Well, those Rough Riders boarded the Illinois Central and went down to Champaign, intoxicated with their long, hard climb up the Chicago pyramid, and found in the first round of the Sweet Sixteen Tournament in Huff Gym, at the University of Illinois, that they would be facing Pinckneyville High School's Panthers Pinckneyville, with a deliberate, controlled offense, shut us down and sent us home to a lesson I've never forgotten. Never underrate your opponent and take victory for granted.
I had never heard of Pinckneyville, at the time, but I had heard of Bowling Green, Kentucky and the Western Kentucky University Hilltoppers
As the Bruins faced the Hilltoppers, I got to know more about this school and the community, and discovered that they had a point guard, Tyrone Brazelton, who was a Chicagoan, and an admirer of the Bruins' Darren Collison, and that Brazelton had studied game videos of Collison to learn about his techniques.
He studied well, and he nearly turned the game around as the Bruins barely squeaked out a victory. "Tops Lose to Top-Seeded UCLA in Sweet 16," was how the College Heights Herald put it.
"Bruins almost get fouled up," was how my favorite sportswriter, Diane Pucin put it, in the Los Angeles Times.
I feel like we escaped by the skin of our teeth, and if we had lost, we would have lost to a bunch of class athletes who carried a sling shot in their back pockets. Goliath would have gone down with a mighty thud, and the Red Towels would have been waving in the breeze. Lee did not have his usual great game. In the middle, they couldn't match up to Love....few can, and James Keefe rose to unprecedented heights to make up for a gimpy Luc Richard M'bah a Moute. Josh Shipp resurrected himself sufficiently, while Darren Collison all but disappeared with a lot of help from my Chicago bro....okay, that's a stretch for a 72 year old, former Cub fan, but if Obama is my guy, and he is, why can't Brazelton be my Bro'?
I love the way Coach Darrin Horn, who played for WKU and met his wife at WKU, played his bench at the end so that they could tell their grandchildren the were in the Sweet 16, and then said he was staying at WKU despite his coaching success.
I love the fact that my new Bro, Tyrone, is going to graduate in Sociology!
I'd love to see the Corvette Museum and manufacturing plant, and, and this is a threat, I'm going to see if WKU has some short course in History or Sociology that would provide me with an excuse.... maybe a CME course nearby where I could further my medical knowledge and discover an area that I hold in great respect.
Here's to you, Hilltoppers!