Our problem, clearly, was that we didn't go deep enough.
And that brings us to Tougaloo College. Located in Madison County (no, not that Madison County), Mississippi, this small liberal arts college boasts such alumni as Aunjanue Ellis and Robert Honeysucker. With an enrollment of 900, it's hard to see how they could compete with Duke. But by the simple Law of Transitive Properties (which is something we all know is a real thing), the Bulldogs should indeed be squaring off with the likes of North Dakota State in the first round.
You see, Tougaloo defeated Southern University.
Southern then beat Alabama State.
Alabama State beat Kennesaw State.
The Owls picked up a huge win against Georgia Tech (THE MISSING LINK).
Georgia Tech beat Virginia Tech.
The Hokies defeated Florida State.
And, of course, Florida State defeated Duke on January 12th.
So there you have it....
When you make the jump down into the NAIA, the world opens up into a flood of beauty. Because from Tougaloo, it's not a far jump to Haskell Indian Nation University. In 1884, it was formed as one of the first Indian Boarding Schools, which were pretty much responsible for the final death blow to Indian culture in America. Indian children were taught only English and were instructed to forget their Indian heritage. So, positive beginnings. They are currently governed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which is a government organization that gave rise to groups like AIM strictly for the purpose of opposing them.
Oh, and also:
The academic quality of the university was called into question after receiving a #9 ranking on the 2010 Top 50 Dropout Factory list from Washington Monthly in their College Guide.The ranking was based on the 9% graduation rate reported to the Department of Education.
Well then. I think even Huggy Bear graduated more at Cincinnati.
But this year, Haskell lost an important game to Bethel. Nope, not that Bethel. This one is in Kansas. And has 500 students. Bethel is located in a town called North Newton. That's a town of 1,500 people.
Oh, and I'm sorry, did I fail to mention that Bethel College is a MENNONITE COLLEGE?
When I was in 10th grade or so, I was at a Burger King out on the edge of town (isn't that a Merle Haggard tune?), and I watched a family walk in from the truck stop in the adjoining building. The mother was wearing clothes that were hand-made and looked to be from 1870. The father had the beard that went down to his stomach. There were two children, both looking like they had literally been working the fields behind the plow-steer all day. I had just been studying about Mennonites for a class (as well as Israeli Kibbutz!) and now I was seeing them in the flesh, for the first time. I just had to know... so I walked up to one of the children and asked them if they were Mennonites. She said yes, and they all smiled and I smiled back and we parted ways.
And clearly folks, I have no bias against the Mennonites. They are goddamned dedicated to peace, and I respect that. I respect it so much that I will now joke about it.
First of all, does the team make their own uniforms with needle and thread? Do they practice by candlelight? Does some rogue edit their season's highlights into a DVD? Because if so, who will watch it? When you go to play the Mennonites in basketball, is there really any competition, or are you all just happy and shaking hands and helping each other up the entire game? I think the Mennonites would actually be happier with losses... that would play more into their religious beliefs. So long as they worked as hard as they could, of course.
And so it's really no surprise that Bethel College was handily defeated by Friends University.
There is a university in Wichita, Kansas that goes by the name of Friends University. No, it's not named after Edward Friend or whatever. It's just Friends. As in, friendship.
Look at that picture. This building clearly used to be a bank. Or a Pizza Hut. Or both.
"GOING TO COLLEGE IS FUN AND MY NAME IS ROMAN. YOU WANNA RIDE BIKES?"
When you go to the Athletics page on their website, the first link you see is for Cross Country. So we know the priorities are in order.
Also, take a look at the NAMES.
Denzel Goudeau (is that a cheese?)
Thomans Bland (not Thomas. Thomans.)
Eli Applegate ("Tis a fine barn, but sure it is no pool, English!")
Cody AND Colton Rausch (oh god someone find me a picture)
Zak Vanlooy (hey, who smokes grass on the team bus?)
When Friends University faced off against Bethel, the final score was 55-35. It may as well have been 1-0. Or just call it a tie. Because, come on, there are no losers in life. We're all standing in that sunlight, going for that Glory.
And finally, to just wrap this all up, if you're not going to give Friends University a #1 seed, then at least consider giving it to a team that showed they really have what it takes when they defeated the Falcons in overtime: Bacone College.
Mmmmm, I get hungry just thinking about it.