By Zach Conen, C’93, David Foster, Eng’93, Mitchell Kraus, C’93, Kiera Reilly, C’93, and Lisa (Bardfeld) Shapiro, C’93
One of the highlights of our Spring semester senior year was the incredible run the Penn Men’s Basketball team had in Ivy League play, winning the league and defeating Princeton twice (read about the Penn vs. Princeton game on January 30, 1993 at the Palestra in our post here)! As Ivy League Champions, Penn secured an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, aka The Big Dance, and were seeded 14 in the Eastern Region and slated to play 3 seed UMass at the Carrier Dome at Syracuse University (read pre-game articles in The Daily Pennsylvanian from March 19, 1993).
We asked classmates to share their memories of traveling to Syracuse for the game (which sadly Penn lost 54 – 50).
David Foster, Eng’93
Penn headed to the NCAA tournament! Good thing, as I need a new T-shirt. This one from 1993 is wearing a little thin (yes, they have been since, but I didn’t need a new shirt then).
Mitchell Kraus, C’93
Found mine from that year. Still wearable. Still fits (ok, it was a little big back in the day).
Lisa Bardfeld Shapiro, C’93
Still grateful that Claude (the director of the band at the time) excused me from the wind ensemble concert to go to the game.
Great memories of the ‘93 NCAA tournament in Syracuse- from the bus ride up with the band, to being welcomed to the hotel decked out in Red and Blue, to seeing my dad (Bennett Bardfeld W’55, L’58) and all the alumni gathered to cheer on an awesome team. It was an honor to lead the band at that game, even though the refs were totally paid by UMass!
Mitchell Kraus, C’93
I totalled my car on the way to Syracuse as DP photo editor. Developed the one roll of color slides with the black and white film and had my insurance more expensive for years.
Zach Conen, C’93
The following is the text from Zach’s column in The Daily Pennsylvanian on March 22, 1993. The accompanying pictures did not appear in the DP. You can see the column in the DP archives here.
A Front Row View Zach Conen
The Big Dance: More than Just a simple game
For many years now I have expounded on the merits of “being there” for the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament. The four tournaments I had attended before this year’s yielded the requisite quota of crazed fans, upsets and fantastic finishes, all packed into the standard two-day basketball orgy.
This past weekend, however, was different for the first time, I was making the ultimate hoops pilgrimage with a team I could truly call my own. And for 36 hours, I truly discovered the meaning of March Madness .. .
Thursday, 10:50 p.m. The odyssey commences when Pug, Sid, Steve and I pile into a 1978 Limited Edition Buick Le Sabre named Phillip, easily identifiable by its name spray-painted on the trunk. Phillip is a charming testament to American automotive engineering gone awry, and the cardboard/ Hefty Bag left rear window makes it sound as if you are driving inside of a blender at speeds above 35 miles per hour. The turn signal lever falls off three times during the ride we decide to leave it off.
Friday, 4:07 a.m. We arrive safely but manage to get lost on the streets of the deserted Syracuse campus. We are saved by Grandpa Walton’s evil twin, who is inexplicably out jogging at 3 a.m. in sub-zero temperatures, snot icicles and all. He directs us to the Alpha Chi Rho house, our destination for the evening. 10:23 a.m. After Egg McMuffins and hash browns, we decide to really kick off the day right with Bloody Marys. The only bar open at this hour is the Orange Cafe, where the bartender whips us up some positively delicious bloodies (secret ingredient Grey Poupon). Three of these hearty concoctions and a rousing episode of “The Price is Right” later, our foursome wends its way to the Carrier Dome. On our way out, the bartender reminds us that Happy Hour, featuring one dollar pitchers, begins at 4 o’clock. 12:26 p.m. It is five minutes before tipoff of the Penn game, and I have already lost my voice, my mind and made mortal enemies of the Syracuse local yokels surrounding us in Section 212. Pug advises me to save my voice by screaming from the diaphragm it doesn’t help. I valiantly attempt to ignore the moron sitting behind me, but finally vow to hunt him down after the game when he explains to his wife/ sister (said in best Dave Letterman durab-guy voice): “Duh, I don’t really like UMass, it’s just that Pennsylvania is always so cocky about their football team. Those Nittany Lions are so good every year.” I turn around and give him my best withering glare, but he just thinks I’m staring at the mold on his teeth. 2:37 p.m. The concrete and aluminum Carrier Dome may not be aesthetically pleasing, but the astroturf area in the half of the dome not used for basketball games makes a great place to eat, nap or writhe on the ground lamenting your team’s unjust downfall. (I choose the latter.) As the reality of the heartbreaking loss sinks in, I lapse into zombie state for the Manhattan vs. Virginia game not even the company of my fellow devastated Quakers in Section 307 could ease my pain. I snap out of my trance in time to wonder aloud just exactly what the hell is a Jasper? 