WATCH: Indiana Cheerleader Goes Viral for Grabbing the Biggest Rebound of the NCAA Tournament
Day one of the 2022 NCAA Tournament was bonkers. Fifth seed Iowa, a team many had penciled into their bracket as a Final Four team (myself included) were bounced from the field by 12th seed Richmond. The Kentucky Wildcats, a two-seed, and another team many thought could not only make the Final Four but win the whole tournament lost to a team from a school most people didn't even know existed until Thursday night, the 15th seeded Saint Peters. Another 12 seed, the New Mexico State Aggies upset the 5th seeded UConn Huskies. It was the true definition of "madness" and proved why this tournament is the best one of any sport. Anything can happen, including a couple of Indiana cheerleaders getting in on the excitement.
IU Loses to Saint Marys
The one 12 seed who didn't have a good night Thursday, unfortunately, was the Indiana Hoosiers who, if I may be so blunt, were obliterated by the Gaels of Saint Mary's by a score of 82-53. Maybe the Hoosiers were simply tired. After getting beat by Iowa in the Big Ten Tournament semifinal by a miracle three-pointer on Saturday, the team left Indy, found out Sunday they were one of the First Four, hopped a plane to Dayton, Ohio to play on Tuesday night, then hopped another plane to fly to Portland, Oregon to play yesterday's game. Meanwhile, Saint Mary's had plenty of rest having not played in nine days. I'm not making any excuses for the Hoosiers, just stating facts. When it's game time, you have to be ready to play regardless of how you feel, and IU simply wasn't it.
However, even though the game itself wasn't really worth watching, there was one highlight from the evening that's gone viral that doesn't involve a single player on either team.
IU Cheerleader Gets Stuck Basketball
About a minute and a half into the second half, a player for Saint Mary's took a shot that bounced off the back of the rim and got stuck between the backboard and the contraption it's mounted on. Referees stopped play so the ball could be retrieved. The problem was, no one could reach it. One ref stood on a folding chair and tried to jar it loose with a mop handle but came up about two feet short. While the refs conferred to try and figure out how they would get the ball down so the game could continue, two unlikely heroes emerged to save the day.
Just a few feet away from the now-stuck ball, Indiana cheerleaders Nathan Paris and Cassidy Cerny stood and watched the refs failed attempts along with the rest of the crowd in attendance. However, unlike the rest of the crowd, Nathan and Cassidy had an idea and a plan. Using the combination of his strength and her incredible sense of balance, Nathan would lift Cassidy up high enough that she could retrieve the ball. Now, I don't mean he lifted her by the waist like it was some kind of dance routine. No, Cassidy literally put her feet in his hands and Nathan lifted her high above his head with his arms fully extended giving her the ability to grab the ball with ease. As you can see in the video below from the CBS Sports Twitter account, the heroic rescue sent the crowd and the announcers into a frenzy.
Kudos to Cassidy and Nathan for saving the day. Too bad they could save their team from an embarrassing loss.
[Source: CBS Sports on Twitter]