What better way to kick off the Underdog Blog than at look at this year's #16 seeds and their quest to beat a #1 in the NCAA Men's Tournament. Can this be the year that the ultimate underdog in sports comes through? Will there be a movie made about the Mount St. Mary's Mountaineers? Will Portland St. or Texas-Arlington be talked about with grandchildren being the greatest upset of all time? Will Mississippi Valley State be known for something other than Jerry Rice?
Let's break it down how these #16's can make history. Any win will improve their current percentage of .000. That is 0-92.
North Carolina vs. Mount St. Mary's
As the teams tip off the game, Tyler Hansbrough lands on Jason Loughry's foot and leaves the game with a severely sprained ankle. This doesn't seem to phase the Tarheels as they near the end of the first half on a 10-0 run to lead by 20. As the last few seconds of the first half tick down, Ty Lawson lobs one to Wayne Ellington near the basket for the monster jam. Ellington gets T'd up for hanging on the rim. When the ref comes over to warn him to get off the rim, Ellington replies, "But sir, my finger is stuck in the net." The ref doesn't want anything to do with it, "That's it funny man, your outta here." Lawson proceeds to get tossed sticking up for Ellington.
North Carolina plays the second half with a 22 point lead that dwindles slightly, but this game is never in doubt as they win by 19 with the backups in for the last 20 minutes.
UCLA vs. Mississippi Valley State
With referees from the Big East, ACC and Atlantic 10 shipped off to the West coast for this game, the East coast bias is main story here. 11 year old Johhny Appleseed tells his dad that he swears he overheard the refs say, "O.k. boys let's show this west coast team that they can't keep up with eastcoasters."
Terrible calls all day long can't keep UCLA from taking down MVS in the last 10 minutes of the game.
UCLA by 14.
Kansas vs. Portland St.
Realizing they had no chance, the Portland St. players paid off some security guards to put a padlock on the Kansas locker room and stand guard. With no Kansas on the floor, Portland St. builds an early 30 point lead. When Brennan Bechard finally wiggles his way through the duct work, out a register and finds some other officials to open the locker room, Portland State is leading by 34. Unfortunately, there is still about 30 minutes left in the game and Kansas is angry.
Kansas by 34.
Memphis vs. Texas-Arlington
After beating Wichita State in a non-conference matchup early in the season and losing to Oklahoma State by 5 and TCU by 3, UT-Arlington took most of the conference schedule off before their run to the dance. The Mavericks get hypnotized into thinking they are actually the University of Texas - Austin and a #2 seed. They are running and gunning from everywhere and lead Memphis by 1 at the half.
Unfortunately for the Mavericks, the person that hypnotized them wasn't a basketball fan and the phrase used to snap them out of the hypnotic state was "greatest upset of all time." UT-Arlington looks up at the clock and realizes they are winning by 5 with 2 minutes to play. They can't shoot to save their lives and end up losing by 7.
Well, it looks like the biggest underdogs in all of sports will not break into the win column in 2008. 0-96 for the #16 seeds.
Maybe next year.