Great Moments From March Madness (Sponsored By Muscle Milk): Valpo, 1998
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As the 2011 NCAA Tournament sadly reaches its glorious conclusion next Monday, when one of two upstart programs (Virginia Commonweath or Butler) faces off against one of the two remaining blue blood programs left in the tournament (Kentucky or Connecticut) for championship glory, we will all be able to fondly look back at this year’s tourney for all the excitement and unpredictability which transpired over the past several weeks.
And years from now, we will also likely look back at some of the monumental upsets which have occurred perhaps as fondly as we do now when we reminisce about the 1998 first round matchup between 13-seed Valparaiso and 4-seed Mississippi in the Midwest Regional, when Valpo shocked the college basketball world not only with the fact they upset the Ole Miss Rebels by a score of 70-69, but also in the miraculous fashion in which the Crusaders accomplished the remarkable feat.
After Ansu Sesay missed a pair of free throws which would have given the Rebels a four-point lead with 4.1 seconds remaining, Sesay’s missed second free throw was knocked out of bounds.
Game Reset: Crusaders ball; Ole Miss 69, Valpo 67; Time Remaining: 2.5 seconds, a perfect scenario with conditions perfectly suited for NCAA Tournament Magic to be conjured up on the court right before our very eyes:
Dubbed “The Pacer,” the play was apparently stolen from the Indiana Pacers by Valpo coach Homer Drew and it worked to perfection. A half-court pass from Jamie Sykes to Bill Jenkins was then lateraled off to the coach’s son, Bryce, who proceeded to drain the clutch three-pointer as time expired, giving Valparaiso the unbelievably thrilling 70-69 win. And as so often occurs during the NCAA Tournament, pandemonium broke loose and history was instantly made.
Many thanks to Muscle Milk for sponsoring this nostalgic trip back into NCAA Tourney lore. Remember, Muscle Milk will “help you become the best YOU that you can be.”