David and Goliath

posted Mar 19, 2016, 8:06 AM by Bruce Gaughran   [ updated Mar 19, 2016, 8:13 AM ]

As a child, I was fascinated by the thought of a boy defeating a giant with just a slingshot. And, now, when I look back on my life, I realize I have seen or been involved in situations that could equate to the symbolism of the story. For example, when I was twelve years old, I chopped down a giant; at least it was to me, oak tree. I then cut it up into three-foot long sections. It took an entire day, but I will never forget the accomplishment. More than once in my business career I led small companies into battle against the giants of the industry—and succeeded.

I suppose this is why I love March Madness. The NCAA Basketball Tournament is the perfect example of boys standing up against giants. For all of you, like me, find their brackets busted after day two of the tournament, you know what I am talking about.

For those of you who don’t know, I will take a moment to explain. The best 64 college teams are invited to the tournament. 32 games are scheduled over the first two days. The winners advance. 16 more games determine what teams advance to the “sweet 16.” Then eight games are played, and then four games. The first week of April, the two survivors play for the National NCAA Basketball Championship.

So what does this have to do with David and Goliath? Well, teams from small school, often teams that have never played in the tournament, compete against the best teams. The smaller schools’ chances of winning the coveted trophy are slight, but still they compete. And, often, during the first and second rounds, the Davids sleuth the Goliaths and make history.

This year’s tournament signifies why it is called March Madness. I believe there were more first round upsets than in the history of the tournament. For example, the lowest seed in the Midwest bracket faced the second best team. Middle Tennessee State University of Murfreesboro, TN, with a student population of 20,000, took on mighty Michigan State University, with over 50,000 students. The Blue Raiders of Middle Tennessee defeated the Spartans of Michigan State. And, when time ran out on the Spartans, the internet erupted.

SBNation wrote:  Now, the 2015-16 Spartans will forever be remembered for something far less envious: Being on the receiving end of the biggest upset in the history of the NCAA Tournament. It's a statement that seems hyperbolic until you dig into the minutiae of just how improbable Middle Tennessee State's 90-81 triumph was.  

USAToday wrote: MTSU stuns with win against Michigan State: 'We took down Goliath.’ For a glorious two hours at Scottrade Center, however, a team nobody expected to last very long just kept going and going, all the way to a 90-81 victory against Michigan State that will debated for years as arguably the most stunning result this tournament has ever seen.

ESPN wrote: Middle Tennessee shocks the world, but not itself, by beating Michigan State. The small but boisterous Middle Tennessee cheering section started yelling "Biggest upset ever!" as the Blue Raiders ran off the Scottrade Center court Friday .It was hard to argue the point. The No. 15 seed had just knocked off No. 2 seed Michigan State 90-81 in quite probably the most earth-rattling first-round game ever. While seven other 15th-seeded teams had registered wins in the NCAA tournament, none of them did so over the wise-guy favorite to claim the national championship, as the Spartans had been.

Yes, the Blue Raiders of Middle Tennessee had sleuthed the mighty giant. Unfortunately, they can’t sit back and revel in the

accomplishment. They have another Goliath waiting for them. Sunday afternoon, they face Syracuse. The Orange Men have made 37
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tournament appearances, been in five Final Fours, and won the championship once.

You know what team I’m routing for. GO RAIDERS!