Gael's Produce March Madness Rock Star

By Joe Kukura
|  Tuesday, Mar 23, 2010  |  Updated 1:45 PM PDT
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A Day in the Life of SXSW

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Omar Samhan is getting a big hand nationwide.

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This year's NCAA Tournament already has a lot of Cinderella teams, with five mid-major schools still alive in the Sweet Sixteen.

But fans and the media have chosen this year's small-school March Madness overnight celebrity, and it's St. Mary's own center Omar Samhan. "We just want Samhan and the Gaels to stick around," says USA Today, "so we get to see what he has to say next."

Samhan, a natural attention junkie, is everything that's right about the NCAA Tournament. An unknown player from an unheard-of school making an unlikely tournament roll, Samhan is charming, a hilariously quotable smack-talker, has the word "BEAST" tattooed on the inside of his mouth, and yet he's far less of a dirty-mouth than the Vice President

"God is a Gael," Samhan declared on YouTube, the night before St, Mary's stunned Villanova in the second round.

On the art of playing interior defense, Samhan told ESPN, "I think the paint's sexy."

Additionally, Samhan seems determined to use Internet video streaming to individually call out every single American who did not pick St. Mary's in their March Madness brackets. He takes ESPN's Joe Lunardi to task  in an ESPN video segment. He goes after "a dear friend of mine's" incorrect bracket in a video posted on his blog

If you had Villanova advancing from the South Regional in your bracket, you might be next!

Samhan and the Gaels will face No. 3 Baylor Friday at just after 4:30 p.m. PDT. Baylor is not to be confused with Butler, who are No. 5 in the West region and play Syracuse Thursday night.

Should the Gaels win Thursday, they figure to face Duke Sunday for a trip to the Final Four. Vegas odds list the Gaels as 6-1 underdogs to make this year's Final Four.

But those odds don't figure in who God is rooting for.

 Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who at least knows that God is not a Big East fan.

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