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Sunday, April 23 2017 @ 02:52 AM CDT

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Upset?

This is a big part of why the NCAA Basketball Tournament is the big deal it is. The little dog gets his shot at the big dog.

Sometimes David does slay Goliath:
Vermont beats Syracuse.
Bucknell beats Kansas.

And sometimes the little dogs just get a bit bigger:
Nevada beats Texas.
Wisconsin-Milwaukee beats Alabama.
UAB beats LSU.

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Big Dance (W), Selection Sunday Edition

In (30):
Eastern Kentucky (23-7), Ohio Valley
Western Carolina (18-13), Southern
Canisus (21-9), MAAC
Santa Clara (17-13), West Coast
TCU (23-9), Conference USA
Tennessee (26-4), SEC
Temple (27-3), Atlantic 10
Michigan State (28-3), Big 10
North Carolina (27-3), ACC
Wisconsin-Green Bay (27-3), Horizon
Stanford (29-2), Pac 10
Middle Tennessee State (23-8), Sun Belt
Oral Roberts (22-8), Mid-Con
Connecticut (23-7), Big East
Holy Cross (20-10), Patriot
Liberty (24-6), Big South
Old Dominion (22-7), Colonial
Bowling Green (23-7), MAC
St. Francis (PA) (21-9), Northeast
Texas-Arlington (21-9), Southland
Rice (24-8), WAC
Coppin State (22-7), MEAC
Hartford (22-8), America East
Stetson (17-13), Atlantic Sun
UC Santa Barbara (21-8), Big West
Dartmouth (17-10), Ivy
Alcorn State (21-8), SWAC
New Mexico (26-4), Mountain West
Montana (22-7), Big Sky
Baylor (27-3), Big XII
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Big Dance (M), Selection Sunday Edition

In (25 teams):
Pennsylvania (18-8), Ivy League
Eastern Kentucky (22-8), Ohio Valley
UCF (24-8), Atlantic Sun
Winthrop (27-5), Big South
Chattanooga (20-10), Southern
Gonzaga (25-5), West Coast
Old Dominion (28-5), Colonial
Creighton (23-10), Missouri Valley
Niagara (20-9), MAAC
Oakland (12-18), Mid-Con
Louisiana-Lafayette (20-10), Sun Belt
Wisconsin-Milwaukee (24-5), Horizon
Fairleigh Dickenson (20-12), Northeast
Montana (18-12), Big Sky
Bucknell (22-9), Patriot
Vermont (24-6), America East
Louisville (29-4), Conference USA
Delaware State (19-13), MEAC
George Washington (22-7), Atlantic 10
Washington (27-5), Pac-10
Ohio (21-10), MAC
Syracuse (27-6), Big East
Texas-El Paso (27-7), WAC
New Mexico (26-6), Mountain West
Utah State (24-7), Big West

To be awarded today (6):
SWAC autobid, Alabama St. (15-14) vs. Alabama A&M (17-13)
ACC autobid, Georgia Tech (19-10) vs. Duke (24-5)
SEC autobid, Florida (22-7) vs. Kentucky (25-4)
Southland autobid, SE Louisiana (23-8) vs. Northwestern St. (21-11)
Big XII autobid, Texas Tech (20-9) vs. Oklahoma St. (23-6)
Big 10 autobid, Wisconsin (22-7) vs. Illinois (31-1)

At large bids to be awarded today: 34.

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The Big Dance: Who's In

Automatic bids awarded so far:
Pennsylvania (18-8), Ivy League
Eastern Kentucky (22-8), Ohio Valley
UCF (24-8), Atlantic Sun
Winthrop (27-5), Big South
Chattanooga (20-10), Southern
Gonzaga (25-5), West Coast
Old Dominion (28-5), Colonial
Creighton (23-10), Missouri Valley
Niagara (20-9), MAAC
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Of Winning and Losing

When it comes to college basketball, I slavishly follow my alma mater, South Dakota State University. My favorite teams also include the Kansas Jayhawks and the Duke Blue Devils. Because of my Snookums, I also now root whole-heartedly for the Tennessee Lady Vols (unless they're playing the Lady Jacks).

South Dakota State University is in the first year of the five year transitional period moving from NCAA's Division II to Division I. A weird thing about the NCAA is that in year one of moving up from D-II to D-I, you count as a D-II opponent for D-I teams, and count as a D-I team against D-II schools. So, basically, nobody wants to schedule you. Next year, year 2 of the transition, you're a D-I "counter" which is good, because the NCAA only allows you to play two non-D-I schools, but year 1 is a real challenge.

SDSU's Lady Jacks are having an excellent year, 20-6 so far, including a 7-5 record against D-I schools, and wins over the likes of Alabama, Kentucky, and Oklahoma State. Pretty heady for a newbie D-I program. SDSU's women have as much talent as they've ever had, and that includes a D-II national champion team a couple of years ago. Some computer ratings have them as high as 56th in the nation, which would put them in the Big Dance for women's basketball (unfortunately, they're not eligible, and won't be for quite a while). Still, not bad at all.

The SDSU men have not had the same experience. Their best player never suited up this year, victim of a mysterious illness, which was variously diagnosed as mono, Lyme disease or the dreaded shrugged shoulder syndrome. Their point guard bailed out and transferred to another D-II school a couple hundred miles east. Another key player, struggling with a foot injury, quit basketball. A sharpshooter signed from junior college (this was the guy who broke Kirk Heinrich's high school scoring records) never made it to campus. And then the season started.

The SDSU men's coach, Scott Nagy, is a good coach. You don't compile a record of 210-59 in nine years by being a bad coach. But moving from D-II to D-I is difficult enough. Nagy put together an extremely challenging schedule this year. Of the 13 D-I schools on this year's schedule (all games on the road, by the way), 10 have winning records.

Did I mention that of the three seniors on the SDSU men's team, they came into this year with ZERO starts between them?

Undermanned, the Jackrabbits were playing a schedule that was probably over their heads. One night, playing D-II Southwest Minnesota State, it happened. The Jacks quit, and got run out of their own arena by a team which had never beaten SDSU before. When you're at the bottom, you can stay there, or you can start working your way out.

The Jacks have been working their way out. Tonight, playing yet another D-I school, Central Florida, SDSU was competitive for the entire game. They finally lost by 10, but Coach Nagy was effusive in praise for his team's effort.

They didn't quit.

Sometimes, not quitting is victory enough.

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