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Sports Then and Now



30 Years Ago: The Birth of March Madness 5

Posted on March 13, 2011 by A.J. Foss
Lonnie McFarlan passes to John Smith for layup that would shock top seeded DePaul.

Lonnie McFarlan passes to John Smith for layup that shocks top-seeded DePaul.

The NCAA Basketball tournament began with the 1979 national championship game between the Michigan State Spartans and the Indiana State Sycamores, featuring Magic Johnson for the Spartans and Larry Bird for the Sycamores.

But the madness really began on March 14, 1981, when the top two ranked teams in the country and the defending national champions were all knocked off in buzzer beater losses.

All in the same afternoon.

The action began in Austin, Texas when the defending national champion Louisville Cardinals faced off with the Arkansas Razorbacks.

The game was close throughout but it appeared the Cardinals would advance to the Sweet 16 after guard Derek Smith hit the go-ahead basket to give Louisville a 73-72 lead with five seconds left. Read the rest of this entry →

NCAA vs. UNLV: Is it a Conspiracy? 10

Posted on March 17, 2010 by Richard Marsh
Is the NCAA still punishing UNLV for the antics of Jerry Tarkanian?

Is the NCAA still punishing UNLV for the antics of Jerry Tarkanian?

Of course there is but more on that in a little bit.

First off I am not what you call a “Conspiracy Theorist”. Well maybe a little bit. Like, sure there wasn’t another shooter on the grassy knoll. Like, Amelia Earhart really lost her way. Like all the disappearances in the Bermuda Triangle can be explained. Like Elvis is really dead. Now that one I know is not true. Here in Vegas I see Elvis at least three to four times a day, sometimes even in two places at once.

You tell me what dead person could do that. Oh and by the way here’s two more I’ll let you in on but don’t spread the word or I might be found just outside of town in an area called The Valley of Fire. Tupac’s alive for sure plus sports players never bet on games and know that Jeb Bush had nothing to do with the results of the 2000 election results in Florida. Duh, the guy with most votes lost.

With the 2010 NCAA Tournament on the verge of sending sports fans everywhere into March Madness my 20 year old nagging conspiracy that the powers that be in the NCAA land continues it’s life long vengeance against the University of Nevada Las Vegas.

This body of old, decrepit individuals really can hold a grudge. Geez!

Lets go back a little more than a generation ago. If you think of the City of Las Vegas to be “Sin City” now try to imagine when the town was run by the Mob, known in some circles as the Cosa Nostra, the Mafia, the Godfathers, that thing of ours, and my favorite, the Little Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. Hell our current Mayor, Oscar (“I was not a mob lawyer”) Goodman was THE mob lawyer for Meyer Lansky and Bugsy Seigal. No he wasn’t but it sounds good, doesn’t it? Read the rest of this entry →

Ultimate March Madness: Great Moments 40-21 4

Posted on March 16, 2010 by A.J. Foss
Danny Ainge made a magical shot to defeat Notre Dame in the 1981 NCAA Tournament.

Danny Ainge made a magical shot to defeat Notre Dame in the 1981 NCAA Tournament.

Welcome to Part 2 of the Ultimate March Madness List. Today, we explore moments 40-21.

40. 2003 Syracuse-Kansas
Syracuse’s Hakim Warrick blocks a potential tying 3-point shot by Kansas’s Michael Lee with 0.7 seconds left to preserve the 81-78 win and securing the first national championship for Syracuse and coach Jim Boeheim.

39. 1998 Washington-Connecticut
On the third shot attempt in the final eight seconds of the game, UConn’s Richard Hamilton hits a short fade away jumper at the buzzer that wins the game for the Huskies 75-74 in their Sweet Sixteen game with Washington and sends UConn to the Elite Eight.

38. 2008 Davidson
Stephen Curry, son of former NBA player Del Curry, becomes the star of the 2008 Tournament as he leads his Davidson Wildcats on a memorable run to the elite eight.

Curry scores 40 points in Davidson’s first round matchup with Gonzaga, followed by a 30-point performance in the second round against Georgetown as he outscored the Hoyas 25-22 in the final 14:24 of the second half to lead the Wildcats back from a 17-point deficit, then scored 33 in a rout of Wisconsin in the Sweet Sixteen, and then 25 in a two-point loss to Kansas in the Midwest Regional Final. Read the rest of this entry →

Cornell Men Seek to Be Bracket Busters in NCAA Tournament 2

Posted on March 15, 2010 by Chris Kent

Big Red players and fans react as the Cornell name is revealed during the NCAA Tournament selection show. Cornell is seeded 12th in the East Region and will play 5th-seeded Temple in the first round.

Big Red players and fans react as the Cornell name is revealed during the NCAA Tournament selection show. Cornell is seeded 12th in the East Region and will play 5th-seeded Temple in the first round.

For three years running, making history or ending droughts has been as common for the Cornell men’s basketball team as gorges are to the university’s location in Ithaca, NY. The 2007-2008 team finished 22-6 to establish a school single-season record for wins en route to capturing the Big Red’s first Ivy League Championship in 20 years. That team also became the first in school history and only the 13th in league history to go undefeated in league play at 14-0.

Last season’s club went 21-10 overall and 11-3 in the league while becoming the first Ivy League team other than Penn or Princeton to win back-to-back league titles. Cornell’s 2009-10 team has set an abundance of individual and team records lead by 6-foot-7 senior sharpshooting forward Ryan Wittman who became the Big Red’s all-time leading scorer (1,974 points) and was named the Ivy League Player-of-the-Year. However the biggest news for Cornell (27-4) this past regular season came on Feb. 1 when the Big Red was ranked 25th in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll, its’ first national ranking in 59 years.

Cornell remained ranked in the same poll the following week on Feb. 8 when it climbed to No. 22. After suffering their only league loss of the season, a 79-64 setback at Penn on Feb. 12, the Big Red fell out of the poll. However, Cornell has not lost since and has appeared in the others receiving votes category in each poll since then while ending the regular season on a seven-game winning streak. Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Drew Pearson: Mr. Clutch
      August 7, 2021 | 6:59 pm

      Drew Pearson

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is a former NFL wide receiver know as “Mr. Clutch” for his penchant for making big receptions at crucial moments of the game. After waiting for more than 30 years, he is finally earning his rightful place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a member of the 2021 Hall of Fame Class.

      During his decade with the Dallas Cowboys, Drew Pearson had a habit of making the big catch at the right moment to help the Cowboys time and again snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

      The favorite target of Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach, Pearson was widely recognized as one of the great receivers of his era. Though at the time of his retirement many expected Pearson to easily breeze into the Hall of Fame, his enshrinement was derailed by changes to the game which artificially inflated receiver stats and made the numbers he produced during a time when wide receivers weren’t catching 100 passes a season seem inferior.

      Read more »

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