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Watching these first round of games is getting me nostalgic of an unforgettable experience I had in the Tournament my sophomore year of college. I'm going to share this story here...
So, our UTEP team had just won the WAC Championship and were waiting to find out where and who we would be playing against. Turns out, we were drawn to play our first game against the University of Arizona AT the University of Arizona! This was obviously not typical of NCAA seeding, and everybody was really upset about it. Coach Haskins was REALLY upset about it!
This was a stacked Arizona team - Sean Elliott, Steve Kerr, Tom Tolbert, Kenny Lofton - a whole bunch of guys who went on to play professionally. But we went in there, kept our composure and followed the same motto we had all season. That motto was that even though nobody thought we could pull it off, we would go out there and show them what we had in us. That motto helped us beat Georgetown and Ohio State that season. This Arizona game was just another obstacle.
Well, guess what? We went in there and beat them in double-overtime. It was fascinating! I remember it like it was yesterday. There we were on the biggest stage, with all the hoopla, and all the passion that surrounds the Tournament, and we won! I think when we beat Arizona, we messed up about 90 percent of people's brackets. Nobody thought we had a chance.
(JR Williams- Sports Unbiased)
In my college basketball history, this (to me) was the biggest win we ever had. We were the underdog and nobody gave us a chance to beat Arizona at Arizona. And by the way, this was the last time a team could stay at home and play.
I can relate to a team like Dayton, the underdog, going in and beating Ohio State...especially when you are playing a team in your own state! You could tell how confident they were going in that they could beat Ohio State. You could feel their passion and that's what it's all about.
You can never really predict who's going to win a game before it's played. That's why these games are so great and that's why I never fill out a bracket...I'd need three or four brackets! I mean, who knew that North Dakota State was going to beat Oklahoma? Who knew that Cincinnati was going to lose? And there's no way that Georgetown should have lost to Villanova, but in those 40 minutes, Villanova played their best basketball. You can't predict this. That's why you play the game and you never know what's going to happen until the final buzzer!
Every possession in this Tournament is critical. You can't take any shots for granted because one point can cost you the game. Man, I love NCAA basketball. These kids have so much passion and give so much heart and soul to the game...and I love watching it.