First Weekend Musings: Hoopaholic’s Gazette

Now there are three.

Clear contenders, that is, for the biggest college hoops upset ever.

Some remain in the Chaminade over UVa corner. 1982. it was so long ago.

When reporting the score on ESPN, after confirming it was not a mistake, Chris Berman said, “We can’t tell you what happened, but the No. 1 team in college basketball has lost to—we don’t even know who they are.”

Others, more inclined toward recency bias: UMBC, a 16 seed over top line Virginia. Oh that school again. By 20 no less as a twenty point dog.

The new entry in the hopper? Fairleigh Dickinson over Purdue.

While huge, this opinionated dude is going to discount that first one by the Silver Swords. Not that it wasn’t monumental, it was. Ralph Sampson was a Wahoo. But it was in Hawai’i, after a long trip. On Chaminade’s court. And in the middle of the night back here on the mainland.

Not on TV. Nor are there videos that I’m aware of. So, did it really happen?

Yes, but you catch my drift.

The Retrievers from the Land o’ The Wire essentially broke UVa, thereby perpetuating the dialog at the time that Tony Bennett’s deliberate style of play could never prevail in the Dance. Which debunked train of thinking again sprang forth after the Cavaliers lost to Furman this weekend.

So UMBC’s W has to be hugely considered.

But, Fairleigh Dickinson over Purdue, pour moi, is clearly the most surprising, improbable and dumbfounding.

The Knights play in the Northeast Conference, universally regarded as the least good in the land.

Where they won neither the regular season title nor the conference tourney, making it to the First Four in Dayton only because Merrimack was ineligible for the same dunderheaded reason Bellarmine was last season.

Other than the Boilermakers, FDU had only one other W over a school ranked in the KenPom Top 300. St. Joe’s.

#303 Texas Southern was their next best.

Among their Ls: Stonehill College. At FDU.

Etc, etc.

It’s not even close. There’s no way this should have ever happened.

But it did.

Tobin Anderson outcoached Matt Painter.

Plus never undervalue the possibility/probability that even the most “mature” and “steady” of frosh guards will falter come February and beyond, and melt under the glare of One Shining Moment.

 * * * * *

Rick Pitino’s introductory press conference as St. John’s coach is at Madison Square Garden.

Of course, it is.

 * * * * *

Transparency: I make mistakes. Too many.

And my readers are ever so vigilant about quickly correcting me.

But I’ve got no research staff. My mind is faltering.

It happens.

But rarely by the “experts” during the Dance. The CBS/ Turner folks have lots of researchers, major prep, etc. Egregious mistakes are inexcusable.

Like when an announcer — I forget which one — mentioned that Purdue had only been to only one Final Four. In 1980. When he meant, I hope, the Boilermakers hadn’t made it to the Final Weekend “since 1980.” Forgetting to acknowledge that Rick Mount-led squad that was broasted by UCLA in the title game at Freedom Hall in ’69.

Frankly, I forgot about that one also last week, when chatting with a fellow hoopaholic.

But I’ve got no research staff. My mind is faltering.

Which is my excuse. That I have an excuse.

One other thing the TV folks missed in another game, forget which one, that featured a comeback.

The graphics listed the largest tournament turnarounds in history.

Not on the list: U of L over UK in the ’59 Midwest Regional semi.

The Cards were down 8 at the half, 28-36. The final was Louisville 76, Kentucky 61.

No need to get out your abacus. I’ve done the math. The good guys were +23 after intermission. 48-25.

 * * * * *

Alabama, Houston, and UConn seem to be playing a cut above, heading into the Round of 16.

Lots of 2s, 3s and 4s back home.

There shall be more chaos.

It’s that kind of season.

Or my name’s not Fairleigh S. Dickinson.

— c d kaplan


3 thoughts on “First Weekend Musings: Hoopaholic’s Gazette

  1. Beautiful post, c d. The Chaminade Upset was HUGE. I concur. FDU, improbable. But that’s the Madness (insert TM symbol to avoid getting litigated by whoever.) Go UConn!

  2. According to reports I’ve read concerning the Chaminade game, there was only one reporter present from a stateside media outlet. He was in Hawaii to cover another event and decided to see the game as a spectator. His name is Michael Wilbon, a young reporter for the Washington Post.

  3. 3 or 4 years ago I had the opportunity to show a film on the Chaminade campus. In an attempt to ingratiate myself with the mostly student audience I mentioned the ’82 UVA upset. No one knew what I was talking about. Another failure to read the room.

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