Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Why Oral Roberts Beat Kansas

The college basketball world was stunned Wednesday night as Oral Roberts upset #3 Kansas in Allen Field House. The talented but young Jayhawks, along with Florida and North Carolina, were part of the trio of national championship contenders that dominated preseason forecasts. However, the Golden Eagles provided some early-season humility to their hosts. The following reasons explain how ORU accomplished the biggest win in school history.

University Namesakes: Kansas told us that all we are is dust in the wind. Oral Roberts said he had a vision of a 900-foot-tall Jesus. That’s way cooler.

Team Nicknames: The Golden Eagle is a majestic bird of prey. The Jayhawk is a mythical bird representing a cross between a blue jay and a sparrow hawk. So it’s not even real.

Home Cities: KU is located in Lawrence, while ORU calls Tulsa home. Last Thursday, Joey Lawrence was eliminated from Dancing With the Stars. In the past week, no one named Joey Tulsa was booted from a reality show.

The Simpsons: Ned Flanders was noted as an alumnus of Oral Roberts University. Kansas has a loose connection to the series with guard Mario Chalmers. But Superintendent Chalmers is much less prominent on the show than Flanders. D’oh! Stupid Flanders…

Ancient Egypt: The Golden Eagles’ lineup featured guards Shawn King and Ken Tutt. In terms of evoking great civilizations, Kansas couldn’t match the King/Tutt combo.

Towson: KU’s next game is Sunday against Towson. The Jayhawks were caught looking ahead to the showdown with the Tigers.

New York Jets: With Sunday’s win over Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots, Jets coach Eric Mangini showed that he could go on the road and take down his mentor. Oral Roberts coach Scott Sutton, who was brought to ORU by current KU coach Bill Self, was duly inspired.

Coach’s Influence: It is often said that a team adopts its coach’s personality. That would make the Kansas players Self-ish. Being Sutton-ish isn’t nearly as bad.

Kathie Lee Gifford: The former talk-show host attended ORU. As the sidekick to Regis Philbin for 15 years, Kathie Lee showed that she could be part of a successful team. The current Golden Eagles have learned from her example, so they also talk constantly about the Gifford children.

2006 NCAA Tournament: Both schools were eliminated in the first round. But ORU’s conqueror (Memphis) defeated KU’s eliminator (Bradley).

Dress Code: While less restrictive than in the past, classes at Oral Roberts University still adhere to a dress code. As of last year, the same goes for the NBA. So Oral Roberts emulates basketball at the highest level.

College Football: The Kansas football team has a rivalry game this weekend with Kansas State. Oral Roberts does not have a football team, so the campus had no such distractions.

USA! USA!: In their first game since Veterans’ Day, the Golden Eagles had Adam Liberty in the starting lineup. No names in the Jayhawks’ starting lineup were nearly as patriotic.

2004-05 UNC National Champions: The Tar Heels began their title campaign with a loss in California to West Coast Conference member Santa Clara. Similarly, ORU opened this season by falling at Loyola Marymount of the WCC. Therefore, great things were bound to happen for the Golden Eagles.

Brandon Rush: The Kansas guard was due some bad karma after his comments that Michael J. Fox had exaggerated the effects of Parkinson’s Disease. Oh sorry, wrong Rush.

Wednesday’s shocker came two nights after Vermont stunned #14 Boston College. This time, the Eagles were on the right side of the upset ledger.