If this isn’t what makes March Madness wonderful, I don’t know what is. The buzzer-beaters and epic battles are, of course, essential to the experience. But this run–this improbable, but not actually unbelievable, run–this is a big part of why to watch.
One thing that should be remembered about this historic run: this is not “Rudy” or “The Bad News Bears.” These guys are not playing over their heads. These guys, basketball fans, are good.
They have a point guard, Brett Comer, with a nice handle, serious passing skills and a fearless disposition. He’s also 6’3″, meaning he doesn’t get lost among the trees.
They have Christophe Varidel, a loopy 6’2″ guard from Switzerland who seems to be the team’s primary hype man but also contributes off the bench.
They have Sherwood Brown, a charismatic 6’4″ senior guard who combines hustle, composure and a solid jump shot.
I almost forgot Eric McKnight, 6’9″, another kid with springs who has hustle to match his highlights.
They are diverse, well-led and talented, and they appear tightly knit. Their coach, Andy Enfield, keeps them loose but focused. After the ten-point win that made them the first-ever 15 seed to make the Sweet 16, the team surrounded Enfield chanting “Andy!” “Andy!” in a low-grade mosh pit; they mushed him around, and he grinned and played along. Then he spoke well of his boys’ character, heart and talent, as he always does.
His estimation of them is correct, as it turns out, and now we all know that the Eagles sure can fly.