UNI Panther Extra Points

UNI defeats Kansas in the 2010 NCAA tournament. Courtesy: Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier.

The University of Nothing Impossible did it again. They shocked the nation with their upset of number one overall seed Kansas in the 2010 NCAA tournament.

What does this mean?

A few questions to ponder tonight or Sunday as you are already celebrating in Panther Nation, which, I’m guessing just got a lot bigger.

Is Maurice Newby pushed to the curb as most clutch Panther to make way for Ali Farokhmanesh?
What about the most famous Panther ever, Kurt Warner?
Does this win help bring Warner closer to his alma mater?
Did the end of the UNI baseball team mean a win for basketball?
Does Ben Jacobsen need to leave Cedar Falls to be a winner?
Did distance make Iowans grow fonder for Steve Alford?
What are Mike Hlas’ best Iowa coverage moments?

Will Ali’s parents claim Wartburg or Luther by this time next year?


Here we go, a few thoughts.

Maurice Newby was playing for a re-tread coach in Eldon Miller back in 1990 when his shot shocked the nation against Missouri. The Tigers spent time at number one during that season before being beaten that day in Richmond. I remember that team well and what that meant to UNI. That was big, but so 20 years ago.

Kurt Warner really only played a year of football for Northern Iowa. But he dominated that season and somehow made it to the pros and will make it to the Hall of Fame. However, you don’t seem him around Cedar Falls much. There’s been stories about how one didn’t appreciate each other at various times during Warner’s time in CF and his retirement from Arizona. Now that both are big time, can you two kiss and make up now?

Kurt Warner first went to the Super Bowl with the St. Louis Rams. Courtesy: http://www.17wks.com/blog

St. Louis was sweet to Kurt Warner as he was the QB for the Rams that made it to the Super Bowl. He led the Rams to their first and his first Super Bowl. Will it be a sweet city to the Panthers to go all “George Mason” on the world and continue to shock the nation? UNI advances to play in St. Louis next week.

A previous cinderella, Valparaiso played their in 1998 in the Sweet 16.

Lucas O'Rear. Photo courtesy: UNIPanthers.com

Lucas O’Rear was a great baseball player for the UNI team, before the program was given the ax. O’Rear was the starting pitcher in the program’s final game. Did the end of baseball mean there’s more of the scrappy guy to go around to dive after loose balls or earn tough fouls or get clover leaf tattoos?

Will kids everywhere start growing mutton chops to be like Lucas? Or, would O’Rear still be playing both sports and not have as much energy to devote to basketball?

Northern Iowa head coach Ben Jacobson (WCF COURIER FILE PHOTO)

Prior to the tournament, basketball fans in Iowa were wondering, is Ben Jacobson heading south an hour to Iowa City? Would the University of Iowa take another chance on another mid-major coach? Is Jacobson the real deal that everyone thought his previous boss, Greg McDermott, was before he went to Iowa State?

The UNI fans we watched the game with Saturday night said Jacobson may be too big for the University of Iowa now. Oregon? Nah, he’s a midwest guy. Maybe Minnesota, closer to Jacobson’s home of North Dakota, may be a better fit if Tubby Smith gets a call to go somewhere else. Many Iowa State fans think Jacobson was the man behind the curtain during the McDermott/Jacobson years in Cedar Falls.

Then again, if you’re Ben J, why leave a team returning so many great players and good recruits coming next fall? Anyone see this Doug McDermott kid play with Harrison Barnes? Plus a few of the guys playing now are freshman. Yikes. Why leave a stocked pantry at the Mcleod Center to go to the cold fridge of Carver Hawkeye Arena?

Speaking of Hawkeye fans, while you were cheering for the in-state team, you also were watching that New Mexico score in the corner as Steve Alford‘s boys fell flat and were asked to leave the dance.

Were there any Hawkeye fans sad at this loss tonight? I didn’t think so.

Mike Hlas - Cedar Rapids Gazette: @Hlas

Veteran Cedar Rapids Gazette sports reporter MIke Hlas called Saturday’s win by UNI in his top 5 Iowa events he’s covered. Here’s his list: “Zach’s Masters, Warner’s Super Bowl win, Cap One Bowl probably, maybe Orange Bowl, Iowa-Mich in ’85 … I’m too dazed to think.”

And finally, Ali Farokhmanesh. Where do you begin? Clutch shot to beat UNLV, clutch first half against Kansas, then missed 5 straight to only sink a 3 pointer with under 40 seconds to play. That put the Panthers up 2 possessions.

Jess with Ali. From Jess Fredrick Beranek's Facebook page.

Ali’s cousins Andre Fredrick and Jess Fredrick were both Wartburg grads and friends in college. Both have been super proud of their cousin as they should be. Ali prepped at Iowa City West. Played a year at Indian Hills CC, then transferred to Kirkwood and then to UNI. His parents are volleyball coaches. His mother Cindy Fredrick, was the W’s manager at Wartburg before getting hired at Luther College to be their new volleyball coach. She also coached at the University of Iowa and Davenport Central, so the Quad City Times can officially lay claim to the story as well.

Where do you rate this UNI team? Best story of the 2010 Tourney? Will they make One Shining Moment now?

Even if you had Kansas winning the whole tournament in your bracket, you still must cheer for them the rest of the way.

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3 thoughts on “UNI Panther Extra Points

  1. Thanks for the notes, Paul.

    This is EASILY the biggest win in school history.

    I still think the 1990 team had better talent, but the 2010 group is a better team. Jacobsen sets the tone and gives these guys their confidence. Eldon Miller captured lightening in a bottle, but wasn’t a great coach by any means. Reese – Newby – Turner – Mullenburg – Phyfe – Pace – McCullough…those guys were amazing.

    At this point, Ali ranks third to Kurt Warner and Jason Reese in Panther-lore…but his season isn’t over yet.

    UNI is the big story of the 2010 tournament after the first weekend, by leaps and bounds. “UNI Panthers” and “Farokhmanesh” were #2 and #3 in Google Trends (respectively) for the three hours after the game, and “Farokhmanesh” was the #1 trending topic on Twitter. It doesn’t get any bigger than this for a group of cast-offs in Cedar Falls, IA.

  2. Good points on the 90 team. I remember them coming to Jesup to play on their senior tour. Great stuff.
    Where’s Joey Woody fit in?
    I did love the trending of Ali for the second night. Not much bigger than that in a college guy’s life to be a trending topic.

  3. If CBS does not put Ali’s shot on their final montage, someone needs to be fired on the spot. To have the guts to take that kind of shot and to watch the reaction of the UNI bench as the ball flew toward the hoop was priceless.

    I just wish that they would also show Self’s reaction of that shot – sorry, a little bit of the Illini fan in me coming through. 🙂 As a Cedar Falls resident for five years, I am definitely happy to see UNI pull the upset. I’m even happier that it was against Bill Self.

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