Tuesday, March 13, 2007

CINDERELLAS

Here's a guard-heavy ten man roster of my favorite Cinderella players since the NCAAs expanded to 64 teams in 1985. All of these guys played a major role in leading their teams to first-round upsets.

Guards:

Bryce Drew, Valparaiso (1998). The play. The shot. The dive. The celebration. The best tournament moment - ever.

Ken "Mouse" McFadden, Cleveland State (1986). The face of Cleveland State, along with their unfortunate cokehead coach Kevin Mackey. They took down Indiana in a game immortalized in John Feinstein's Season on the Brink; the loss would be a rallying point for Bob Knight's title run a year later.

Bo Kimble, Loyola Marymount (1990). The heart and soul of the most emotional run in tournament history. Left-handed free throws in honor of a fallen friend. I had the great pleasure of watching them beat a very good Alabama team in the regional semis. Total magic. He scored 45 points in LMU's first-round upset of New Mexico State.

Steve Nash, Santa Clara (1993). Sometimes these Cinderellas have second acts. Nash is one who has gone on to do even greater things in the pros. As a collegian, he led the Broncos to a shocking upset of #2 Arizona back in the day when Lute Olson couldn't coach in the tournament.

Pete Meyers, Arkansas-Little Rock (1986). Scored 29 points in 29 minutes to knock off #3 Notre Dame. Later became famous as guy who (for a short time) succeeded Michael Jordan as Chicago's starting two-guard.

Forwards:
Harold "The Show" Arceneaux, Weber State (1999). Single-handedly eliminated North Carolina with 36 points in maybe the most dominant first-round performance in modern tournament history. Never caught on in the NBA, oddly enough.

Gabe Lewullis, Princeton (1996). The freshman was the guy who slipped behind a back pick and made the layup that knocked out the defending champion Bruins. Lewullis would go on to be a three-time All-Ivy pick, and Cal fans remember him as a first-round problem the following season. Today's he's an orthopedic surgeon, apparently.

Taylor Coppenrath, Vermont (2005). The hulking kid with incredible game and, for a week, the toast of all New England. Scored 16 points as the Catamounts (!) upset #4 seed Syracuse.

Tarvis Williams, Hampton (2001). Williams was far and away the best player on the Hampton squad, but he got into early foul trouble against #2 Iowa State. He notched his fourth foul with 13 minutes to play and the favored Cyclones making a run to take the lead. His coach left him in, and he made the four-footer with six seconds left that sealed the 2-15 upset.

Center:
Darryl Bedford, Austin Peay (1987). Bedford, a center, stepped outside to help Peay knock off favored Illinois. He made five 3's on the way to 24 points in a 68-67 upset of #3 Illinois, who were led by Kendall Gill and Nick Anderson.

Coach:
Dick Tarrant, Richmond. Tarrant's Richmond Spiders were the Cinderella team of the late 80s and early 90s. In '88 they knocked off defending champion Indiana, and in '91 took out two-seed Syracuse at Cole Field House - I was there, and have never had more fun cheering for an underdog.

4 Comments:

At 9:58 AM, Anonymous valpo grad said...

what bout valparaiso with bryce drew in 98?

 
At 11:53 AM, Blogger Tightwad said...

He's the first guy listed.

 
At 4:08 PM, Anonymous my bad valpo grad said...

ooopsy oopsy. sorry.

 
At 9:09 PM, Blogger T. said...

Kit Mueller at Princeton playing Alonzo Mourning straight up and almost beating G'Town as a 16 seed.

 

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