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Randy Hollis: Randy Holllis: Friday night's madness will not soon be forgotten

Published: Saturday, March 17 2012 5:41 p.m. MDT

This is why we love the NCAA Tournament.

And this is why it's called March Madness ... because sometimes, it makes absolutely no sense at all.

And maybe that's the best thing about the Big Dance — you never know when some small-in-stature dance partner is gonna step all over some great big guy's feet and cause him all kinds of pain and agony.

How else could you explain an unheralded school like Lehigh, seeded 15th, slaying a behemoth program like second-seeded Duke, one of college basketball's true giants, 75-70, in Friday's opening round.

It was another one of those David vs. Goliath matchups. And, hey, the little guy won yet again.

That came on the heels of Friday's first stunner when another unknown No. 15 seed, Norfolk State, shocked the college basketball world by beating No. 2 seed Missouri, 86-84, in the first major upset of this year's tourney. Keep in mind this was a Missouri team which had 30 wins and was given a decent chance of reaching the Final Four.

Instead, the heavily favored Tigers were sent reaching for their baggage, so they could pack up and head for home.

And, for good measure, 13th-seeded Ohio University stunned No. 4 seed Michigan, 65-60, on Friday evening as well.

It was a historic day for the NCAA Tournament. After all, before Friday, No. 15 seeds had survived their opening games only four previous times, and not once since 2001. Not only did it mark the first time that two No. 15 seeds won their first-round games in the same year — and on the same day, no less — but it was also the first time that three teams seeded 13th or higher all won on the same day.

Yes, indeed, that's why we love the NCAA Tournament.

Heck, before Friday, if someone in Utah said the word "Lehigh," you'd probably think they were either talking about a Book of Mormon prophet or more likely about "Lehi," that lovely little town located between Provo and the Point of the Mountain — perhaps most famous for Thanksgiving Point and the flour mill that served as a backdrop for some scenes in the original "Footloose" film.

Before Friday's monumental victory, who knew that Lehigh's mascot was the Mountain Hawks? Or that the school was located the (oh, little town of) Bethlehem, Pa.? Or that their alumni include former LDS apostle and onetime University of Utah president James E. Talmage, along with actor Donny Most of "Happy Days" fame?

Certainly not me. Shoot, the school's enrollment is only around 4,700 students, making it considerably smaller than Dixie State College in St. George.

But after Friday night, when those Mountain Hawks knocked off the big, bad Blue Devils, they wrote a chapter in the annals of NCAA history that won't soon be forgotten.

The same certainly holds true for Norfolk State, which was making its first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance and made it a most memorable one by beating Missouri. For the record, folks, Norfolk State's mascot is the Spartans; they hail from Norfolk, Va., and their most famous alumnus is probably either former NBA player Bob Dandridge or actor Tim Reid (perhaps best known as the character Venus Flytrap on the old TV series "WKRP in Cincinnati").

Well, the bracket-busting Mountain Hawks and Spartans are still dancing today. But wait, no 15th seed has ever won two games in the NCAA Tournament. Then again, there's a first time for everything, right?

Win and advance, or lose and go home.

Yep, that's why we love the NCAA Tournament.

And may the glorious Madness continue throughout the month of March.

email: rhollis@desnews.com ws.com

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