Sunday, March 21, 2010

A win of epic proportions

As I sit here, drinking my lemon flavored Hawaiian Punch, all I can think is: "Did that really happen."

The answer. Yes it did.

This year's NCAA tournament has been defined by its upsets. Eight double-digit seeds moved through the bracket in the first round. Then, #10 seed Saint Mary's beat Villanova(#2) and #11 Washington shoved aside New Mexico(#3) to advance to the Sweet 16 .

Usually, if I am going to post a recap of the previous days hoops action, I will do it all in one post. Today though, I will do that post and this one. This post will be dedicated to the second round game where the #1 overall seed Kansas Jayhawks loss to the #9 seed in the Midwest, the Panthers from Northern Iowa.

To say that the Panthers win was a shocker or a bracketbuster simply does not do it justice. This win was one that will go down in the record books.

In the stinging end, KU fans are left to recriminate over a night of poor shooting (just 6-of-23 from 3-point range, with Sherron Collins and Tyshawn Taylor combining to go 0-for-11). And a night of sloppy ball handling (15 turnovers).

Winning the tempo tug-of-war, ninth-seeded Northern Iowa (30-4) grounded the high-flying Jayhawks with in-their-jersey defense, then withstood a furious rally to become the first team to beat a No. 1 seed in the second round since UAB and Alabama did it to Kentucky and Stanford in 2004.

Ali Farokhmanesh, Northern Iowa's first-round hero, had the biggest play of all.

With Kansas charging and its fans roaring, the fearless son of an Iranian Olympic volleyball player caught the ball on the wing after the Panthers had broken Kansas' press. The shot clock still in the 30s, he hesitated for just an instant, then cast his bracket-busting shot with 34 seconds left on the game clock.

Trailing 66-62, Kansas had one last chance, but Tyrel Reed was called for an offensive foul and Farokhmanesh sealed it with two free throws with 5 seconds left, sending the Panthers to the round of 16 for the first time.

Fast Facts:
  • Kansas is the first No.1 seed to lose before the Sweet 16 since Kentucky and Stanford both accomplished the feat in 2004.
  • Only once has the No. 1 overall seed won the national title and that was Florida in 2007.
  • It's the 13th time a No. 1 seed of any kind has lost in the second round, and third time it has happened to the Jayhawks.
  • Northern Iowa is the first Missouri Valley tournament champion to reach the Sweet 16 since Indiana State in 1979. The Sycamores, led by Larry Bird, eventually went on to play in the national championship game against Michigan State.
  • The Panthers also became the first MVC team since 1962 to defeat a
    top-ranked opponent (Kansas finished the season ranked No. 1 in both polls).
  • -- ESPN Stats & Information

    Next up is the Michigan State-Maryland winner in St. Louis -- and another chance at history.

    No comments:

    Post a Comment