7:41 p.m. After scarfing down wings, pizza and more green beer in record time, we hustle back to the Carrier Dome for the evening session. Situated in Section 313, we watch New Mexico State guard Sam Crawford dish out a Carrier Dome tournament record 16 assists against Nebraska. As it becomes apparent that the Aggies are going to advance, the genius seated behind us observes (said in second-best Dave Letterman dumb guy voice): “Hey, New Mexico State wears the same colors as Cincinnati. They may have to play each other in the next round. You know (big pause, thoughtful expression), one of them is going to have to wear white.” I immediately turn around to check for mold on his teeth. 9:33 p.m. Resting precariously in the delicate region between drunk and hung over, we decide to take a short nap on the astroturf between games. I wake up in time to get my picture taken with the New Mexico State cheerleaders. I am convinced that a couple of them are attracted to my newly-raspy voice, but I realize that I’m mistaken when they sprint to the refreshment stand while I’m still blinded by the flash bulb. Feeling refreshed, we settle into our new seats in Section 123 for the Cincinnati vs. Coppin State matchup. 10:45 p.m. At halftime, I fall deeply in love with the Cincinnati dance team, the Dancing Bearcats. These sequined beauties shimmy their way into the spot in my heart formerly reserved for the Penn cheerleaders’ version of “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” 11:37 p.m. As the game degenerates into a blowout, we trek back to the Crow house to jump start our weary bodies with some cocktails. With our blood pumping once again, we head out to Maggie’s, a popular Syracuse student bar. The Dancing Bearcats are nowhere to be found, so I resign myself to sitting in a booth and drinking more green beer. (At Syracuse, St. Patrick’s Day apparently doesn’t end until the green beer stops flowing.)
Saturday, 2:23 a.m. During the walk back to the “Crow’s Nest,” as we took to calling our new home, I amuse myself by peeing on a snowbank the size of College Hall. We all fall asleep to the soothing sounds of the MTV Daytona Beach Spring Break concert. I dream of Dancing Bearcats … 11:51 a.m. We wake up, and in a hail of Advil and throat lozenges, we climb into Phillip and take our final leave of the “Crow’s Nest.” I notice that Steve has some mold on his teeth. Ah, March Madness. I don’t think I could have lasted another game.
Zach Conen is a College senior from Brookline, Mass., and a sportswriter for the Daily Pennsylvanian.
Kiera Reilly, C’93
I don’t remember how I got to Syracuse, other than I rode up with Mark Whitcher and Darryl Anderson. Here’s a picture of them in the snow outside the Carrier Dome.
I don’t remember where we stayed, but I vaguely remember visiting local bars before and after the game. I remember being seated way up in the nosebleed seats – but that’s what the NCAA gives each participating school in their ticket allotment.
I remember the student section being full and super loud and that all of us were crushed at the end of the game, but we still loved our Quakers.
Penn Men’s Basketball is headed to the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament for the first time in eleven years. The Quakers, seeded 16, are set to play Kansas, seeded 1, at 2:00pm EST from Wichita, Kansas on Thursday, March 15th.
Where will you be watching the game?
Want Penn Basketball Ivy Championship gear? Shop now on the Penn Athletics website. The Penn Bookstore also has some t-shirts.
Let’s Go Quakers! Fight On Penn!
Penn Class of 1993 25th Reunion Countdown
The weekend of March 9 – 10, 2018, marked 9 weeks until the 25th Reunion of the Penn Class of 1993 (May 11 – 14, 2018)! Meet us at the Button!
Register NOW to attend our 25th Reunion!
Join us we count down the weeks to our reunion #93tothe25th:
- Do you have old photos or mementos from our time at Penn? Photos of Spring Fling? Football at Franklin Field? Classes at DRL? We are taking a trip down memory lane and would love for you to share your memories with our class in a future post. Please email us firstname.lastname@example.org!
- Follow us on Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram.
- Classmates are invited to join our Facebook and LinkedIn groups.
- Donate to The Penn Fund in honor of our reunion! We want to break the 25th reunion participation giving record and every gift matters!
Book Your Hotel Room for Alumni Weekend NOW!
The Marriott Downtown (where we had a Penn 1993 and a Penn Alumni room block) is sold out for Alumni Weekend. There are alternative hotels nearby. We recommend booking ASAP! Please see our class website for additional details.