The University of Northern Iowa lived to play another day in the NCAA Tournament. The game was wild and filled with excitement. The Panthers prevailed over UNLV 69-66 Thursday night.
In a previous post, I confessed that this tournament would cause me little uneasiness because none of my teams were in the field. Okay, I confess. I was wrong.
The Northern Iowa game was a little nerve racking because I wanted to see my home state team perform well and win. So I must admit, I moved around a bit in my chair during the tightly contested contest.
I was pretty calm when the Panther's Ali Farokhmanesh hit the game-winning three point shot in the waning seconds. I am just happy I don't need to type Ali's last name on a frequent basis. Now, that would create some anxiety, ha.
Northern Iowa (better known as UNI here in Iowa) captured its first NCAA tourney win in 20 years. No wonder the state is celebrating.
It's not difficult enjoying this team. Ben Jacobson's squad is a bunch of hard working, no ego types. They practice the meaning of the word team. There are no stars, but parts that work into a whole component. And it's a joy to watch a team that actually makes free throws. I haven't seen much good free throw shooting this season in the college game.
So UNI opposes mighty Kansas Saturday in the next round. Here's hoping the Panthers forget about their opening victory and give a huge effort against the No. 1 ranked Jayhawks.
And before anyone discounts UNI, remember hope is a beautiful word in the NCAA Tournament. Just ask Murray State and Ohio about hope.