Friday, March 17, 2006
On the banks of the ILLINOIS River lives the champs of the MVC. Yes, BU over KU tonight in the Palace of Auburn Hills. Franklin, Ruffin, Sommerville, and O'Bryant. The Braves from Peoria down the Jayhawks from Lawrence in the BIG DANCE of 2006.
Yes, this was for Dick Versace. Jim Les for President. These guys have heart. MVC forever. I think we're seeing the end of the power 6 conferences as we know them. There is too much parity in college BBALL these days. BU had the heart, the conviction, and the passion tonight. This was goes out to all those midwestern folk who love the smell of corn in September, the vision of fireflies in August, and the taste of Pabst Blue Ribbon in June.
KU goes DOWN for two years in a row. Fist Bucknell, now Bradley. But, to be honest, the BRAVES dominated tonight both inside and outside. How about that 45-foot jumper in the 1st half by Franklin. BU. BU. BU. BU. BU. BU.......
The Braves shot 44% for the game and 41% behind the ARC. They outrebounded KU 32 to 27 for the game. Jim Les for President. I love the smell of the River City tonight. If it plays in Peoria it pays in Peoria. Yes! Big WIN for the MVC and the state of ILLINOIS. Home to Big Al's (the finest in men's entertainment) and the Civic Center. Big 80's bands used to use it as their launching pad for world tours (Metallica, etc....). Home to Caterpillar and big-time pro wrestling, they love their monster trucks and corn futures in Pe0ria, IL. And yes, it's been a long-time coming for the Harvard of the Midwest and the NCAA tourney. Rarely are those words ever remotely linked in the same sentence. But the Hilltoppers (another nickname for BU) came through tonight on a national stage by taking down a perrenial b-ball powerhouse. They also wrecked my bracket.
On a sad note, Ray Meier died tonight. He was 92. The lengendary coach 0f DePaul lived only 3 miles from my house in Mt Prospect, IL. He coached for 42 years. He went to the FINAL 4 twice and won the 1945 NIT title. He was one of the game's best coaches. If you played for Coach Ray, you played for one of the game's best. He brought DePaul to national prominence in the 70's and 80's. Who will forget that '79 squad with Aguire, Cummings, and company. Those guys could shoot the rock. Comegys, Corzine - wow, what an awesome pool of talent.
"He was a coach's coach, he was a man's man," said Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, who grew up in Chicago. "He was the face of college basketball in Chicago. When you think of basketball in that city, you think of Ray Meyer."
"He was one of the guys who helped make tournaments like this famous. He had to go through it when it was tough, really tough," former Georgetown coach John Thompson said.
"Whenever Coach had players, he was right there. Because DePaul was such a small, little Catholic school that didn't have a whole lot of funding back then, it wasn't that easy to get the players that John Wooden or Al McGuire were able to get," said DePaul women's coach Doug Bruno, who played for Meyer from 1969-73.
"He was a great coach, but a greater man," Heathcote said. "His longevity was unbelievable. He was a tremendous credit to our profession."
Meyer's team was ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press poll at the end of the regular season in both 1980 and 1981, and his 1982 squad ended up second. Those three teams had a combined record of 59-3 in the regular season but lost the first round of the NCAA Tournament each year.
Meyer's Demons also made seven trips to the NIT. His 1945 team won the NIT when it was the more prestigious of the two postseason competitions.
Meyer's teams posted 37 winning seasons and had 20-win campaigns 12 times. He was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 1979.