From a hipster bar in Boston, I watched the Hoosiers tame the Wildcats with a last minute three-pointer this past Saturday night. The highlight, as it came across SportsCenter, didn’t garner a second glance from most of the patrons. That wasn’t surprising to me.
As I watched that final shot sink into the net, I felt something build up inside me. That’s because I knew what was next. The court storm, of course. I got my shot to do so during my undergraduate days.
And I feel so lucky to have experienced it. That’s the scene from when Massachusetts took down a top-10 Uconn team in 2004. The Huskies were also defending national champions. It was out moment to shine that season. Our rushing of the court ended up number two on the nightly SportsCenter top-10. What could be more important? Well, that night Tracy McGrady had to drop 13 points in like 33 seconds in Houston to outdo my university.
While I’m sure the Rockets fans were loving T-Mac performance, that can’t compare to what took place in Amherst that night. That connection between the fans and the players is unparalleled. This is again what I saw in Bloomington, Indiana on Saturday. The excitement of college basketball is so intense that it literally spills over from the stands onto the court. And, consequently, that’s the way the players play the game. They play with the strength, and same passion, of the 10,000+ students who are cheering them on.
As I saw student begin to pour from the stands in Bloomington, I nearly got goosebumps. Finally that historic program might just be back on track. Remember, I told you it’d happen. Greater than the program as a whole; those kids get to experience the feeling of celebrating a big win on their home court. Literally.
[Video h/t to Eamonn Brennan]