Twenty years ago
Ron Virgil left his mark on that
game, helping No. 7 seed
"What I remember is no one gave us
a chance, including the announcers on TV," said Virgil, 42. "(The announcers)
said we looked like a junior varsity team compared to
Virgil, a 6-foot-4 forward, scored
14 points in the game, six more than his average, to help engineer the upset.
Virgil used his quickness to bother
"I thought they were playing a
zone on us," Virgil said. "Roy Tarpley (
While the win was historic, it
meant even more to then-coach Johnny Orr, who coached
"(Orr) never said anything, but I can just imagine how he felt," Virgil said. "All (Orr) ever told us before games were to go out and play hard. He said even if we lost by 50, if we played hard that was the main thing."
The game also had a special significance for Virgil, who did not start until his senior season.
"It was pretty exciting because a lot of my friends and family got to see me play on TV," he said. "It was a great time (for the players). It was a big step for ISU basketball."
Before ISU could make an historic
leap, they had to fend off pesky No. 10 seed
Future NBA star Ron Harper led the Redskins with a 26.4 PPG scoring average.
Harper came up big against the
"I remember with 10 minutes left in the game we were down, and I was standing at half court," Virgil said. "I just told myself, ‘We can't lose this game.' The year before we lost in the first round. I didn't want to do that again."
Luckily, ISU came back and knotted the game to force overtime. In overtime with two seconds left, Jeff Hornacek hit a 25-footer to give the Cyclones an 81-79 win and a date with the No. 5-ranked Wolverines.
Virgil, who was nicknamed Ice Man
for his hero affinity for George Gervin, said he thinks about the
"Of course I do," he said. "That
game proved you have to go out and play. If you don't, you aren't going to win.
You aren't going to win because of your name. I think
Virgil came to
"I was pretty good in high school, but then I got to college and everybody on the team was All-State."
"Not everybody could start. I wanted to contribute to the team any way could."
After his time was done at ISU, Virgil gave up basketball for a career in business.
Virgil and his wife Loretta have been married for 10 years. They have two daughters, Enjoli,11, and Lashawnad ,22, who was Loretta's daughter from a previous marriage.
Virgil also has a grandson Jalen. (two-and-a half)
"I tried to get a job and become a family man," Virgil said.