By: Thomas Beisner
Each morning, the CBS College Basketball Road Trip team will stop spooning each other in their Motel Six beds at the crack of noon, grab a couple of NCAA approved bagels and hit the road in pursuit of their next college basketball destination. Though their dossier and agenda are to supposed to remain top secret, I went to high school with one of the writers from "Viva Laughlin" and CBS forgot to take back his keys. Here is what he found…
Location: According to Wikipedia, Cedar Falls, the home of Northern Iowa University, was originally named Sturgis Falls after William Sturgis, a sea-faring American hero from the 18th century. It was renamed Cedar Falls later due to its close proximity to the Cedar River. If these standards applied today, tonight’s game would be in Cracker Barrel Falls, Iowa. (Confession: Research shows there is not a Cracker Barrel within 100 miles of UNI…how is that possible?)
Traveling Distance: Today our road warriors embark on a leg of the trip that is so short, Lorenzo Romar might recruit it to play point guard. Traveling an estimated 271 miles in about 4 and half hours, the fiercest foe will not be the road, but the lingering Milwaukee hangover and Matt’s Jason Mraz playlist.
Mascot: The Panther. When I originally typed this, I accidentally wrote “Panter”, which of course is not the mascot. That’s a contact in Rick Pitino’s black book.
Forecast: Despite the local weatherman's best efforts to heat things up with a little innuendo, it’s going to be cold. Like sleeping with your best friend’s girl on the day his dog died and his parents split cold. The temperature calls for a high of 29 degrees and, with two of the nation’s top-3 scoring defenses battling inside, the shooting might be just as icy. Both teams allow only 55 points per game (UNI: 55.1, ODU: 55.8) and aren’t too shy about shooting the three (UNI: 18 per game, ODU: 15). However, rain is not expected in the forecast. At least not from Old Dominion, who shoots 30% from downtown. (That paragraph is dripping in more cheese than Milwaukee was, sorry.)
Notable Alumni: Northern Iowa’s alumni list is littered with former football players including former NFL MVPs Kurt Warner and Bryce Paup, making them one of only two schools to have both a defensive and offensive MVP as an alum. On the Old Dominion side, things are a little more eclectic as the Monarchs boast headband pioneer Chris Gatling, a Watergate burglar and the host of Cash Cab. If we were awarding points for flat tops, UNI would be the runaway winner. This is purely based on cultural impact, though, and the non-conference bragging rights go to Old Dominion.
Agenda: Besides not freezing to death, the agenda is simple. Soak up everything that is Northern Iowa University and get a first-hand look at two of the best mid-major (is that a dirty word in Cedar Falls?) teams in the country. If seeing these teams up close helps us earn a couple extra bucks in the office pool in March, then so be it. And if Drew tracks down this fellow CBSer and former UNI student, we'll apologize later. Just don't blame it on the Viva Laughlin guy. He's been through enough.
Cedar Falls, Iowa, let’s do this.