March (and the beginning of April) Madness is one of the best times of the year for basketball fans, and Steve and I are no different. It's the best college basketball concentrated into just a few weeks. It's awesome.
When the #4 Cleveland State women's basketball team traveled to Green Bay, WI to face-off against the #1 Green Bay Phoenix in the Horizon League semi-finals, I was confidant that they had the talent, drive and desire to win, but I was still keeping my fingers crossed. Afterall, we had fallen 0-2 to Green Bay this year, with the last loss coming only 6 days prior on Green Bay's home court. As a matter of fact, GB had won 27 straight Conference home games with their last loss coming on March 14, 2008...when Cleveland State beat them in the Horizon League semi-finals that eventually took them to their first-ever NCAA Tournament game. Let's just say, crazier things have happened.
So on Friday night, Steve and I set up our laptop and watched the game via the Horzion League Network and we watched amazing happen. We watched as the fourth-seeded CSU Vikings knocked off top-seeded Green Bay in overtime to earn a berth in the league title game on Sunday. It was the second time in the last three seasons they've accomplished this feat and it was fantastic.
Shortly after the game ended, I started planning my trip to Wisconsin so I could watch CSU play Butler in the Championship and hopefully claim an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The cost of flights was outrageous and my night-driving capabilities are quite scary so I opted to use frequent flyer miles. On Sunday morning I flew into Green Bay and after a cancelled flight, a delayed flight and a missed connection, I finally arrive in Green Bay at 11:40 am, just in time for tip-off.
The Vikings held a comfortable lead for much of the game and led by as many as 15 points (45-30) during the second half. Butler wasn’t going to go down quietly...The Bulldogs made a second half run and pulled to within 4 points (47-43) with 7:31 left. Some big plays by our seniors held them off and Cleveland State won 66-57 and were crowned Horizon League Champions.
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