Wiggins brothers set maddening pace

On the playgrounds and parks, they might pretend to be other people -- Mitch leaned toward Tracy McGrady, Nick, sticking to his Canadian routes, opted for Vince Carter, and Andrew waffled between Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony -- but when they were just the Wiggins brothers, it was on.

"You never want to lose to your brother," Nick said. "Especially your younger brother. Andrew would always talk big stuff, but I always beat him. An elbow to the mouth once in a while never hurt."

Sometimes their dad, Mitchell, would jump in and up the ante. The concept of letting his boys win never crossed the former Florida State All-American and NBA player's mind. He took it to them the hardest.

"He's still undefeated against us, or at least he thinks he is," Mitch said.

Said Andrew: "That's what prepared me, them beating up on me and not taking it easy on me."

One by one the brothers headed to college, each carving his own path. Mitch, who spent two years at Hillsborough Junior College (Plant City, Fla.), opted for Southeastern, a small Christian school in Lakeland, Fla.

A year later, Nick hit the juco trail, starting at Vincennes (Vincennes, Ind.) before transferring to Wabash Valley (Mt. Carmel, Ill.) and eventually landing at Wichita State.

And finally, there is youngest brother Andrew, the apple of every NBA general manager's eye, on the cover of national magazines before he played a minute, deemed a generational talent before he put on a Kansas uniform.

All three have had their highs and lows this season. In his first year at Southeastern, Mitch averaged 15.3 points per game, but, slowed by a shoulder injury this year, he just returned to the lineup on Feb. 1 and his production has been down.

Nick, who has had maybe the smoothest two years, still has had to deal with the mounting pressure of an undefeated run and the critics who question the Shockers' worth.

Meanwhile, Andrew has endured the klieg lights that come with recruiting rankings and high expectations. Each has turned to his brother to get him through.

"We help just by staying close," Mitch said. "You know, with Andrew, he's has good games and he's the best, and bad games, he's the worst. We just keep him level. And with Nick, you can see that team is a family, that they're sticking together through all the doubters. For me, thank god I had them. When I was down on myself and I wanted to play, they told me to take care of my injury and not worry. We've just been there for each other."

And now for the payoff, a March that is deliriously and wonderfully mad.

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