Just about everyone who participates in one of these NCAA basketball tournament brackets, alternately referred to as March Madness and the Big Dance, has had their choice(s) for national champion drop by the wayside. Several of the top rated teams have fallen to lower ranked opponents and smaller schools.
Perhaps none fell harder than Mizzou's rival, the Kansas Jayhawks. For most of the season the top ranked team in the country entered the tournament as the team favored to win it all and be named national champion.
So, when the Jayhawks with an enrollment of approximately 27,000 students went up against the University of Northern Iowa (Cedar Falls, Iowa), and its student population of roughly 11,000 undergraduates they were, um, confident. The Panthers of UNI, and whose website proclaims, "bigger isn't always better," stunned the college basketball world with a 69-67 victory.
The Kansas loss meant a lot of people, including yours truly, lost out on any hope for winning one of those bracket contests. However, one of our local attorneys who chose with his head and not his heart, probably said it best when his choice for national champion was eliminated, "I'll take that hit to my bracket just to see Kansas lose."
Rivalry trumps a lot of things, including bragging rights in the office pool.
According to one former radio guy from Malden, turned web designer and school board member, but who shall go unnamed to protect my source, the beat-down of the Jayhawks will not soon be forgotten.
The date has not yet been set, but Kansas will be coming to Columbia next year to play the Tigers. Word on the street is that a lot of purple and gold University of Northern Iowa shirts will be in the stands. I doubt that means a busload of UNI students are going to make the trip south. Seems the Zou Crew has plans to remind the Jayhawkers of what was surely one of the low points in KU basketball lore.
By the way, with Missouri picked in the preseason to finish in the bottom third of the Big 12 Conference and ultimately going to the NCAA tournament to lose in the second round and Kansas being pre-maturely crowned national champs only to lose in the same second round -- which school had the better year? Mizzou was clearly rebuilding this year while Kansas simply reloaded its talent. Something a winning tradition makes it much easier to do.
One other, by the way. Did anyone else notice a similarity in the style of play between Missouri's "Fastest 40 Minutes in Basketball" as Coach Mike Anderson likes to refer to his game plan and Coach Jim Vaughn's KHS Indian team this year? Is Vaughn creating the "Quickest 32 Minutes in Basketball?"
Final, by the way. The Indians were one of the last eight class three schools playing this year, before losing to eventual champion, Cardinal Ritter, a private school in St. Louis.
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Some Cards fans have to be wondering what's really up with Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday. Holliday, signed to a mega-contract in the off season, is already on record saying he only needs 20 at-bats, or so to be ready for the year. Now it looks like Pujols is following suit.
Both have missed a lot of games this spring because of "tweaked muscles" and "stiffness." I doubt there is much cause for concern in Cardinal Nation. More than likely it's just a case of "veteranitis," as in "my spot on the roster is set and I'm not gonna over do it in spring training."
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"The Kennett Junior Chamber of Commerce has completed its roster for the Jaycee Rock 'N Roll Show to be held as part of the Delta Fair Grounds. The program will begin at 7:30 p.m....
"Narvel Felts and his Rockets, whose recording of '3,000 miles' has recently received national attention, will be one of the feature performers. Felts, who is from Bernie, has one of the outstanding rock 'n roll bands in this area and is currently touring Canada.
"Norma Brock and the Keynoters will also appear on the program. This Bragg City quartet canceled an earlier appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show because of illness. They have appeared with Tommy Sands and George Gobel and received national attention through their record, 'I'm Gonna Build a Mountain.' The bouncy quartet has completely revamped its act and will present its new songs and new rhythm section at the Jaycee Show."
Thanks to the DDD's unofficial, but much appreciated historian Vivian Helton who found news of this civic endeavor on page 1A of the DDD's Wed., Aug. 19, 1959 newspaper.
Bud Hunt is publisher of the Daily Dunklin Democrat, Daily Statesman, Delta News-Citizen, Missourian-News and North Stoddard Countian.