NCAA Cinderella Stories

Please share your favorite memories of NCAA tournament game upsets. They are preferrably from an early round game, when the upsets are more significant. I want to hear from fans of the Davids that slew Goliath. Is there someone on the board here who went to Cleveland State when they had their run? How about Chaminade? Middle Tennessee State anyone? How bout Austin Peay? Princeton? Gonzaga?

Apologies to the mods if this is better suited for MPSIMS.

Back in the late 90’s, my family went to a wedding in (I think) Biloxi, Mississippi. Somewhere around there, my brother and I found an outdoor basketball court and stopped to get in a game. There was one big guy (who they had some wild nickname for) that was just killing people- crossing over and dunking, hitting all his jumpers, and getting every rebound, it seemed. After the game, during which he probably had 18 of the 21 baskets for his team, I asked him what his name was. He said Harold. I asked him if he was in school. He said he went to a Juco. We talked about that guy for the rest of the trip home- my brother called him “Turtle-man” because his shoulders were really round and high (my brother’s weird).

Anyway, a year or so later, during the '99 tournament, my brother and I are sitting there watching some games, and they break in saying “Fourth seed North Carolina has a battle on their hands.” They cut in to the game, and Weber State is beating them. One guy in particular is scoring on them at will, finishing with 36. My brother, about a minute in, after the Weber state guy hit another three, says “That’s the fucking Turtle!” It was Harold “The Show” Arceneaux, and he had gone from junior college to Weber State the year before. They beat North Carolina and almost got Florida in the second round, too.

Back in the mid-90’s I think Homer Drew’s Valpo team, lead by his son, Bryce, was a game away from the Final Four.

I don’t remember Chaminade ever making any waves in the tournament; perhaps you’re thinking of the school’s upset over Ralph Sampson’s Virginia team at the beginning of the season?

I thought Princeton got into the Sweet 16 in Pete Carrill’s last year. It’s fun to watch all those brainy, non-athletic scholarship kids win games running back-door lay-ups.

Miami (Ohio) made a run with Wally Szceribiak (sp?) in '98, I think.

The reason I don’t get into pools is because I can’t enjoy the tournament if I do that. I’m not any good at picking upsets, so any upset would screw up my bracket. The one time I did fill out a bracket I just decided to root for the underdog anyway, that’s the fun of the tourney.

I’m a 1984 Kent State graduate and while I was there the sports teams were a joke. Well, that’s not true, the basketball team was mediocre. I wasn’t too upset about it at the time because I went there on a academic scholarship and had a great time at school. I studied hard and had a good time too. Sports were not something anybody at the school got too worked up about.

Three years ago (2001) Kent State had a really good basketball team, made the tournament and beat Indiana in the first round before losing to Cincinnati in the second round. It was fun. Then the following year, Kent had a better team and made the final 8 in the tournament, and that was really fun. An old friend of mine from school and I had this actual conversation as the tournament unfolded (note the use of the term “we”, as if my friend and I had the slightest thing to do with the team or its performance"):

My friend: This is great! If we win today (against Pitt) we’ll play the winner of the Indiana-Duke game.
Me: I’d rather play Duke. We beat IU last year, and they’ll be ready for us.
The sheer craziness of what I just said hit me immediately and I just couldn’t stop laughing. Any fan of a lesser basketball school like KSU who would willingly want his team to play Duke is a loon by definition.

You are correct, Dignan. My mistake. I think it was in the Rainbow classic.
Great story, Jimmy.

I would have to say the year NC State won it all. They were pre-game underdogs in EVERY game they played.


UAB over Kentucky. Today.

Chaminade plays in Division II now and back in 1982, they were an NAIA team.