NCAA

Steph Curry has high praise for March Madness standout Ja Morant

Steph Curry has high praise for March Madness standout Ja Morant

Ja Morant has been one of the stars of March Madness so far.

The sophomore from No. 12 seeded Murray State dominated Thursday against No. 5 seeded Marquette, dropping 17 points, 16 assists, and 11 rebounds. He’s widely considered a lock for a top-five pick in June’s NBA draft.

Oh, and he loves Steph Curry too. Turns out, the admiration is mutual.

“What he did on Thursday, it shows you he’s ready for whatever,” Curry told Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes. “That transition to the NBA isn’t going to be difficult at all for him.”

Curry understands exactly what Morant is going through. Curry, like Morant, went to a mid-major school and was considered an underdog in the NCAA tournament. Curry infamously took Davidson to the Elite Eight in 2008, whereas Morant’s Murray State Racers are looking to make a similar Cinderella run in this year's tournament.

“I’m sure the tournament is the first time most people get to see Ja," Curry told Haynes. "There’s no preparation for it because in the tournament, everybody wants to play in it, but it hits you in the face with the attention and the adrenaline rush.

“It’s a small window where everybody’s eyeballs are all on you and you can surprise a lot of people. But the biggest thing for me is I had the confidence going in and it sets you up to be ready for that moment.” 

[RELATED: Draymond makes bold prediction about Dubs in Chase Center]

Morant and the No. 12 seeded Racers take on No. 4 Florida State at 3:10 p.m. PT on Saturday afternoon.

With the Warriors game not tipping off until 5:30 p.m. PT -- and Curry is sitting out, anyway -- you can bet Steph will have one eye on Morant and Murray State.

Steph Curry's superstar rise began with March Madness moment 11 years ago

Steph Curry's superstar rise began with March Madness moment 11 years ago

Eleven years ago Thursday, a little-known guard from a small college in North Carolina burst onto the scene. 

That guard was Steph Curry, an eventual three-time NBA champion and two-time MVP. But before he was Steph Curry, he led Davidson to a first-round upset of Gonzaga in the 2008 NCAA men's basketball tournament. 

He posted what would become a stereotypical Steph stat-line, connecting on 80 percent of his 3-point attempts to knock off the Zags. The win kick-started 10th-seeded Davidson's surprise run to the Elite Eight, and it began with a clutch performance from Curry.

Davidson trailed Gonzaga by five heading into the second half, and by as many as 11 points with fewer than 16 minutes left. But Curry scored 30 of his 40 points -- his NCAA tournament-high -- in the second half, and led the Wildcats to the upset. 

[RELATED: Bosh explains why Heat to blame for Durant joining Warriors]

Curry's sophomore season ended nine days later, three points shy of upsetting eventual champion Kansas and advancing to the Final Four. But by then, his name was firmly in the national consciousness, and his path to basketball superstardom had begun in earnest. 

Little did anyone know that the beginning of said path would look a lot like what's followed over the ensuing decade. 

NCAA Tournament schedule 2019: Bracket, dates, times for 68-team field

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NCAA Tournament schedule 2019: Bracket, dates, times for 68-team field

The 2019 NCAA Tournament field was announced Sunday, with Duke, Virginia, North Carolina and Gonzaga earning the four No. 1 seeds.

The tournament will have a definite Northern California flavor, as Mississippi State, Liberty, Virginia Tech, Saint Louis, Wisconsin, Oregon, Kansas State and UC Irvine all will play their first-round games in San Jose. Additionally, the West Coast Conference champion Saint Mary's Gaels earned a No. 11 seed, and will face No. 6 Villanova in Hartford, Conn.

Below are the matchups, game days and scheduled start times for each first-round game. Let the bracket-filling commence!

EAST REGION
At Columbia, S.C.
No. 1 Duke vs. No. 16 NC Central/North Dakota State -- Friday, March 22 at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT
No. 8 VCU vs. No. 9 UCF -- Friday, March 22 at 9:30 p.m. ET/6:30 p.m. PT

At San Jose, Calif.
No. 5 Mississippi State vs. No. 12 Liberty -- Friday, March 22 at 7:15 p.m. ET/4:15 p.m. PT
No. 4 Virginia Tech vs. No. 13 Saint Louis -- Friday, March 22 at 9:55 p.m. ET/6:55 p.m. PT

At Jacksonville, Fla.
No. 6 Maryland vs. No. 11 Belmont/Temple -- Thursday, March 21 at 3 p.m. ET/Noon PT
No. 3 LSU vs. No. 14 Yale -- Thursday, March 21 at 12:30 p.m. ET/9:30 a.m. PT

At Des Moines, Iowa
No. 7 Louisville vs. No. 10 Minnesota -- Thursday, March 21 at Noon ET/9 a.m. PT
No. 2 Michigan State vs. No. 15 Bradley -- Thursday, March 21 at 2:30 p.m. ET/11:30 a.m. PT

SOUTH REGION
At Columbia, S.C.

