Mar 25, 2024 - Sports

Oakland's March Madness run ends, but memories endure

Oakland's Jack Gohlke attempts a three-pointer against NC State in the Grizzlies' overtime loss Saturday in Pittsburgh.

Oakland's Jack Gohlke attempts a three-pointer against NC State in the Grizzlies' overtime loss Saturday in Pittsburgh. Photo: Justin Berl/NCAA Photos/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

Oakland's brief yet unforgettable NCAA Tournament run is what March basketball is all about.

Why it matters: The Golden Grizzlies captured the nation's adoration as they flirted with the Sweet 16, eventually losing to NC State Saturday in overtime.

Between the lines: The underdog Grizzlies had the elements of a March Madness Cinderella story: A veteran coach reaching career heights, a star in Trey Townsend whose parents played at Oakland and an unheralded sharpshooter, Jack Gohlke, whose 10 three-pointers helped bury No. 3 Kentucky in the first round.

Context: It was Oakland's best season ever, the Detroit News declared.

  • The Grizzlies won regular-season and tournament championships in the Horizon League before taking down Kentucky for the program's first-ever win in the NCAA tourney's round of 64.

What they're saying: Coach Greg Kampe said this team was special because the players all cared about each other.

  • "It was a joy in this day and age to walk into the office every day and know that I'm lucky I get to go in that gym and be with this group of kids. And that's probably what hurts the most right now, is I know that that's over," he said after the game.

Zoom out: All of the in-state schools playing in the men's and women's NCAA Tournaments have been eliminated.

The bottom line: Our schools didn't last long, but the excitement and joy from Oakland's tournament run left enduring memories.

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