Wednesday, February 14, 2007


I've been a huge fan of college basketball since I was young. 10 years ago, John Calipari, Marcus Camby, Lou Roe, and UMass were having an amazing 6 year run on top of the college basketball world, and being a town or two over, I fell in love with the team. I remember being awed when my father, who cashiered at the Stop & Shop nearest the campus, told me he'd rung out Derek Kellogg's purchases one day. I mainly knew giddiness as I watched the highlights of wins roll up on SportsCenter and heartbreak as we never quite made it to the title game. I cried when George Washington broke up our undefeated season in 1996.

However, nowadays I realize that UMass won't likely be featured in national prominence for another decade or so. Thankfully, the NCAA tournament is always completely riveting. It started with me rooting on Old Dominion's 1995 triple-overtime win against Villanova, continued through being enthralled at Valparaiso's 1998 win over Mississippi, Gonzaga's Sweet 16 runs, Vermont's 2005 upset of Syracuse (Sorrentine nailing a 3 "from the parking lot"), and to today, where mid-majors are shaking things up. I love it. More parity, please!

Poking around YouTube, here are my favorites from the 2006 tournament:

Obviously, George Mason reaching the Final Four was massive. If I could get this game as a DVD I'd buy it; I'd love to watch it again. It was thrilling watching George Mason run their methodical half-court offense, take their time and chip away at UConn. Amazing, edge-of-your-seat basketball.

Another amazing finish was the West Virginia-Texas game. Two threes back-to-back? Just killer. What a buzzer-beater.

By far the greatest, though? Northwestern St. over Iowa. I've watched this clip at least 10 times and I still have no idea how the shot went in. There's just.. no reason for the shot, but it did, and it was awesome.

As you can tell.. I'm catching March Madness a little early. Can we just fast-forward a few weeks?

1 comment:

Freelancer said...

For some reason I haven't been as in to the Big Dance in a while. Probably something to do with being in the 'working world' now and being far far away from the Midwest. I do remember those first two days of the tournament though as a college student (as you referenced in another post). They were unofficial holidays on our campus where people could be found huddled in a room asking who was winning the Richmond/Syracuse. My favorite moments would be when someone would boast how they picked that big 12/5 upset, giving them temporary bragging rights until three hours later when an upstart 11 seed knocked out one of their Final Four.