Archive for Sunday, March 21, 2010

Northern Iowa relishes victory

This is a pretty awesome story’

Kansas guard Brady Morningstar (12) defends UNI's Ali Farokhmanesh (5) Saturday, March 20, 2010, in Oklahoma City, OK.

Kansas guard Brady Morningstar (12) defends UNI's Ali Farokhmanesh (5) Saturday, March 20, 2010, in Oklahoma City, OK.

March 21, 2010


Kansas falls to Northern Iowa

The Jayhawks ended the season 33-3 after being knocked out of the NCAA tournament by Northern Iowa. The Jayhawks battled back late in the game but ultimately fell 69-67.

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— “The Shawshank Redemption” might be in trouble.

Back in Cedar Falls, Iowa, Northern Iowa roommates Adam Koch, Jake Koch and Ali Farokhmanesh have put together a big board to rank all the movies they’ve seen. The idea started when all three were bored one winter break.

“The Shawshank Redemption” has the top spot. But if Northern Iowa’s season were to be made into a movie?

“This is a pretty awesome story, I think,” Adam Koch said following UNI’s 69-67 victory over Kansas University on Saturday.

The movie’s hero — for the second straight game — was the senior Farokhmanesh, who hit the game’s biggest shot with 34 seconds left.

With his team leading 63-62, Farokhmanesh had the ball in his hands on a two-on-one break.

He started to take the ball inside so he could pass it to teammate Johnny Moran. But when he saw Kansas’ Tyrel Reed back off defensively, he didn’t hesitate in putting up the biggest three-pointer of his life.

“It’s a wide-open shot,” Farokhmanesh said. “If I didn’t make that, I shouldn’t be playing basketball.”

Make the shot he did, crushing any hopes of a KU comeback.

Many coaches would second-guess the decision to put up a quick shot in that situation. But UNI’s Ben Jacobson — who harps to his players that he’ll never yell at them or take them out for poor shot selection — isn’t one of them.

“When he’s open, that’s a good shot,” Jacobson said. “The situation really doesn’t make a difference when he’s got the ball in his hands and he’s open.”

Later, Farokhmanesh sealed KU’s fate for good, hitting a free throw with five seconds left to put UNI up four.

He immediately looked up to his mother, Cindy Fredrick, who smiled back at him while putting her fist in the air.

“It’s one of those moments ... you don’t think that’s going to happen for you,” Farokhmanesh said. “To have it happen is amazing.”

Following the game’s final buzzer, Farokhmanesh immediately looked for one person: teammate, roommate and best friend Adam Koch. The two leapt into each others’ arms.

When the two started playing together at UNI, they had talked about their dream of going to the postseason. Friday, they talked to each other at the hotel, imagining what it would be like to knock off the tournament’s top team.

After the game, Farokhmanesh — the 6-foot movie buff who was only recruited by Div. I schools Northern Iowa and St. Louis out of junior college — didn’t have to wonder any more.

“You guys were asking us the other day if we were intimidated to play them,” Farokhmanesh said. “Nobody was really picking us to win. Nobody thought we had a chance against them.

“To actually come out and do it, it’s a whole other thing.”


snowcat2 5 years, 8 months ago

By all real-world measurements Kansas had a wonderful season (33-3). However, since everybody had assumed they would be the National Champion it was clearly a disappointment to get knocked out of the tournament in the second round. As I contemplate the entire situation I think there is a lesson to be learned here. Don’t let a number-one rating go to your head. Sure, it is nice to be ranked the number one team in the country but that doesn’t actually mean you are the absolutely best team and can beat every team in any given game.

The season record of 33 wins and three losses means that Kansas lost one game out of 12. That’s a great record but it is really nothing to get all puffed up about. If you want to think about true greatness in a college basketball team, consider the UCLA Bruins under Coach John Wooden in the twelve seasons starting in 1963-64 and ending in 1974-75. During those 12 seasons the Bruins won 10 NCAA Championships, and had four perfect seasons of 30-0. They were clearly the best basketball team of that era, but they did not let that get into their heads. They came out and played every game with the attitude that they might get beaten and they needed to play their best possible basketball to win.

In Saturday’s game it appeared that the Kansas basketball players were not in the correct frame of mind to put out their best possible effort. The University of Northern Iowa certainly has an excellent basketball team but the victory over Kansas has not made them the odds-on favorite to win the tournament. They need to keep their heads on straight if they want to advance any further.

The University of Kansas basketball team needs to take the lesson into next season that every game must be taken seriously and to never assume that a high a national ranking will mean an automatic victory.

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