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  • Bill Chastain

David vs. Goliath in NCAA Tournament

March Madness is here.

I’ve watched Hoosiers twice this week along with the well-done 30 for 30 documentary, Survive and Advance, about Jim Valvano’s 1983 North Carolina State team that won the NCAA Basketball Championship in Cinderella fashion. So pass me a bracket sheet, I’m ready to roll.

Kentucky is the chalk, and rightly so given the fact the Wildcats are 34-0 and hitting a new gear down the stretch. Wildcats coach John Calipari won’t even do the aw shucks coaching thing where he downplays his team. He’ll allow that he has the best team–and given the number of Hamburger All-Americans in his stable, few would disagree. But he’ll quickly follow with his disclaimer that this is a one-and-done tournament. Anything can happen.

UK_National_Championship_Celebration Not Kentucky’s first rodeo

Still, Kentucky will reside at the top of most sheets. And, no doubt, one of the more popular bets in Vegas will be Kentucky against the field. In other words, we have our tournament Goliath.

Now, flash back to 1 Samuel 17:49:

And David put his hand into his bag and took from it a stone and slung it, and struck the Philistine on his forehead. And the stone sank into his forehead, so that he fell on his face to the ground.

Thus, calling all Davids! Is there a team in the field who can play the storied stone slinger?

Let me look into my crystal ball. Rats, not available. Perhaps tea leaves? No such luck. I’ll settle for my morning oatmeal (Tom McEwen would be proud, if only I had some chilled tomato slices). According to the configuration formed by the brown sugar and walnuts, Northern Iowa is David, lurking as the No. 5 seed in the East Region. I’m enamored with the way this loveable collection from Cedar Falls plays. They have a versatile big man in Seth Tuttle, they play offense and defense, and they’re on a roll.

In Survive and Advance, there is a clip of Valvano referring to the Reverend Bob Richards, who had been a Gold Medalist Olympic pole-vaulter in 1952 and 1956. Richards’ famous quote: “Every day ordinary people do extraordinary things.”

David vs. Goliath always makes for a compelling plot line. Go with Northern Iowa. The Panthers will slay the giant Philistine from Lexington.

Everything is in place for another stellar NCAA Tournament.

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