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Those "Enormously Heartening" Golden Lions

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A friend and wise man posted this Facebook status update after UAPB won the NCAA play-in game on Tuesday:

"There was something enormously heartening about watching the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions beat Winthrop tonight. It reminded me of why I used to love March Madness (TM) even back when UCLA was winning every year. A bunch of kids you never heard of who didn't get 20 D1 offers each playing their hearts out for a shot at Duke. Chances slim and none, but hey they can say they did it."

Hear, hear! As uninspiring as the Hogs were this past season, UAPB has been that inpsiring and then some.

Everyone loves a Cinderella story. Well, it doesn't get much more Cinderella than the Golden Lions. The never-ending road trip with which they began the season caught the attention of the New York Times' basketball blog and Sports Illustrated. And not only did the Golden Lions play their first 14 games on the road (with most of those opponents belonging to major conferences such as the ACC and Big 12), but they began the year 0-11. And yet, here they are. Pretty amazing.

As someone who spent many a weekend in Pine Bluff over the years visiting my late grandmother and other relatives, I have to confess to having a soft spot for the town. At the risk of uttering the understatement of the century, the city has seen better days. I'm glad that it finally has something to cheer about, however fleeting and insignificant in the grand scheme of things the source of that cheering may be.

As our friend noted in his status update, the chances of beating Duke are surely slim and none, but we're excited about tuning in anyway. And, hey, a 16-seed has to beat a 1-seed sometime, right?