people to root for.

In fact, three of the four regional semifinals Thursday night feature star players from the five boroughs.

Last week we took a look at Miami, which is coached by Bronx native Jim Larranaga and also led by Rice High School alum Durand Scott. The Hurricanes play Marquette at 7:15 p.m. ET on CBS.

At Miami's pregame news conference Wednesday in Washington, D.C., Scott was asked to reflect on his basketball journey. He won a state championship in his senior year at Rice, but had to wait until his senior year at Miami to play in the NCAA tournament. "It's only something you dream of, you don't necessarily think you're going to get this point but when you put in the work over the summer and the spring you think all that work would get you to this point," Scott said. "I think it has, especially with these group of guys I've been with my whole career and I couldn't want to do it with anybody else. I'm finally here, we are enjoying the moment and we want to continue winning games."

A half-hour later on TBS, you can watch Arizona tip off against Ohio State. Kevin Parrom, a 6-foot-6 senior swingman from the Bronx, is the Wildcats' fourth-leading scorer (8.3 ppg) and rebounder (4.9 rpg), and is shooting 40.6 percent from beyond the arc. He played at St. Raymond's High School for three years, before finishing up at South Kent in Connecticut.

Parrom has persevered through all sorts of adversity during his time at Arizona, including being shot in the leg and losing his mom. You might have the Buckeyes in your bracket, but you can't help but pull for this young man.

Then there's the Orange. Syracuse is about 250 miles from New York City, but has plenty of fans in the metropolitan area. It also has 6-foot-8 senior forward James Southerland, one of the best shooters in the country. The Queens native, who played at Cardozo High School and then spent a year at Notre Dame Prep (Mass.) is the team's third-leading scorer (13.7 ppg) and second-leading rebounder (5.3 rpg). And he had a monster Big East tournament in New York, burying 19 3-pointers, a new tourney record.

In Syracuse's pregame news conference, also in D.C., Southerland was asked if he can tell while warming up before a game whether he will be hot that particular day. "My problem is I always think everything is going in, so it don't even matter for me, if I'm 1-for-9 I still think I'm hot," Southerland said. "I just go in there and stay focused, trying to make the right plays and take decent shots."

The Orange face a tall task Thursday, taking on No. 1 seed Indiana (9:45 p.m. ET, CBS). "They're a good team, consistently all year and definitely one of those teams you look forward to playing against," Southerland said. "They have great talent, great shooters and all-around great players. We feel like we will match up pretty well against them."

As for the fourth game Thursday night, Wichita State versus La Salle (10:17 p.m., TBS) -- well, that's where the local connections dry up.

But you'll see more New Yorkers on Friday night. We'll have more on them in the blog Thursday.