Well if we cannot watch UMaine in the big dance, then the closest connection we have this year is Former UMaine Head Basketball Coach Dr. John Giannani who has his Loyala team in a 13 place playin game tonight against Boise St.
If they win this playin game tonight then they will get to play Kansas in the “Big Dance”.
Teams that win a playin game (there are four) have an advantage with a days rest and have already played under the “March Madness Pressure” against a team that is playing its first game.
Dr. G left Maine 9 years ago and this is his first attempt in the Dance.
Maine won a AE conference Tournamnent Game the year after Dr. J left and it really was his team and then they have lost 8 consecutive tournament first round or playin games under is successor.
Also Maine has never made the Big Dance in its school’s history and I believe that they are the obly D1 team in the country that has not made the NCAA D1 Tourney since its inception.
So the closet we can get to a Maine connection in this years Tournament is LaSalle and Coach J.
LaSalle’s last great teams were in the Tom Gola era, when the native Philadelphian led them to a championship. Golas later went on the star in the NBA.
Maine has only had 2 former players at UMaine to ever play in the NBA all these years and they were Rick Carlisle from NY who transferred to Virginia and played with Ralph Sampson before playing for several NBA teams and now is coaching the Dallas Mavericks. The other player was 6’11 Jeff Cross from NH who never played a varsity game until he was a junior at Maine after playing on the Maine JV Team as a freshmen and sophomore.
Good luck to Coach G and his Lasalle Exploreres tonight as they explore the NCAA Big Dance for the first time in several decades for the shcool and the first for Dr. J.