- Eamonn Brennan, ESPN Staff Writer
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UNI's loss to Michigan State in Friday's Sweet 16 battle crushed the Final Four dreams of the tournament's last real Cinderella. But it's not all bad. UNI accomplished one of the most shocking, impressive upsets of all-time with its second-round win over Kansas. Ali Farokhmanesh became an unlikely household name. The Panthers represented their school, and the entire state of Iowa, very well. The loss will sting, sure, but the Panthers and their fans can hold their heads high. They played a proud postseason.
Oh, and there's one other thing: The Panthers got a new court, too.
With the recent rise in non-traditional basketball venues for the NCAA tournament, the NCAA has taken to building brand new courts for regional events, which the organization then sells to programs in need of a new basketball court. One such program? UNI. And there's more! The Panthers actually played on their new court, which was in use in St. Louis during the Panthers' Sweet 16 loss to Michigan State Friday.
Fans buy plenty of souvenirs at NCAA tournament regionals, but what better souvenir for your first Sweet 16 than moving a brand new NCAA tournament court -- the one you played on, no less -- into your home gym? See, UNI fans? It's not all bad.