Monday, March 22, 2010

....And Then There Were 16!

The NCAA Tourney is down to the coveted Sweet 16--

The field includes some of the usual suspects: the Michigan State Spartans, the Ohio State Buckeyes, the Syracuse Orangemen, the Kentucky Wildcats and the Duke Blue Devils.

Also in the dance are a few teams who on any given year figure out a way to make it to the round of 16: the Tennessee Volunteers, the Butler Bulldogs, the Xavier Musketeers, the Kansas State Wildcats, the Washington Huskies, the West Virginia Mountaineers and the Purdue Boilermakers. Kudos to these squads for more often than not putting on a good performance in the NCAA tournament.

Then there's the No. 10 St. Mary's Gaels, the No. 12 Cornell Big Red and the No. 9 Northern Iowa Panthers. Now it's safe to say that these three squads are not Sweet 16 regulars. St. Mary's is in the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1959 and Northern Iowa and Cornell are making their Sweet 16 debuts.

By conquering the No. 1 Kansas Jayhawks, Northern Iowa is now known (in the sports world) for something other than being Kurt Warner's Alma mater. St. Mary's (with it's 5 Australian players) has shown that boys from down under know how to play b-ball too. And Cornell has proven that even guys who score 1600 on their SATs can (on their spare time) grab the rock and take it strong to the hoop.

We can call them Cinderellas or whatever, but these three squads are relishing the moment and their new found fame like the Spanish Conquistadors conquering the New World. And I'm sure there's a lot more land they want to conquer. Let's not fall asleep on them.

To be continued....

The above logos are courtesy of their respective universities and are being used for entertainment purposes only.

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