Little David slew Goliath.

Ah, yes, this is why we love the NCAA Tournament so much.

David — otherwise known as Ali Farokhmanesh — and his spunky Northern Iowa teammates stunned big, bad Kansas, the tourney's overall No. 1 seed, in a second-round shocker Saturday.

Farokhmanesh, the son of former Weber State volleyball coach Cindy Fredrick, hit a huge, no-conscience 3-pointer and two critical free throws in the closing seconds to help the unheralded Panthers slap the Jayhawks 69-67 and send 'em packing.

Dramatic buzzer-beaters, heartbreaking bracket-busters — yes, I picked Kansas to win it all in my bracket — unsung heroes stepping into the spotlight and Cinderella slipping on a pair of high-top sneakers make March Madness better than virtually any other sporting event.

Win and move on.

Lose and go home.

Today, the field will be whittled down to the Sweet 16. And four of those teams will be coming to Salt Lake City this week for the Western Regional final and a shot at reaching the coveted Final Four.

Here's 16 more reasons why we love the Big Dance:

16. Filling out the bracket. It can be tricky, but not nearly as tough as trying to figure out your income tax return.

15. In all-too-goofy fashion, my buddy decides to pick Murray State, a No. 13 seed, to beat fourth-seeded Vanderbilt. Why? Well, simply because our favorite fourth-grade teacher was Mrs. Murray. Great logic: Murray State wins 66-65 on Danero Thomas' 15-footer at the buzzer.

14. Eight teams seeded 10th or higher win their first-round games, just one short of the all-time record for victories by double-digit seeds set in 2001.

13. Some clueless clown in the office pool proudly proclaims he picked Ohio U., a No. 14 seed, to knock off No. 3 Georgetown. We later learn he thought he was picking Ohio State, a No. 2 seed. See, sometimes ignorance IS bliss.

12. The high-profile Big East looks more like the Big Least after Georgetown, Marquette and Notre Dame each lose their openers to double-digit seeds.

11. Villanova, a No. 2 seed, barely beats some little guy named Bobby Morris, seeded 15th, in overtime. The losing coach, Mike Rice, is so proud of his team's valiant effort that he loses his composure and cries at the postgame press conference.

10. That sets the stage for a sweet little Cinderella named Saint Mary's to knock off 'Nova and reach the Sweet 16.

9. "I'm still trying to figure out how the heck we won," Butler coach Brad Stevens says after Saturday's two-point win over Murray State.

8. Cornell, seeded 12th, topples Temple to become the first Ivy League team to notch an NCAA tourney win in 12 years.

7. Farokhmanesh drills a late 3-point bomb from 30 feet away to beat UNLV. It is Northern Iowa's first NCAA win in 20 years and sets the stage for Saturday's stunner.

6. Washington's Quincy Pondexter scores with 1.7 seconds left to cap the Huskies' comeback from a 15-point deficit in the final 131/2 minutes of an 80-78 win over Marquette. And on Saturday, the Huskies handle No. 3 seed New Mexico.

4. Wake Forest's Ishmael Smith hits a 17-footer with 1.3 seconds remaining in overtime to trip Texas, 81-80.

3. Jimmer Fredette pours in 37 points in a superb opening-day performance as BYU turns back Florida in double overtime.

2. Michael Loyd Jr. becomes the Cougars' first-round hero with a career-best, 26-point outburst that includes a one-man, 10-0 run that gets BYU back in the game.

1. "If I miss this, they're gonna revoke my scholarship and escort me out of Cedar Falls," Farokhmanesh told Bob Lutz of the Witchita (Kan.) Eagle in sizing up his late-game dagger Saturday. "Ah, what the heck? I'm a senior."

Underdogs beating big dogs.

And more thrills to come.

Indeed, that's why it's called March Madness.

e-mail: rhollis@desnews.com