<p>We're now just weeks away from the 1st and 2nd rounds of the NCAA Basketball Tournament,<i> (affectionately known as March Madness to those of us already afflicted)</i>...</p><p>..So, what better way to prepare for the madness than to reflect on the rich tradition of buzzer-beaters and David v. Goliath upsets that have happened in our very own Taco Bell Arena.</p>
In 1957, the NCAA Basketball Tournament came to
for the first time. The games were
played in Reed Gymnasium on campus of
. The NCAA Basketball
Tournament returned to
in 1972, when the sub-regionals were held in
again, but this time in the new Idaho State Minidome.
The Minidome would host the NCAA Basketball Tournament games 2 more times
in the 1970's.
1983 – Ralph
and UCLA loses
The Boise State Taco Bell Arena was completed in May 1982
had already submitted a bid to hold the NCAA Basketball Western Sub-regional in
the Taco Bell Arena in 1983.
In 1983, only 52 teams were invited to the NCAA Division 1 Basketball
Championships. Sixteen teams had first round byes and 8 teams had play-in games.
The Selection Committee was very generous to
sending the number 2 rated Virginia Cavaliers with Ralph Sampson, 1983's best
player and UCLA, the most successful NCAA basketball team of all time to play in
Taco Bell Arena.
In the Thursday games, tenth seed
upset 7th seed
52 to 49, and 8th seed
beat 9th seed Weber State College 62-52. The most popular player in the games
was Craig Elo of
crowd chanted "Elo, Elo, Elo" as the guard brought the ball up court.
On Saturday in
, Tenth seeded
upset the number 2 seeded UCLA Bruins 67-61. The
feel like they were playing at home as the pro-Utah crowd cheered the Utes on to
their big upset. Although the
crowd was pulling for the
Cougars, Ralph Simpson and the number 1 seeded Virginia Cavaliers cruised to a
54 to 49 victory in the second game.
would go on to lose to eventual National Champion,
1989 – Tark the Shark in Boise along
with highly regarded Arizona
fans were again rewarded with a great bracket in 1989.
with their superstar, Sean Elliot would play in
in a bracket that would include Tarkanian's UNLV Running Rebels and Clemson
with their future superstar, Eldon Campbell.
easily beat Robert Morris 94 to 60, Clemson ran past St. Mary's 83 to 70, 12th
seeded DePaul upset 5th seeded
66-63 and UNLV stomped overmatched
In Saturdays games,
drubbed Clemson 94 to 68 and UNLV out ran DePaul 85-70.
UNLV would beat
the next week, before losing to eventual runner-up Seton Hall.
This same UNLV team would win it all in 1990.
1992 – Shaq in
and a Heisman Trophy Winner plays
In 1992, Shaquille O'Neal came to
fans would see Shaq play his last college game.
Shaq was the superstar for 7th seeded LSU.
Bobby Knight brought his 2nd seeded
for the first time.
fans got to see Football's Heisman Trophy winner, Charlie Ward play guard for
. Fans would also see
's Alonzo Mourning play his last college game.
Over 6,000 fans would come down to the Taco Bell Arena to see Shaq and his LSU
team practice on Wednesday before the tournament started.
LSU coaches and players rewarded fans by putting on an impromptu Slam
Dunk contest among their players, then Shaq and the LSU players stayed in Taco
Bell Arena to autograph programs
for all the kids that came down to see the practice.
On Thursday, all the higher seed teams won, with
70 to 60,
edging a scrappy
team 78 to 68, LSU beating BYU 94 to 83 and
94 to 55. The higher seeds would
also win on Saturday, as 3rd seeded
beat Alonzo Morning's 6th seeded
78 to 68 and
beat Shaq and his 7th seeded LSU team 89 to 79.
would go on to lose to eventual National Champion, Duke.
- Bobby goes ballistic and UCLA goes Coast-To-Coast
The 1995 NCAA Basketball Tournament will always be remembered for UCLA's Tyus
Edny's coast to coast layup to win the game for UCLA and allow UCLA to win the
National Championship in 1995. The
Cheering after that game lasted a full ten minutes.
