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The Dagger: College Basketball Blog

The question that stumped three player of the year candidates

At the end of his interview with UConn's Kemba Walker, Duke's Nolan Smith and BYU's Jimmer Fredette soon after the release of the brackets on Sunday, ESPN's Rece Davis threw an especially difficult question at the three national player of the year candidates.

He asked them to name the mascot of their opening-round opponent.

This probably wouldn't have been so tough if any of the three opened against a well-known opponent, but UConn, Duke and BYU drew Bucknell, Hampton and Wofford, respectively. As a result, the three stared blankly into the camera and stammered as though Davis had just asked them to solve a quadratic equation on live TV.

Finally, after several seconds, Smith said "Pirates" so tentatively he had to repeat himself before Davis caught what he said. Sure enough, Smith was correct that Hampton is the Pirates, impressive knowledge even if the Upper Marlboro, Md., native did have the advantage of growing up just a few hours from the Virginia school's campus.

One thing is certain after watching Fredette and Walker struggle: If mascot recognition were a player of the year criteria, Smith would be a runaway winner.

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