March 10, 2009 1:00 am ET by Kyle Whelliston
Bally loves the excitement of March basketball as much as anyone, and he gets to travel all around the country seeing lots of games and meeting new friends! Here he is on Monday night with the South Alabama Jaguar mascot right after the team upset Arkansas-Little Rock in the Sun Belt semifinals as a No. 6 seed, showing the Trojans what "South in Your Mouth" really means! But we're getting ahead of ourselves... let's start at the beginning.
Bally's March fun kicked off at the Atlantic Sun tourney in Nashville. One of our favorite coaches in Hoops Nation is Tony Ingle of Kennesaw State; here he is with his son Tony Jr., who's the team's assistant director of basketball operations. That's a 2004 Division II championship ring on Coach's hand says the Owls are going to be real good -- they'll finally be eligible to play in the conference and national postseason after a long four years' worth of transition up to Division I.
Then it was on to St. Louis for the Missouri Valley tourney! We spent all weekend there. This was the stage where they presented the trophy!
One of Bally's very best and most famous friends is Missouri Valley Conference commissioner Doug Elgin. As if he needs a nametag.
It's Creighton Bluejays radio and TV commentator Scott Schumacher!
Bally spent lots of time in St. Louis hanging out with Missouri Valley VIP's... courtside, in the front row! Bally loves the ladies!
Wait, isn't that Pat Forde, award-winning sportswriter as well as star of stage and screen? He, Bally and Ashley Judd will be starring in Double Jeopardy 2: Triple Threat, coming
to theaters straight to video in early summer 2010. Look for it!
Bally met Andy Pawlowski, who was a forward for Drake back in the 1990's. Nowadays, he's doing cool youth initiatives for Nike out west. Mr. Pawlowski is the only person we've sat next to all season who knows what Twitter is!
When Northern Iowa won the tourney championship, Bally stormed the floor with the Panthers! Bally loves him a good floor-storming!
Then it was time to move on to Hot Springs, Ark., home of the Sun Belt tournament. Here's Bally with the championship trophy and the Most Outstanding Player medal! In that envelope is the actual autobid, a ticket to the Big Dance! Bally peeked, and said it wasn't made of gold like he thought.
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