It was a huge wake up call for UCLA. The Bruins did
not have another close game the remainder of the tournament to claim their 11th
Basketball National Championship.
Bobby Knight and his
team were back in
and after they were upset by
in the first round, Coach Knight verbally abused one Rance Pugmire, a volunteer
news conference moderator. The
Coach Knight tirade was picked up by the national media and gave Mr. Pugmire
(who went on to become the Athletic Director at
) his 15 minutes of fame.
All the higher seeded teams won in the first round with Missouri edging Indiana
65 to 60, UCLA stomping little Florida International 92 to 56, Mississippi State
beating the Santa Clara Broncos 75 to 67, and Utah pulling away from Long Beach
In the second round,
upset the higher seed
78 to 64, much to disappointment of the pro-Utah crowd.
Then Tyus Edny made history for UCLA as the Bruins edged
with his last second layup 75 to 74.
1998 - Another "Bobby", An underdog
, and "Little Red"
No Bobby Knight in
for the 1998 First Round, but
did get Bobby Huggins and his 2nd seeded
team. The Bearcats were loaded with
gifted athletes and heavily favored to survive the first 2 rounds in
coached by Rick Majerus returned to
for their third time with a feisty little guard named Andre Miller.
The first round in
in the past had been ruled by the higher seeded teams, but that changed in 1998.
nearly lost to 15th seeded
, but held on to win 65 to 62 after NAU missed a last second three point shot.
Bobby Huggins was very upset with the close game and was critical of all
fans cheering for NAU like they were the home team.
It would only get worse for Huggins.
Later the first day, 10th seeded
easily upset 7th seeded
82 - 52 to set up a West Virginia/Cincinnati contest in the second round.
won their game over San Francisco 85-68 and
beat crowd favorite
74-65. The main reason the crowd
for their home team was the Nebraska Mascot, "Little Red"!
Little Red was an air filled mascot that would do tricks.
The person inside actually stood on his head and walked around on his
hands then reversed position inside the inflated suit.
The fans wanted to see Little Red on Saturday, so they cheered for
The second round featured two of the most exciting tournament games ever played
in a very strongly contested game 75 to 69 that saw
have 20 turnovers and still survive.
But it was the second game in the session where most of the crowd lost
their voices. Bobby Huggins had
made no friends in
and was openly critical of
hosting the NCAA's. The crowd was
on him and his team from the beginning. When
beat the Bearcats 75 to 74, Bobby Huggins kicked the chair he was sitting on and
his players refused to shake hands with the
team with one
player tearing off his
and stomping on it. Just like the
Bobby Knight incident three years earlier, film of the meltdown was broadcast
repeatedly on ESPN.
and the Miracle in
Everyone knows the story of
, so I won't spend any time on it. I
will just provide the link to the national media stories.
After having several negative stories coming out of Boise in the prior
two NCAA 1st and 2nd round tournaments, it was
unbelievable that the most heart warming story in the history of the NCAA
Basketball Tournament would come out of Boise, Idaho.
Prior to 2001, most of the games played in
were won by the higher seeded teams. That
would all change as a tournament record would be set for the closest scores in
one round of the tournament. Georgia
State, seeded 11th, upset 6th seeded Wisconsin 50 to 49, 3rd
seeded Maryland escaped with a 83-80 win over 14th seeded George
Mason, 10th seeded Georgetown upended Arkansas 63 to 61, and then in
one of the biggest upsets in NCAA tournament history,
15th seeded Hampton knocked off
Larry Eustacy's 2nd seeded Iowa State.
Larry Eustacy would never recover from the loss and would leave Iowa
State in discrace.
The games in the second round were not nearly as exciting as the first round.
pounded Georgia State 79 to 60 and
76 to 57. But those that were at
the NCAA 1st round in
will never forget the magic that day.
2005 – To Be Determined in the TBA
Link to the Hampton Story
to the Boise Brackets with Results.