This is one of my favorite weekends in sports…the first weekend of March Madness. There are so many games televised that I don’t have to leave my LazyBoy for three solid days. I usually get the chance to cheer for my alma mater (Go Wisconsin!) – at least for a few rounds of play. And this is the weekend for upsets, Cinderella teams and universities you’ve never heard of.
And that’s the benefit of sport for many of these smaller schools. It puts their name on a national stage for a few days. It gives them name recognition and, through the “halo effect,” provides an an impression of excellence to prospective students and donors . The subconscious thinking is, “Heck, if they’re good at one thing (basketball), they’re probably good at other things too (like academics).”
Here’s a guide to some of the small, lesser-known schools who have made it to the “big dance.” It’s organized by size of enrollment. Do you know the location of every school?
Davidson College, 1700 Students, Davidson, North Carolina
Mount St. Mary’s, 2100 students, Emmitsburg, Maryland
Sienna, 3000 students, Loudonville, New York
Butler, 4437 students total, Indianapolis, Indiana
Belmont University, 4500 students, Nashville, TN,
Drake, Des Moines, IA, 5000 students
Winthrop, 6292 total students, Rock Hill (Near Charlotte), South Carolina
Xavier, Cincinnati, OH, 6646 students.
Gonzaga, 6736 Students – Spokane Washington
Austin Peay, 9105 students, Clarksville, TN (45 minutes NW of Nashville
Vanderbilt, 11,847 students, also in Nashville,
UMBC (University of Maryland, Baltimore Country), 12,041 students, Baltimore, MD,,
Compare their enrollments with Michigan State’s 46,000 students.
The hotbed of small schools in the tournament seems to be the Nashville area, with Vanderbilt, Belmont and Austin Peay, all in or near the country-music capital.
And who is this year’s Cinderella team? It seems to be Davidson, who advanced to the Sweet Sixteen by beating Georgetown (enrollment 6500).
Dick Moss, Editor,
[tags]March Madness,NCAA, tournament,sports,sport,basketball,sports