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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


McKale Madness

When the NCAA Tournament matchups were announced on March 6, I couldn’t have been the only person thinking, “”Great, Tucson gets stuck with the four most boring games in America.””

Man, was I wrong.

The only thing that could have made this past weekend’s games at McKale Center any better would have been getting to hear Gus Johnson’s reaction to Penn State’s Talor Battle hitting a game-tying shot from Casa Grande, only to be sent to Heartbreak City by Temple’s Juan Fernandez hitting the most awkward of awkward shots at the buzzer.

But then again, what wouldn’t be better with a little Gus Johnson?

Then there was Kawhi Leonard’s dunk to cap off San Diego State’s double-overtime win against seventh-seeded Temple in what might as well have been a home game for the Aztecs, who won their first two NCAA Tournament games in the school’s history during the weekend.

That’s what makes March so great – Temple, a school without one household name, took second-seeded SDSU to the brink of elimination.

Just another McKale moment that’s going to be on the “”One Shining Moment”” video after March 4’s championship game, right after Mike Bruesewitz – a 6-foot-6, 220-pounder with a curly red afro – hitting a three-pointer to give Wisconsin a lead over Kansas State that the Badgers wouldn’t relinquish.

Then, as if the rest of the weekend wasn’t action-packed enough, Kansas State guard Jacob Pullen scored a career-high 38 points in the loss to Wisconsin, which led to Pullen crying like his lifelong dream of reaching a Final Four had just been ended, and KSU head coach Frank Martin acting like, well, Frank Martin.

And for one final weekend of the 2010-2011 season, McKale was right where it’s meant to be – on the national stage hosting some of America’s best teams, reminding everyone to expect the unexpected in March, because that’s when things start to get weird.

And if Temple and Penn State combining for one of the tournament’s most exciting games isn’t weird, then I don’t know what is.

Tucson, a town that’s no stranger to basketball tradition, got to experience eight fan bases, teams, bands and mascots — all in about 12 hours of action on Thursday.

After that, it’s easy to see where the phrase “”March Madness”” came from.

— Alex Williams is a journalism sophomore. He can be reached at

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