As of Friday March 22 at 9pm EST, a grand total of 2 perfect brackets remain after LaSalle, Creighton won this afternoon. And with Florida Gulf Coast University (Florida GC! Really?) about to beat Georgetown, those lonely two will probably fall as well.
As a student and an alum, I’ve been watching my beloved Syracuse Orange(men) for close to 22 years now. I’ve never been bashful in my criticism of Jim Boeheim and I’ve also been one to acknowledge when he’s done a good job. I’ve witnessed some of the greatest games in the Carrier Dome, watched almost every big game on TV, enjoyed 3 runs to the NCAA Championship game, one National Championship in 2003, and have watched some of the program’s most painful defeats (Richmond Spiders anyone?).
But what has gone on at MSG during this week’s Big East Tournament has has made me even more proud to be an alum of Syracuse University. The effort and will to win that the team put forth this week in the 6 (!!!) Overtime epic against UConn was nothing short of spectacular (Yes, I stayed up to watch it against my better judgment). And then to turn around and go into another Overtime game and win against a very good West Virginia University team is just staggering.
All the accolades and hype for their effort are justified. Jonny Flynn is “the man”. He has played in all but maybe 5 minutes of the past two games. Andy Rautins has been “en fuego”. Eric Devendorf, not one of my favorites, has been clutch and mostly in control.
Tonight the Orange play a very, very good University of Louisville team. The cynic in my says it does not look promising. But at this point, nothing will surprise me.
I’ve been watching college hoops…geez, sports even…for a long time, and I have seen some amazing games, amazing performances, and witnessed some amazing runs in the NCAA Tournament. But what the George Mason University basketball team has pulled off this month to advance to the 2006 Final Four is just a story that transcends sports and will last for a long, long time. This goes well beyond college basketball. Its a nod to the underdog, to the right to dream, and to the will to win.
When the tournament started, the line in Vegas was 400-to-1 that they would win the National Championship. Well, guess what? They are still alive. To truely illustrate the imact and odds of GMU’s run to the Final Four, try this on for size: Of the 3+ million brackets that ESPN.com received for its Tournament challenge, only 4, or 0.00013%, correctly had all four Final Four teams.
To all the fans of GMU, I wish you all the luck in the world in the Final Four. I’m not going to predict anything, but at this point, nothing would surprise me.