Saturday night, all eyes were on the NCAA basketball tournament, as we were still reeling from some amazing buzzer beater games and wild plays from Iowa and Northern Iowa.  And then we had the excitement of the Cyclone victory as they advanced to the "Sweet Sixteen". We remained hopeful both the Panthers and Hawks would do the same on Sunday. But at that time, something else was going on.  Another Iowa men's basketball team was in play in the finals of another tourney, and... THEY WON!

Congratulations to the Kirkwood Men's Basketball Team on becoming the 2016 NJCAA Division II Men's Basketball National Champions! As a #6 seed (who only lost 4 games this season), they defeated top seed Triton to take home the title. If you're thinking it couldn't possibly have been as exciting as some of the games we've seen in the NCAA tournament, you're wrong.  Kirkwood saw their lead 8 point lead fade to just 3 points with only 27 seconds left to play. Luck was on their side, however, as Triton missed a couple of threes, and Kirkwood finally got hot at the free throw line, where they had previously been struggling all night. They went on to win 83-76, earning their second-ever National Title. Their first was in 1998.

Sure it's Division II, and there are only 16 teams, but it's still an Iowa NATIONAL TITLE, and these young men deserve our appreciation. We all take such pride in our other teams, but how many of us have Kirkwood roots? So gentlemen, take pride, you have represented our state and your program very well, and we are proud and excited for you. Who knows. Some of them might be Hawkeye/Panther/Cyclone prospects.

By the way, we all know a good part of a good team stems from a great coach. As such, we salute coach Bryan Peterson, who was selected as National Coach of the Year. Nice!

[VIA Gazette]