The Bradley Braves basketball team made history in 2006 when they made the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since the 1950’s. Now, they’ve earned their shot at history once again with a victory over UNI on Sunday. That was the last time Bradley made the NCAA Tournament. They beat two top 25 teams, 4 seed Kansas and 5 seed Pittsburgh, on their way to the Sweet Sixteen.
A redshirt Junior at the time, Danny Adams was there, arms locked with teammates as they watched the clock run out against the mighty Jayhawks and then Panthers. “We were a band of brothers. We’d have open gyms and we would fight, we’d bicker, and we’d get after each other. But you know, we kept competitive and we knew at the end of the day there was nobody that was gonna have our back more than each other,” Adams said of his teammates.
That 2006 team fell short of a conference championship, but got hot at the right time and soared into the Sweet Sixteen. “This (years) team did something we weren’t able to do, they won the conference tournament,” said Adams. He cherishes his memories of that run in the tournament, knowing how rare it is. “Not everybody gets to do it. It doesn’t happen every year,” he added. He notices similarities between this years team and ’06. “They started off slow, and our ’06 team we started off slow in conference and we got hot at the right time,” he said. Adams also noted, “This is a very relentless group you can tell. When their back is against the wall they stick together.”
Dave Snell has been the voice of the Braves since 1979. He’s seen the ups and downs of Bradley basketball, including the 2006 team that fell short of conference expectations but found a way to win come tourney time. “That team was expected to compete for the title. And kind of like this team they didn’t get started until February,” Snell explained. He noted that the Braves hadn’t won a conference tournament since Hersey Hawkins was a senior and the Braves took the title in Carver Arena. But they were supposed to win. This team started conference play 0-5 and fought back to earn the 5 seed in the tournament. Three games later, the Bradley Braves are conference tourney champions. Snell said the run in 2006 will never be forgotten, but a conference championship against the ropes makes this year special. He said, “That was a great time. It seems like forever ago. But now, this is really special.”
Bradley is hosting a selection show watch party beginning at 4 pm at Renaissance Coliseum. Admission is free and all Braves fans are welcome.