Still caught up in March Madness

Mar. 26, 2013 @ 05:13 AM

I was browsing the headlines of my local paper back in Kansas and, surprisingly enough, they were all about basketball.

This was a banner weekend for college basketball Kansas, more particularly for the college that claims my hometown.

Wichita State knocked off No. 1 seed — and AP No. 1 — Gonzaga, 76-70.

I hesitate to even mention the other Kansas team that was successful over the weekend but, alas, I will.

South region top seed Kansas defeated North Carolina, 70-58 in Kansas City behind a very partisan crowd at the Sprint Center.

I have to admit that I bear no loyalty to the University of Kansas as I neither went there nor have I really cheered for them. However, they are the namesake of my home state.

That made the outcome of the game a little tortuous for me since I live in North Carolina and hail from Kansas.

Where exactly do my loyalties lie?

In all honesty, I paid little attention to that game as I chose to focus on other games in the tournament so as not to have my loyalties called into question.

Let me just skirt that so I don’t upset any more people outside of those that know I am from Kansas and think that I bear some kind of allegiance to the Jayhawks and get back to what really grabbed my attention in the basketball world over the weekend.

Wichita State is a school that very few — until this weekend anyway — had really ever heard of. Situated in the Midwest in a conference that rarely, if ever, touches the lips of the ACC faithful here in North Carolina. Wichita State has really only been known as a winner of the College Baseball World Series back when I was in high school and they knocked off powerful Kansas in the NCAA Tournament in 1981 behind 18 points from Cliff Levingston and 16 each from Antoine Carr and future WSU head coach Randy Smithson.

That’s about it.

Now, however, the Shockers are on the national stage after using a strong 10 minutes in the second half to send the first No. 1 seed home in one of the biggest sports stages in the country.

I found it interesting to read that, when the Shockers returned home Sunday, former Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow was coincidentally in Wichita refueling his plane and spoke to the team upon their arrival.

Now, Wichita State will travel to Los Angeles and the Staples Center where they will take on equally-surprising 13-seed LaSalle in the Sweet 16 later this week.

The Cinderella story is prevalent every year of the tournament, which makes it exciting to watch.

This year we have Florida Gulf Coast, a school that only started being a school in 1997, Oregon which is more known on the football field than the basketball court, LaSalle and Wichita State.

Despite the fact that North Carolina is out of the tournament, I will continue to watch the NCAA Tournament.

If, for nothing else, to see just how long Cinderella’s will continue to dance.

 

Matthew Clark is the Editor of The Daily Courier. He can be reached at 828-202-2927 or emailed at mclark@thedigitalcourier.com. Follow him on Twitter @UMass_MClark or @TDCMatt