BY KATNESS JUMPING BEAN
In 1980, one of the greatest moments in sports history happened. The USA men’s hockey team defeated the Russians 4-3 in the form of an unimaginable comeback victory. It was the “miracle on ice”, or at least it will forever be known as a miracle for any sports guru, religious or not. Even for the casual sports fan, or for the casual sports skeptic, what that team did for America will never be forgotten.
In the 2004 American League Championship Series, one of the greatest moments in baseball history happened. The Boston Red Socks were down three games to none against their bitter rival, the New York Yankees. The Red Sox came from behind in game four to keep the series alive, winning the ALCS in seven games. The team went on to win its ﬁ rst World Series since 1918; the “Curse of the Bambino” was broken. It was the miracle on the diamond, or at least it will be known as a miracle for any Boston native or avid baseball fan.
In the 2014 NCAA men’s basketball tournament, one of the greatest moments in college basketball history happened. The MSUM men’s basketball team became the ﬁ rst Division II team to be invited into the Division I tournament bracket.
They redeﬁ ned what it means to be a Cinderella sensation in the tournament, busting every American’s brackets, including Dragon fans’. It was the “miracle on the court.”
“I’m literally at a loss for words,” said Jay Bilas, ESPN college basketball analyst. “Something like this may never happen again in the history of college basketball – Dragon nation!”
MSUM received the 15 seed in the West, taking on Wisconsin in the second round after taking the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference tournament with ease.
“We knew once Randy Moss fouled out, we were pretty much toast,” Wisconsin head coach Brett Favre said.
After the Dragons’ 85-77 victory over the Badgers, they advanced to defeat Oregon 87- 68.
“I still can’t even talk about it,” said Ducks’ head coach Kenderlick Adamson. “We could not shut Sheldon Thompson down. That kid can play.”
Thompson had the best game of his career earning a triple- double, scoring 28 points, grabbing 18 rebounds and dishing out 16 assists. America’s Cinderella went on to defeat Baylor and No. 1 seeded Arizona to ﬁ nd itself in the ﬁ nal four.
“The Dragons are America’s diaper dandies, baby.” ESPN sportscaster Dick Vitale said.
After a nail-biter and an Austin James buzzer beater to defeat Louisville in overtime, MSUM somehow was playing Florida in the championship game. What is in this team’s water? Madness? Miracles? Luck? Could this team ﬁ nish America’s fairytale with a magical ending? Yes. Yes they could.
“We knew they were too good for the Division II tournament; it just wouldn’t have even been fair,” Bilas said. “But to win the Division I tournament? Why are they still Division II?”
The game against Florida will go down, not only college basketball history, but sports history. The Dragons won in double overtime, 98-97. Thompson scored 32, James
scored 25 and Austin Lonestar scored 24. Russell Gregory for the Gators was held to a measly nine points and Jalamba Huron scored 10.
“That was the best defense I’ve ever seen them play. Not only just those three, but this entire team is the most talented players I’ve ever had the pleasure to coach or to watch,” said head coach Jameson O’Donnell. “This is something I never would have
thought I’d get to experience in my life. I’m so thankful for this team.”
The 2014 MSUM basketball team is a living legend for any Dragon fan. The miracle on the court brought extra attention to MSUM. Enrollment is up 5,000 students since last year. MSUM’s website trafﬁ c has never been greater – it’s a good day to be a Dragon.