Analysis. History. Perspective.

Sports Then and Now

Ten-Three-One: The Final Three and the Best of the Rest 1

Posted on March 30, 2010 by John Wingspread Howell

Seeding the Underdog Lover’s Best Tournament Ever

Butler v Kansas State

33-year-old Brad Stephens has led Butler to the Final Four.

The only thing that would have made March Madness an absolute straight flush for underdog fans is Duke losing to Baylor last night. But they came close enough for underdog fans. And this being the tournament in my memory with the most upsets and the most low seeds advancing to the Sweet 16 makes it the Underdog Lover’s best tournament ever.

The great thing about being an underdog fan is that even a nail biter, having to wait until the last minute to know the outcome of a David/Goliath match-up is almost as good as victory.

Now that Duke enters the Final Four as the only surviving one-seed, underdog lovers everywhere can begin focusing our voodoo attacks on a single target and hope to see them crash in the semi’s.

Before going any further with our March Madness analysis, it is necessary to explain the criteria we use to evaluate underdogs in a sort of reverse seeding. In other words, the top seeded dog would be the lowest seeded competitor.

What Makes an Underdog?

There are classic underdogs, and there are relative underdogs. That is why we can only get excited, early in the tournament, about the smaller schools, the long-shots, and the new arrivals.

For the first round we favor “Firsts,” “Worsts,” “Small,” and “The Wall.” Read the rest of this entry →

Cornell Men Complete Magical Run in NCAA Tournament 1

Posted on March 29, 2010 by Chris Kent
Cornell v Kentucky

Cornell made it to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history.

Whenever it was going to come to an end, the Cornell Men’s Basketball team wasn’t going to go quietly this year. The most successful season in program history saw the Big Red post victories over Alabama, Massachusetts, Vermont, Davidson, and St. Johns in the regular season. After winning its’ third straight Ivy League Championship it was onto the NCAA Tournament for the third straight year where they notched their first ever NCAA win with a 78-65 victory over fifth-seeded Temple.

Their second ever NCAA win followed with an impressive 87-69 win over Big Ten foe Wisconsin (No. 4 seed) which sent Cornell to their first ever NCAA Sweet 16, the first Ivy League school to do so since Penn in 1979. Along the way, The Big Red set a school and Ivy League record with 29 victories, finishing 29-5. While Cornell’s NCAA Tournament run ended with a 62-45 loss to top-seeded Kentucky in the NCAA East Regional Semifinals at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, NY on Thursday March 25, the Big Red played with Kentucky nearly the whole game. Refusing to let the Wildcats run away with it, Cornell gave a spirited performance behind the leadership of its’ senior laden team and 10-year veteran head coach, Steve Donahue.

To say the 12th-seeded Big Red were the underdog against Kentucky would be accurate, but not do Cornell justice. Being the lowest seeded team to reach the Sweet 16 certainly meant that they were going to face tougher competition. Yet it didn’t bother the Big Red.

This was a team that took preseason No. 1 Kansas to the wire this year on the Jayhwaks’ home court before coming up on the short end, 71-66. Kansas earned the tournament’s top overall seed and was favored by many to win it
all before losing to ninth-seeded Northern Iowa 69-67 in the second round. Against Kenutcky, the Big Red was in the game nearly the  whole 40 minutes and controlled the tempo throughout the majority of the game.

Read the rest of this entry →

Cornell Reaches First-Ever Sweet 16 2

Posted on March 22, 2010 by Chris Kent
Cornell v Wisconsin

Cornell faithful cheer on their Cinderella team.

Back in the day when I was not even a teenager yet, I developed a strong interest for sports. Soccer was my first interest and the first sport that I played competitively. Soon to follow was football, basketball, volleyball, softball, baseball, field hockey, and swimming.

While I did not compete in all these sports, playing just some leisurely, I had developed a fascination for sports to include even croquet, ping pong, badminton and bowling. Growing up in Ithaca, NY, the small city did not have any minor league, major college, amateur, or professional teams. To this day it still does not.

Cornell University and Ithaca College have provided most of the local sports scene along with the high schools generation after generation after generation. Ithaca College has won three Division III national championships in football (last in 1991) and Cornell has won three national titles in lacrosse (last in 1977) while reaching that sport’s final four two of the last three years. Coaches like the late Jim Butterfield of Ithaca College football and Richie Moran, who coached Cornell lacrosse back in the 1970’s, stand tall in the history of the schools. Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Dale Murphy: A Hallmark of Excellence
      July 2, 2024 | 1:53 pm
      Dale Murphy

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was a standout player of the 1980s, remembered not only for his exceptional skills on the field but also for his exemplary character and sportsmanship.

      Born on March 12, 1956, in Portland, Oregon, Dale Murphy’s journey to becoming one of the most respected players in baseball history is a testament to dedication, perseverance, and a genuine love for the game.

      Early Career and Rise to Prominence

      Murphy was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the first round of the 1974 MLB Draft. He made his Major League debut on September 13, 1976, at the age of 20. Initially a catcher, Murphy transitioned to the outfield early in his career, where he would solidify his place as one of the premier outfielders of his era.

      Read more »

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