Bucknell did not send its pep band to Oklahoma City, but a deal was struck with Northern Iowa's. An alumnus arranged for T-shirts to be printed for the band to wear during the Kansas game.All I can say is, if I were a Bucknell band member, I would've definitely wanted to make the trip. After all, the team (from a school located in Lewisburg, PA, with an enrollment of 3500 students) is making its first trip to the BIg Dance in sixteen years; this would've been a good time for a wealthy alumnus (perhaps Les Moonves, president of the same CBS network that's televising the tournament) to throw down the money to bring the band. The one time that my alma mater, UNT, got to go, they definitely sent the band (for a really, really short trip to Salt Lake City, since they drew North Carolina in the first round and got summarily stomped), because, for a school that doesn't get invited every year, it might be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the students. So if the Bison manage to survive Wisconsin tomorrow, the alumni should band together (heh) and send the team some homegrown musical accompaniment for the second round.
Unfortunately, Northern Iowa's band went home after the school's loss to Wisconsin and attempts to scrounge another for today have been unsuccessful.
But when Bucknell returned late Friday night to "the Holiday Inn where 14 seeds go," as [Bucknell coach Pat] Flannery called it, the Northern Iowa band had stayed long enough to serenade the Bison with their school song – which someone hastily faxed from Lewisburg. (source)
At any rate, it's a Cinderella story (and what true sports fan doesn't think of Bill Murray when reading that phrase?), just like 13th-seeded Vermont knocking off 2nd-seeded Syracuse the same night, and it's definitely one of the things that makes March Madness so compelling (OK, that and the office pool).
(Incidentally, while surfing the BuckneIl website, I took the Virtual Campus Tour. It takes a while, but the campus seems really nice--very "college-y" looking.)
Whoa....Nellie? I was really surprised to see that Don Nelson stepped down as Mavs coach earlier today, but, as owner Mark Cuban said, he's earned the right to leave on his own terms. Best of luck to new coach Avery Johnson, who's had the reins of the team a few times already this season (he won his official debut tonight, incidentally), and thanks to Nellie for bringing the team back from perennial laughingstock to playoff contender.
Thunder from down under: Over at American Australian Fun, I talk about the typical March Madness office pool (see the comments) in contrast to the "tipping competitions" they have over there for the Rugby League (and no, as James explains, it's not a contest to see how generous you can be to your waitperson).