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I'm feeling pretty excited about watching these Sweet 16 games! The sports bars are packed and people who don't even watch basketball are watching the Cinderella teams and glued to the TV.
Anytime you can turn on the TV or go to a game to watch young kids rise to the occasion or see teams play so well, it's exciting. This is the time when coaches are trying to find extra motivation to get their teams hyped and focus more. Basketball has been a part of my life for so long, and I love it.
I have one story that comes to mind as we head into the Sweet 16. First, let me explain the backstory. It was my senior year at Kansas State, and we lost pretty badly early in the season to Purdue. They were a good team (had guys like Troy Lewis, Todd Mitchell, a big fella who I can't remember at the moment), and they beat us by something like 17 points at their house. They were the favorite to win it all that year, and they kicked us pretty bad.
When we came back from winter break, Coach came back with a whole new game plan. He changed up everything, especially how we were running our offense, and we started playing better. We made it to the NCAA Tournament.
I can't remember who we played or who we beat, but we got to the Sweet 16. In order to make it to the Elite 8, guess who we would have to beat? Purdue. We were up against the team that really beat us early in the season and they were very overconfident about playing us in the tournament. Todd Mitchell (who's a good friend now) and a bunch of those guys were talking so much smack. But we took that as motivation to go out and play. We were so eager to show them we were a different team and were ready to go out and play! But what happened next really set us off.
The night before the game our team was eating dinner at a steakhouse in Detroit. The restaurant had a schedule showing that the Purdue team would be having dinner there that next weekend...days after our game!! They were SO confident that they were winning that they already had reservations for days later! Our whole team was so pissed. And I was SO geared up to show them that not one of them could stop me.
Well, we went out that next day and beat them. I think we were leading the whole game, but it was an exciting game, and we ended up winning by about 6 points or something like that.
Our team performance, the build up, having 12 or 13 guys and coaches really fired up...it was probably the best team effort of any game during my college career!
And now I'm headed to Anaheim to see the Arizona - San Diego State game. Looking forward to see who comes out on top!