MARTIN, Tenn. -- First of all today, I want to welcome the newest member of the Mid-Majority family, the "vs. Others" page. Every team now has one -- even yours! -- and it's got all sort of cool stuff on it like records and results against current conference opponents, as well as records against other conferences for 2006-07, the last five seasons, the last 10 seasons and in the NCAA Tournament. Here's a completely random example here
And secondly, there's this.Drexel 84, at Syrcause 79
-- Longtime visitors to this site, the ones who have been on the journey ever since the 100 Games Project
, know that I went to the particular school that won this game. Drexel was my gateway drug to the mid-major experience after a seven-year exile in Oregon as a Duck. Even though I was scouting Philadelphia-area schools in March 1996
, I never knew the place existed until Malik Rose jumped out of the screen in his gold lamé uniform and convinced me to go there.
I know that this game last night was a cold-served revenge for that 1996 second-round game that shuttled the Dragons out of the Tournament, any long-time Dragon knows that. And when the school that gave me the bulk of the necessary knowledge to build this website beat Villanova last week at the Ski Lodge, I was torn in half. I wrote a big writeup about how great it was, but I (perhaps wisely, in retrospect) never posted it.
Because I also know that there is nothing worse in the world of sports journalism than extreme homerism. You have Bill Simmons and his goddam Boston teams, every ESPN TV commentator and the goddam Atlantic Coast Conference, and my ESPN.com editor Andy Glockner with his goddam Pennsylvania Quakers. We get it, you're a fan, put a lid on it.
But my job is to report on the great triumphs of small schools over big schools, and I've done it for several years now and seen how happy and proud people get when the tiny unknown school they attended strikes a blow against the schools with alumni that constantly look down on them. But what happens when it happens to you? How do you stay fair and balanced about that?
Well, I can accurately report that the feeling starts in the lungs, they get all tight. Upon receiving the final score, there's some excited trembling in the legs and stomach, and perhaps a slight (slight!) loosening of the bowels. There's the urge to yell out non-sequiturs like "that's what I'm talking about, baby" and "yeah, bitch." This may be accompanied by an urge to wear all your logo gear (mine is 1,000 miles away at the moment, unfortunately), and put it all on. Then there's the unfortunate compulsion to text all your friends and colleagues, and/or leave them breathless voicemails with non-sequiturs like "that's what I'm talking about, baby" and "yeah, bitch."
The lingering effect is a lot like warm honey being poured down the front of your pants. It feels good.
But there are also more important aspects to Drexel's two most recent wins over the Wildcats and Orange, and also to a certain extent, its recent win at Saint Joseph's. You can say what you want about last year's CAA, about George Mason and Hofstra and North Carolina-Wilmington, but did any of them score two wins over top-tier Big East squads on the road, ones that may scoot into March as Top 25 (or at least Top 50) teams? Cold-shooting losses to Rider and Penn look just a little smaller now in the rear-view, and if the Dragons have a dominant league season and a Richmond Coliseum near-miss, we may end up having that two-bid CAA discussion again in March after all.Top-Five Tuesday (a day late)
This week, in honor of recent events, we'll look at my favorite Drexel basketball moments from the Whelliston Era (and everything after).5. The 1999 near-miss
-- The season started like Drexel seasons usually did back then: a few smackdowns by Big 5 and Big East teams. But once America East play started in earnest in January, the Dragons rattled off eight straight league wins to bring a mild buzz to a school that was rightly cubbyholed as a "commuter school" (this was well before the DAC Pack
started turning the bleachers yellow). Then there was another seven-game streak, and two quick wins in the league tourney, to set up a championship game at Delaware, held in Newark by virtue of the Blue Hens' home and home sweep. But oh, how a few hundred of us were so excited! We all knew how hard it is to beat a team three times!
But then Delaware thrashed Drexel on ESPN, who then lost to Tennessee at the NCAA's. Grrr.4. Sean Brooks' career
-- Brooks, a 6-6 center (don't laugh), is my favorite Dragon of all time, and I cancelled dates with girls to watch him play. He was a fearless, lion-hearted fireplug with a big ol' Barkley butt who never backed down from anyone at any height. He got beat up like nobody's business, but he kept coming back for more. He graduated in 2005, and I hear he's playing in Holland now.3. Yesterday's Syracuse win
-- See above.2. Last week's Villanova win
-- As much as we try to fight it, the satisfaction brought about by surrogate-revenge on courts and fields is something that's stamped in our Sports DNA. Don't know why, it just is. And I'm surprised my tongue is still in my mouth, because I almost bit it off last week. Villanova fans were the first and only ones to ever send me actual death threats
, back in the early days of the 100 Game Project. I hope you were all there, and I hope you cried.1. Drexel 57, Saint Joseph's 49
-- It was 2004-05. It was a season eerily similar to the current one: early losses to Penn and Rider, and a lot of campus apathy (more than usual, at least). The Joes were coming off their perfect regular season and deep NCAA run, and were still the toast of Philly. But in the night game at the Big Five Classic in the Palestra on Dec. 4, 2004, in what was supposed to be a primetime showcase for the Hawks, the Dragons shut St. Joe's down in the second half, and the burgeoning DAC Pack exploded in joy at the final buzzer (some folks on the CAA Zone
used a snapshot of that final scoreboard as their avatar for the next two years). As I walked home that night, the core of the Drexel campus was buzzing -- sidewalk whooping, overflowing parties, honking cars, high-fiving strangers. It was the first time in seven years that I'd seen the Drexel campus come together as one. It was beautiful.
In closing, I say this in the most professional and fair/balanced way possible, but Delaware Sucks (no, seriously, they do -- look at the record
And yes, I'm finished now.
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