When Morehead State won the OVC Tournament and its way into the NCAA Tournament, coach Donnie Tyndall wished aloud his Eagles could be chosen for the "play in" game. Tyndall got his wish and MSU knocked out Alabama State on Tuesday. Soon, the school and its basketball program could reap the benefits from the national exposure.
Tyndall wanted his team to play on national television, which it did. By winning the first game of the tournament, Morehead State is assured of playing twice on national TV, because up next for the Eagles, is the overall #1 seed, Louisville.
ESPN, which is seen in more than 90 million homes in the U.S., televised the MSU-Alabama State game. It was the only college basketball game broadcast in America at 7:00 p.m. That means a large number of eyeballs watched as Kenneth Faried and his teammates advanced, 58-43.
Even the best PR firm couldn't give the school this kind of return, for little or no investment. The exposure has to be worth millions. Think of it in terms of recruiting.
Afterward, ESPN studio analysts lauded Tyndall's coaching acumen, saluting the young coach and his players. More national exposure. Maybe some young player is sitting there watching, thinking, "I want to play for that guy."
By winning, Morehead reached the 20-win plateau. 20-win seasons are the benchmark for successful seasons, much like a running back reaching 1,000 rushing yards.
The last time MSU was in the NCAA Tournament was in 1984. Wayne Martin's squad knocked off North Carolina A&T in the first round, but fell to Louisville in their second game.
This year's Eagles get big, bad Louisville on Friday. As the tournament's top seed, Louisville represents a monumental challenge for Morehead. But the Eagles are guaranteed another national television audience, which is just more free publicity.
Should they pull off one of the tournaments biggest upsets of Louisville, Morehead State would be the talk of the country.
Already, Tyndall and Co. have experienced a sensational season. Now, they're picking up millions of dollars worth of free publicity. Not a bad deal.
Those are the highlights... Stay tuned.