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Old 03-14-2005, 03:27 PM   #1
Panthers to the Bone
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Default Coss Eats Crow Like A Man (I'm Proud of You NIT Matt)!!!

Great article by Coss. He's young. He made a mistake. He took heat for it. And now, he's learned alot! Way to take it like a man...you are ahead of alot of journalists who sometimes don't admit when they were wrong! Great article!

http://www.panthermania.net/articles...1391965739.txt
CEDAR FALLS - The e-mails have been coming in non-stop.

The red light on my phone has been flashing more than usual this week.

The message boards on Panther Nation have been ripping me to shreds. - Advertisement -


Yes, seven days ago, I wrote on this very page that the Panthers were destined for the National Invitation Tournament.

To say the least, it ruffled some feathers.

Not that I didn't believe UNI was worthy of an NCAA Tournament selection, but I felt the selection committee would give the power conference teams preferred treatment.

Obviously, I was wrong.

It proves I predict NCAA Tournament berths about as badly as I do NFL football games.

And as expected, I've been hearing about it since the pairings were revealed Sunday night.

Head coach Greg McDermott called me an hour or so after the announcement and jokingly said, "Is this NIT Matt?"

UNI sports information director Josh Lehman asked me Sunday if I had my NIT credentials yet?

If anything, it was a good lesson for a young journalist not to jump the gun. And sometimes if you think something, don't immediately write it.

Here are several of the messages I received in the last seven days:

"Don't be too quick to count out the Panthers. They might just sneak in after all."

You're right. They did sneak in. They were one of the final at-large teams taken.

"I don't think you're even worthy of covering UNI in the tournament. Obviously, you don't know what you're talking about."

Let's just say I had better not make any more bold predictions. I'll stick to telling what happens on the court.

"What kind of Panther fan are you to make comments like that? You are turning against your team."

Technically, I don't have a team. I'm the beat writer, but that doesn't mean its "my team." Journalists are supposed to be objective, which means pointing out the good and the bad.

"It's disappointing that our own state newspapers are writing us off. I'm in a position where I can't do anything, and it's frustrating. I feel this way because I really think the Panthers have a better than average shot at making the tourney and our own reporters are taking an apathetic approach. Coss, come on man. I'm sure you're a good guy, but for God's sake, do a 180 on your opinion."

It was hard to think this team was in a week ago when UNI had lost in the quarterfinals of a mid-major tournament. Granted, they had 21 wins, a solid RPI and the league was destined to get three teams, but at the time, I didn't think the Panthers were one of them. And they wouldn't have been selected if Southwest Missouri State had defeated Creighton in the championship game. But they didn't, and UNI is in. I was wrong.

ESPN analysts Digger Phelps, **** Vitale and Jay Bilas took things a step farther Sunday night, bashing the committee for selecting UNI over Notre Dame, Maryland or Indiana.

"Notre Dame finished 9-7 in the Big East," the loud-mouthed Vitale said. "I'd like to see one of those teams (referring to UNI) finish 9-7 in that league."

That lack of respect, guard Ben Jacobson said Sunday, fuels the Panthers for a tournament run.

"It's an unfair statement for them to make," Jacobson said. "Digger Phelps (former Notre Dame coach) pays more attention to Notre Dame, and he knows all the good things they've done. He has a biased opinion.

"He doesn't analyze things as deeply as the committee does."

Come Friday night, we'll find out if the Panthers were deserving of the nod.

Matt Coss is a Courier sports writer. He can be contacted at (319) 291-1468 or matt.coss@wcfcourier.com
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