PRUETT COLUMN: Michigan State, UNI broke hearts

Published 8:16 pm Saturday, March 19, 2016

March Madness was so much fun until two upsets sent this sports writer’s bracket and heart down the drain.

I have to brag a little bit on the fact I had picked Yale over Baylor, Hawaii over California, Virginia Commonwealth over Oregon State and Gonzaga over Seton Hall. My bracket was rolling right along.

Then, the Madness happened. Who was my national championship selection?

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I had Sparty of Michigan State beating Kansas. Little did I know Middle Tennessee would defeat MSU in the first round, 90-81.

I gloated in all those upsets I picked and now none of them really matter.

So next came my heart.

The Texas Longhorns were going to march into the Round of 32 and take on those Aggies of Texas A&M. KBMT sports anchor Ashly Elam and I would talk a lot of trash, the Longhorns would win and I would celebrate.

Well, folks, I am still trying to figure out who UNI’s Paul Jesperson is two days later, other than the guy who hit a half-court shot at the buzzer to beat my beloved Longhorns late Friday night.

Oh March Madness, how much I hate you on this weekend.

This is why the NCAA Tournament is such a beautiful thing. The Super Bowl might be the biggest sports event, but the Big Dance is the most exciting.

The first weekend is always so fun to watch teams like Stephen F. Austin take down West Virginia.

My father Ron Pruett lived in West Virginia for many years. I called and warned him SFA was a very good team and that WVU might be in trouble. He didn’t listen and his heart was in the same place mine was Friday night.

The upsets are so fun to watch. It is the little guys against the big guys. There sometimes isn’t any logic as to why Yale beats Baylor. Baylor plays in the Big 12, one of the nation’s best conferences this season.

Yale was in the tournament for the first time since 1962. That year the Dallas Texans won the AFL Championship, Taco Bell opened its doors for the first time and John F. Kennedy was president.

This is the team that beat the Baylor Bears, folks.

You have to love March Madness even when it tears your heart and bracket to pieces all in the first weekend.

Speaking of big upsets, there is still one to talk about from this year.

No. 12 Little Rock took down No. 5 Purdue on Thursday, 85-83, and there was a Southeast Texas connection.

Trojans head coach Chris Beard held the same position at Lamar State College Port Arthur for three days back in 2012. He accepted the job and then decided to leave the Seahawks program to coach at McMurry. Beard then made a stop at Angelo State before taking the Little Rock job in 2015.

Current Seahawks coach Lance Madison got the job when Beard left for McMurry.

Gabriel Pruett can be reached at 721-2436 or On Twitter: @PaNewsGabe.

About Gabriel Pruett

Gabriel Pruett has worked with both the Port Arthur News and Orange Leader since 2000. A majority of the time has been spent covering all aspects of Southeast Texas high school sports. Pruett's claim to fame is...being able to write his own biographical information for this website.

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