Northern Iowa’s first anonymous March Madness hero has company

OKLAHOMA CITY – Ali Farokhmanesh was all alone Friday ‘round midnight in a hotel bar, not unlike thousands watching their brackets melt down before their eyes.

The celebrity that once dripped off him was gone.

“Me, by myself, kind of watching the game,” said perhaps the one person in the joint who could relate to what was unfolding 650 miles south of the Marriott in Corralville, Iowa.

Northern Iowa is the toast of the NCAA Tournament these days. Farokhmanesh is a famous alum. But anonymity is what suits all of them.

That’s what happens when you’re the pride of Cedar Falls, Iowa sharing a state with two high-major Power Fives (Iowa, Iowa State). That’s also the result when one of the biggest shots in tournament – and Northern Iowa — are partnered for another historic moment.

Six years ago Farokhmanesh’s 3-point dagger sealed an upset of Kansas in this exact spot – Chesapeake Energy Arena.