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Don’t miss a second of this year’s tournament.
Reviewed.com

Is someone in the Sports Illustrated art department from Rochester?

All three former Section V Boys Basketball players on NCAA Tournament teams — Providence’s Emmitt Holt (Webster Schroeder), Vermont’s Anthony Lamb (Greece Athena) and Iona’s Deyshonee Much (Gates Chili) — appear on the magazine’s cover this week that includes pictures of players and coaches from each squad in the 68-team field. Every team is represented but the Rochester guys just happened to go 3-for-3.

Lamb and Holt appear in the bottom right corner, just above the referee; Much is just below the ‘e’ in Sports Illustrated, wearing No. 15 in a dark jersey.

Sports Illustrated printed these collage-style covers for 10 straight years from 2003 to 2012, but brought it back for this year. The March 20 print edition features every team in the men’s tournament field, along with coaches, mascots, cheerleaders and the top women’s teams.

Holt, a junior forward in his first season as a Friar after transferring from Indiana and then an Iowa junior college, is the first local player out of the Big Dance blocks. Providence (20-12) takes on USC (24-9) in a First Four play-in game between No. 11 seeds in Dayton, Ohio, on Wednesday (truTV, 9:10 p.m.). The winner faces No. 6 SMU on Friday (truTV, 3:10 p.m.).

Lamb is next up on Thursday. The freshman forward named the America East Rookie of the Year and MVP of the league’s conference tournament will take the floor Thursday (truTV, 7:27 p.m.) in Milwaukee as the 13th-seeded Catamounts (29-5) play No. 4 Purdue (25-7). The winner faces No. 5 Iowa State or No. 12 Nevada.

Finally, Much and 14th-seeded Iona (22-12) will try on Friday in Sacramento to do what they couldn’t last year, which is win their first-round NCAA game. The Gaels play No. 3 Oregon (29-5) at 2 p.m. (TBS). Last season, Iona fought gamely but lost as the No. 13 seed to No. 4 Iowa State, 94-81.

Oregon’s seeding was likely hurt by the loss of sixth man Chris Boucher, who tore his ACL on Friday. That’s unfortunate for the Ducks, but helps Iona. Starters Much, Jordan Washington and Rickey McGill, along with reserve forward Taylor Bessick, all earned minutes in that NCAA loss last year, so the Gaels have some tournament experience.

“We’re playing another really good team,” said Iona coach Tim Cluess, whose team is making its fourth NCAA appearance in his seven seasons in New Rochelle. “I’m hoping that the guys who have been there once can help talk to the other players and explain, player for player, what the feeling and what the emotions are going to be like, and what’s important to do.”

All three Section V alums are starters. Holt is second on the team in scoring (12.4), rebounding (5.2) and shooting percentage (51.3) for Providence, which is in the Big East. Lamb, the two-time All-Greater Rochester Player of the Year, leads a balanced Vermont team in scoring (12.6) and rebounding (5.4).

The 6-foot-5 Much, a scorer and good 3-point shooter, averages only 9.3 points. He came off the bench most of this season. He was a starter and Iona’s third-leading scorer last year at 13 points per game. Much actually left the team after the holidays for undisclosed reasons, but rejoined it.

He has helped energize the Gaels, who’ve won four of their past five games. Much has started the past six games. He had 18 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists in the 87-86 overtime victory over Siena in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament title game, which secured the automatic berth in the NCAAs.

JDIVERON@Gannett.com