116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
No teams, but we have a few Eastern Iowa ties in men’s Sweet 16
Greg McDermott, Jack Nunge, Tyger Campbell all went on from Eastern Iowa a lot of success
Who’s waiting for Friday night around here? Who isn’t?
It’s Colorado-Iowa, NCAA women’s basketball Sweet 16, and I’ll get knee-deep in it here Friday. But not before including this quote from Colorado Coach JR Payne after her team beat Duke Monday night to advance to its game in Seattle against the Hawkeyes:
“I freaking love my team.”
Ali-Marie Payne is the full name of the Colorado coach. Why “JR?” Her father nicknamed her that after the J.R. Ewing character from “Dallas.” because she got into fights with her brother.
Now, some college basketball notes with local ties of sorts:
It’s the third year in a row of UCLA being in the NCAA tournament and guard Tyger Campbell being identified as from Cedar Rapids, by his wishes.
That always gets a “What?” response from someone around here. For those who didn’t know, Campbell is the son of Tony and Jennifer Campbell, Cedar Rapids natives. Tony was a first-team all-state player at Regis High, then played at Luther College.
Tyger Campbell hasn’t lived in Cedar Rapids since he was a seventh-grader. His family resided in the Las Vegas and Nashville areas before he spent three years of high school in Indiana. He chose to be “from Cedar Rapids, Iowa” at UCLA because his grandmothers were from here.
He has started 132 games over four seasons at UCLA, averaging 11.1 points and 4.9 assists. Thursday night, he tries to help the Bruins past Gonzaga and into the Elite Eight, and then to their second Final Four in three years.
Speaking for Cedar Rapids, we’re happy to claim Campbell. If anyone from here says otherwise, we fight.
Cascade, meanwhile, proudly calls Greg McDermott as its own. He had already been in the Halls of Fame of the University of Northern Iowa and the Iowa High School Athletic Association, and last year entered the one at Cascade High School.
For the second time in the last three years, the former UNI and Iowa State coach is leading Creighton in the Sweet 16. This is the sixth year in which his Jays have won at least one NCAA game.
Friday in Louisville, the Jays play Princeton for a spot in the Elite Eight.
Creighton moved up to the Big East from the Missouri Valley Conference 10 years ago and has had just one losing conference record in that time. McDermott came to Creighton in 2010 after a rough four-year tenure at Iowa State following a run of three straight NCAA tourney berths as UNI’s coach.
It turned out to be a terrific landing spot. Creighton is in the top five or six in NCAA attendance each year, and averaged 17,163 fans this season. Plus, the Big East has come back strong after losing several members a decade ago. Connecticut and Xavier also are in the Sweet 16.
Former Iowa forward Jack Nunge is trying to help Xavier to its eighth Sweet 16 appearance since 2004. He averages 14.1 points and 7.7 rebounds for the Musketeers.
They play Texas Friday. Nunge is 24, married, has a 3.97 GPA, and is working on an MBA in finance. He was a wealth management intern for Morgan Stanley last year.
This month, Nunge was named the Big East’s Men’s Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Friday, his team plays Texas in Kansas City in the Sweet 16.
Speaking of Friday night, hurry up and get here. We have a women’s game to watch.
Comments: (319) 398-8440; firstname.lastname@example.org