Friday, March 16, 2007

Continuing a Proud Ivy League Tradition

Having two schools on my resume means I'm rarely left out when it comes to tournament time.

Having one of them be an Ivy League school and the other a mediocre Big Ten school means I'm rarely left in when it comes to the second round. (Penn last won a first round game in 1994, when both of my schools made it to the second round. Bliss!)

Down 13 at the half of their opening round game against Texas A&M, Penn came back to take a 39-37 lead midway through the second half, an impressive enough achievement against the tough defense of Texas A&M. That was as good as it got, however; the Aggies went on a 10-0 run and Penn never got closer than 5 the rest of the way.

If you're going to be a fan of an Ivy League basketball team, Penn or Princeton is the horse to take. Since 1960, only four times has one of those two schools not been the champion (in 2002, they finished in a 3-way tie with Yale for the win; Penn ended up going to the tournament). Penn's best year was 1979, when they went to the Final Four and lost to then-Earvin Johnson's Michigan State Spartans (they also lost to DePaul in the consolation game, and for the record, Princeton also made the Final Four only once, in 1965, though they've had more tourney success and buzz recently).

You would think that my other school, being in the Big Ten, would have a shinier record, but largely what that gets them is a better seeding and therefore a chance to win the first round game before losing the second. Minnesota's best year was 1997 1990, when they went to the Final Four the Elite Eight as a six-seed.

But hey, I managed to slip out of work long enough to be watching the game when Penn took the lead. I have a nice little 2007 tournament memory, and considering my schools, not a bad one. Now I can just root for my bracket.

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