Norfolk State's historic win resonates

March, 17, 2012
3/17/12
1:04
AM ET
OMAHA, Neb. -- Moments after the most stunning NCAA tournament upset of the last decade, the Norfolk State Spartans reacted like typical college students.

They hurried into the locker room -- and pulled out their cell phones.

"We're trending on Twitter right now -- nationally," one player said.

A teammate spoke up from across the room.

"I just got a text. People are jumping into the fountain back on campus."

Soon it was revealed that the website for Norfolk State's student newspaper had crashed because of an overload of traffic.

Then came the announcement that only two of the 6.45 million participants in ESPN.com's bracket challenge still had perfect records -- mainly because of No. 15 seed Norfolk State's 86-84 victory over Missouri at the CenturyLink Center. Even U.S. president Barack Obama had No. 2 seed Missouri going to the Final Four.

Standing before a throng of television cameras, guard Jamel Fuentes flashed a cheesy grin.

"I'd like to personally thank President Obama," he said, "for allowing us to bust his bracket."

Yes, before their coach had even made it back from his postgame press conference, the magnitude of Friday's win had hit the Spartans hard. Three hours earlier they were unknowns, 22-point underdogs from a school of 5,000 undergrads participating in their first-ever NCAA tournament.

Now they're America's Little Engines That Could, a reminder of why even the most casual sports fan is so in love with March. Norfolk State's victory marked the first time since 2001 -- when Hampton defeated Iowa State -- and only the fifth time in history that a No. 15 seed had defeated a No. 2.

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