O While I was unable to attend the ceremony (due to the fact I was in Iceland) my parents did put in an appearance to pick up my plaque and thank everyone for choosing me. Honestly, it is a pretty humbling deal being picked for the IVFCA’s Hall of Fame. I actually remember when Mike Swearingen first told me about his plans to start the Hall (which was about 15 years ago, I believe) and I am happy to see it has grown so much over the years. I cannot say that I necessarily belong in the same space as the other inductees, but I am proud to be there. I have covered a lot of football since I left the Valley. Pro games, college games, state championship games played in front of 30,000 people in Texas and I have spent a lot of time in numerous press boxes, but I never felt more at home than when I was standing on the sideline of some high school in the Valley, watching the game underneath those particular Friday night lights. So, I would just like to take this time to thank the IVFCA for inducting me.
Now, on to more sports business. The NCAA began their basketball tournament last weekend and it turned out to be the madness one expects from basketball in March. The parity in the NCAA, due to the one-and-done nature of the sport, makes the tournament in 2016 much more exciting than it was 20 or 30 years ago. Honestly, anything can happen and you get the feeling that most of the teams have a decent chance at winning. Don’t believe me? Just ask two-seed Michigan State, a team that was dropped by the No. 15 seed Middle Tennessee State or No. 3 West Virginia who lost to No. 14 Stephen F. Austin. These were just the two biggest upsets of the first weekend of play, but there were plenty more mid-majors who knocked out teams from the power conferences and I’m sure it will happen again this weekend with low seed Gonzaga lurking.
Of course the tournament provides more than just upsets. It also gives us shocking finishes. There was no more shocking finish last weekend than Texas A&M coming back from an 11-point deficit against Northern Iowa to advance to the round of 16. Not sure how much of this you saw, but Northern Iowa’s collapse was truly epic. Multiple turnovers under their own basket gave the Aggies baskets to such an extent that, if you were a conspiracy theorist, you might surmise that the Panthers were purposely trying to lose. Seriously, it was like that Larry Bird play from the NBA playoffs back in the 1980’s (you know the one, Bird steals a Isaiah Thomas’ inbound pass and throws the ball to Dennis Johnson for an easy layup to give the Celtics a stunning win over Detroit) on repeat. NIU eventually pulled themselves together to force two overtime periods, but A&M eventually prevailed, which didn’t seem that surprising after what happened at the end of regulation.