Robert Morris campus still buzzing from NIT win over Kentucky

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When Tracy Catanzarite arrived at her Anatomy and Physiology II class at Robert Morris University this morning, she noticed some classmates were missing.

Probably exhausted from long hours celebrating the Colonials' basketball upset of the University of Kentucky the night before in their tiny Sewall Center, she mused.

Those who did make it to class, however, were anything but bleary-eyed, still buzzing from a 59-57 defeat of the sport's defending national champion.

Robert Morris students still on post-game high

The campus of Robert Morris University remains excited the day after the basketball team scored an upset win over Kentucky in the National Invitation Tournament. (Video by Andrew Rush; 3/20/2013)

"People were talking about it at the beginning of class and how the announcers kept saying Kentucky was big and was going to come back and win," said Miss Catanzarite, 19, a sophomore from Ohio Township, who was unable to get a ticket into the 3,500-seat gymnasium and had to watch the game on TV. "Robert Morris is so small, it's so great to see them actually win. It's fantastic."

The excitement on the Moon campus today played right into the lesson plan for David Taylor's sports management class.

"Nobody thought we were going to win," said Mr. Taylor, 19, a freshman from Miami, who was at the game and among the students who stormed the court afterward. "I asked everyone in class. I thought it would be close, but I didn't think they would win either."

"We were talking about event planning today, and I thought, 'Well, here's a perfect example,'" said professor Scott Branvold. "You have 48 hours or less to put this together. Let's talk about the issues involved, the goals, tactics, decisions. It was an interesting opportunity for us to use the event as a learning experience."

Mr. Branvold, who has been teaching at RMU for almost 20 years, attended Tuesday night's game with his granddaughters. He said he had never seen such excitement and energy at a campus event.

"We've hosted high school events with bigger crowds, and I always thought 'Wouldn't it be nice if our college events had that atmosphere?'" he said. "It was very clear in my class that they wanted to talk about the event.

"My guess is the team probably could walk away from the tournament right now feeling pretty good about themselves. I'm not sure this wasn't a better result than the team having gone to the NCAA tournament. In part because most of our fans would not have been part of the experience. This way, most of our fans were part of the experience."

University President Greg Dell'Omo called the night "historic."

"It was wonderful to see the whole university come together," he said. "The alumni, the faculty, the staff, the students. The whole community. Everybody's walking around three inches taller today. There's a sense of pride and accomplishment all around campus."

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Dan Majors: This story originally appeared in The Pittsburgh Press. To log in or subscribe, go to: First Published March 20, 2013 8:00 PM


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