No. 1 Virginia vs. No. 16 Gardner-Webb -- Friday, March 22 at 3 p.m. ET/Noon PT
No. 8 Ole Miss vs. No. 9 Oklahoma -- Friday, March 22 at 12:30 p.m. ET/9:30 a.m. PT

At San Jose, Calif.
No. 5 Wisconsin vs. No. 12 Oregon -- Friday, March 22 at 4:20 p.m. ET/1:20 p.m. PT
No. 4 Kansas State vs. No. 13 UC Irvine -- Friday, March 22 at 1:50 p.m. ET/10:50 a.m. PT

At Hartford, Conn.
No. 6 Villanova vs. No. 11 Saint Mary's -- Thursday, March 21 at 7:15 p.m. ET/4:15 p.m. PT
No. 3 Purdue vs. No. 14 Old Dominion -- Thursday, March 21 at 9:45 p.m. ET/6:45 p.m. PT

At Columbus, Ohio
No. 7 Cincinnati vs. No. 10 Iowa -- Friday, March 22 at Noon ET/9 a.m. PT
No. 2 Tennessee vs. No. 15 Colgate -- Friday, March 22 at 2:30 p.m. ET/11:30 a.m. PT

MIDWEST REGION
At Columbus, Ohio
No. 1 North Carolina vs. No. 16 Iona -- Friday, March 22 at 9:15 p.m. ET/6:15 p.m. PT
No. 8 Utah State vs. No. 9 Washington -- Friday, March 22 at 6:45 p.m. ET/3:45 p.m. PT

At Salt Lake City, Utah
No. 5 Auburn vs. No. 12 New Mexico State -- Thursday, March 21 at 1:20 p.m. ET/10:20 a.m. PT
No. 4 Kansas vs. No. 13 Northeastern -- Thursday, March 21 at 3:50 p.m. ET/12:50 p.m. ET

At Tulsa, Okla.
No. 6 Iowa State vs. No. 11 Ohio State -- Friday, March 22 at 9:45 p.m. ET/6:45 p.m. PT
No. 3 Houston vs. No. 14 Georgia State -- Friday, March 22 at 7:15 p.m. ET/4:15 p.m. PT

At Jacksonville, Fla.
No. 7 Wofford vs. No. 10 Seton Hall -- Thursday, March 21 at 9:30 p.m. ET/6:30 p.m. PT
No. 2 Kentucky vs. No. 15 Abilene Christian -- Thursday, March 21 at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT

WEST REGION
At Salt Lake City, Utah
No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 16 Fairleigh Dickinson/Prairie View A&M -- Thursday, March 21 at 7:15 p.m. ET/4:15 p.m. PT
No. 8 Syracuse vs. No. 9 Baylor -- Thursday, March 21 at 9:55 p.m. ET/6:55 p.m. PT

At Hartford, Conn.
No. 5 Marquette vs. No. 12 Murray State -- Thursday, March 21 at 4:20 p.m. ET/1:20 p.m. PT
No. 4 Florida State vs. No. 13 Vermont -- Thursday, March 21 at 1:50 p.m. ET/10:50 a.m. PT

At Tulsa, Okla.
No. 6 Buffalo vs. No. 11 Arizona State/St. John's -- Friday, March 22 at 3:50 p.m. ET/12:50 p.m. PT
No. 3 Texas Tech vs. No. 14 Northern Kentucky -- Friday, March 22 at 1:20 p.m. ET/10:20 a.m. PT

At Des Moines, Iowa
No. 7 Nevada vs. No. 10 Florida -- Thursday, March 21 at 6:45 p.m. ET/3:45 p.m. PT
No. 2 Michigan vs. No. 15 Montana -- Thursday, March 21 at 9:15 p.m. ET/6:15 p.m. PT