Kids, today's blog is brought to you by the letter "L" and the number 6.
"L" as in LORD ALMIGHTY MICHIGAN STATE LOST TO SOME SCHOOL I'VE NEVER HEARD OF BEFORE and 6 for SIX UPSETS IN ONE DAY.
Michigan State, Cal Berkeley, Texas, Dayton, West Virginia, and Oregon State all got bounced like a basketball to Shaq's dome. It was merciless, and there were no survivors. This was the Red Wedding of college basketball, and everyone's brackets was Robb Stark.
"Middle Tennessee sends its regards," Reggie Upshaw said to my bracket. He stabs it in the heart, and smiles. I wail for my loss.
This was supposed to be Tom Izzo's year. Denzel Valentine was going to walk away with Most Outstanding Player honors. Magic Johnson probably would have built like seven movie theaters in East Lansing out of jubilation.
That was all before they descended into the madness, and now, they're headed home to prepare for next year. That's just the way it is, and now, the tournament won't be the same.
Enough about all of that though, let's talk about that UNI game winner against Texas. Paul Jesperson has probably become the most beloved student athlete at Northern Iowa since Kurt Warner. His mentions on Twitter (if he has one) are probably off the charts, as they very well should be. That was an incredible last-minute heave.
What make this kind of thing special is the fact that we probably won't see anything like it from the Panthers again this tournament. Jesperson doesn't normally hit shots from Jimmer or Curry ranges – his career percentage from three is 38 percent. That's not terrible, but it's not good enough to see that kind of play from him on a regular basis.
I watched a bit of the post-game show after the game. Charles Barkley said it was a lucky. Kenny Smith said God was with that shot. Personally, I think it was combination of both of those reasons, plus an Antoine Tyler assist from the great beyond. (Have y'all seen The Sixth Man? Great college hoops flick. Kadeem Hardison deserves more fame than what he has now.)
The tournament has also been a great testament to the strength and skill of the Missouri Valley Conference. Both Valley teams in the tournament, UNI and Wichita State, "overcame the odds" and made it to the second round. Let's keep it 100: both of those teams were greatly underseeded. Evansville didn't even get a seed at all this year, yet a stank U of Michigan team somehow snuck in? That's absolutely asinine.
If things keep going the way they have, the Valley will one day be on the same level of respect and prestige as the Big Ten or ACC. If either the Shockers or the Panthers are able to get to the Sweet Sixteen or even the Elite Eight, that day may come sooner or later.