NCAA moments to remember

Daniel Madden

 Doing my best to mention Villanova as little as possible, I will try to recap the top five standout moments from this past weekend’s tournament action.

No. 5: Old Dominion winning. Though I have zero allegiance to Old Dominion, nor do I even know anything about them except for the fact that they beat Notre Dame and put Luke Harangody out of everyone’s lives, I will forever support Monarchs everywhere. No one will ever have to watch Harangody play in college ever again, and hopefully no one will have to watch him play in the NBA. Thankfully, his NBA future looks as rewarding as Tyler Hansborough’s, and we will either see him at the end of the bench or on a terrible team. 

Dream scenario: The Wizards draft him as part of their recent campaign against basketball. He becomes caught up in the Wizards’ use of his white-boy image, grows a handle-bar mustache and moves West to start a saloon. Nightmare scenario: The Nets draft him, and they become good. Then, after an illustrious career, Harangody turns to modeling.

No. 4: Jimmer Fredette and Jacob Pullen’s dominating efforts. Upsettingly, Villanova had to suffer through Robert Morris while Brigham Young University played Florida, so I paid little attention to Fredette. But the glimpses the world had of him — at a time when a series of mini heart attacks set off through the basketball analysts who boldly predicted Villanova’s Final Four run — were spectacular. Pullen of Kansas State took the spotlight away from Fredette on their Saturday match-up with stout defense and way too many 3’s. Hopefully, Fredette stays at BYU and we can watch his impressive shooting and sweet calmness for one more year.

No. 3: Since I have already mentioned Villanova and do not want to any more, I will give a quick recognition to Omar Samhan of St. Mary’s. Effortlessly, he picked apart Richmond and Villanova’s defense. Morally, I can’t give Samhan the top performance, but we all knew the end was imminent for Villanova, and in a way he put everyone out of his or her misery. 

He scored 29 points in 28 minutes against Richmond and 32 points in 32 minutes against Villanova. My friend Erik says it “was an incredibly efficient performance, all things considered. 

He should just play 40 minutes so that he can score 40 points.” There you have it. I will in no way root against St. Mary’s this weekend. Besides, they are the Gaels. And half of them come from Australia.

No. 2: Cornell’s Sweet 16 berth. Everyone knew Cornell could play, but they also knew Cornell got screwed by having to play a strong Temple team first round. Cornell Coach Steve Donahue felt no threat against former boss Fran Dunphy of Temple. Dunphy, on the other hand, has had little success in the NCAA tournament, losing 11 of 12. He has good company with Clemson’s Oliver Purnell, who is now 0-6. Both will consider denying next year’s NCAA invitation. Donahue and the Big Red then went on to beat Wisconsin in impressive fashion on Sunday. 

Before Sunday, people still thought a Big Red was a type of bear. Little did they know that Cornell’s nickname means that Cornell can beat red-uniformed teams. Unfortunately, Cornell’s run will end with Kentucky because the Wildcats wear blue. The last team the Big Red lost to was Pennsylvania, a team with a blue uniform. Can’t argue with science.

No. 1: Best finishes go to Michigan State-Maryland and both games Northern Iowa played. With four lead changes in the final 30 seconds and a furious comeback by Maryland to take the lead with six seconds to go, Korie Lucious hit the game-winner with no time left. 

UNI came out on top against University of Nevada-Las Vegas and Kansas, with the top performance of the tournament so far going to Ali Farokhmanesh of Northern Iowa. 

His shot against UNLV caused several people to ponder the existence of a Northern Iowa and why it is so cultured. His shot against Kansas gave several men the confidence to ask out women they don’t even know. 

And both shots gave us another week to say “Farokhmanesh” a few more times and impress our friends by maybe learning how to spell it. No shot had been gutsier than his 3 that put UNI up four with 35 seconds left against Kansas. Still in shock that UNI actually got it across half court after four possessions that went turnover, turnover, turnover, turnover, I watched Farokhmanesh pause at the 3-point arc, think for a second about how much this shot could cost his team and how much it could put his team down in history as amazing, and sink what became the latter. 

 

There you have it. Hopefully we see just as good things this weekend. Unfortunately, we will probably still have to see Southwest Airline workers show their stomachs and that lady on the Enterprise commercial choose between red or black. 

And we won’t see Villanova anymore this season, but my friend Erik provides some words of encouragement: “The progress of Villanova’s basketball team can be described as a periodic function like a sine curve. Villanova may be at the low point now, but rising to the top will be inevitable. It is simply the flow of the sine curve.”

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Daniel Madden is a junior classics major from Cincinnati, Ohio.  He can be reached at [email protected]