March Madness

The NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament is HERE. And I’m watching.

Today, I’m going to give a running blog about the rest of today’s action, because it will be fun. And at least I’ll be writing and not just sitting around.

To recap, Virginia told everyone who wanted to pick Albany as an upset special to go to hell, while Memphis used some well timed runs to put away North Texas, and, despite a good effort from Georgia Tech, UNLV held them off for a win by using good hustle and defense down the stretch.

And Texas A&M Corpus Christi storms ahead of Wisconsin 2-0! Call the neighbors, it’s upset city baby! (Though I wouldn’t mind some of these weak Big Ten teams getting bounced early, while KU, Texas, and the REAL A & M make up the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight in some combination. 7-0 TAMCC! 10-0! Okay, damn. That was impressive. Updates are forthcoming.

In other news, I watched Jesus Camp the other night. It’s a documentary about a North Dakota camp where evangelical preachers promote their cause to the youth of religious families. I wouldn’t call it without a bias, as it’s intended as an expose rather than a reinforcing project, but it at least gave a fair account of the camp itself. But the kids were totally brainwashed. Most disturbing was one of the kids (Levi – a mulleted mini-preacher) talking to Ted Haggard. The recently reformed of his homosexuality Ted Haggard. Creepy. And another young girl who was the most nervous and awkward child ever seen. And creepy parents. All in all, I came away from it feeling very frightened about the delusions of these children and their parents and the problems they’ll face later in life by closing off their minds to actual thought, reason and fact.

Anyway.

Nevada leads Creighton early. Nevada’s very underrated for their abilities and those of Nick Fazekas, who owned KU last year. Creighton carries with it the stink of last year’s MVC magic, so this is supposed to be an upset, but I see it more of a 4/13 matchup than the 7/10 it actually is. And Tennessee, who I know nothing about, leads Long Beach St. Who I also know nothing about.

Yesterday I went 12-4 with my bracket, but only lost one sweet 16 team (damn you Marquette!). Today, I’m 2-3, missing the Ga. Tech call. Oh well. None of my deeper picks are out, so I’m in good shape.

I’m enjoying today’s action the best way possible. Pizza and wings! Oh yeah. Definately

Along with that, here’s a glimpse of my set up for viewing. You’ll note the TV, desktop computer and laptop are all connected to March Madness on demand. Yes, this IS necessary, and NO I am not ashamed of the nerdiness involved.March Madness

And just a note, if you deliver food to my home, or wait on me at a restaurant, here’s a good way to not lose 5% of your tip. If you deliver HAVE A PEN! I think 10% of the time, I’ll have the delivery person come to the door and say “Just sign that copy and the bottom copy is yours.”

“Do you have a pen?”

“I..do not.”

And I mutter to myself as I go find a pen. Thankfully, I had one within reach. Usually I don’t. But it isn’t my job to have a pen either, so there. It’s like a firefighter getting to a 5 alarm blaze and the owner asks “do you have a hose?” “I..do not.”

And yes, I AM thrilled that Duke lost. Let the whiners begin their crying. I hate that team. Not as much as Mizzou, but it’s close.

It also looks like the bracket selection committee did a decent job of setting the matchups. Most of the favored seeds have won, but the interesting matchups will be the potential UNC/Texas 1/4 matchup and the A & M/Memphis 3/2 matchup. Because I see the favored teams to get served up some humility and a ticket home in those matchups. I’ll be back later when there are more games going on though.

And at the half 11 seed Winthrop leads 6 seed Notre Dame 32-28. I wasn’t wanting to buy into the “Winthrop is a bracketbuster” line, but I guess I may be forced to do so.

And since I wrote that, Winthrop has gone on a 16-4 blitz to give a legit scare to Notre Dame. Better start praying and lighting candles in South Bend. There are fifteen minutes left however. So it isn’t over yet.

And right now I have Creighton vs. Nevada on the desktop (sans speakers), TXAMCC vs. Wisconsin on the laptop (subdued quiet volume) and Winthrop vs. Notre Dame on the TV at regular volume. Tennessee and Long Beach State is a double digit lead at halftime by the favorite, so I’m calling that one basically uninteresting.

2:51 pm: I hate how CBS does this. Winthrop and Notre Dame is a 20 point game (yes TWENTY points) so they switch to a different game. One which I have on my on demand already. And, to make it even better, I can’t push a button and get Winthrop/ND back, because it’s the regional game so it’s blacked out of on demand.

They better not pull that crap when KU plays tonight.

Meanwhile, Creighton is tied with Nevada, and TXAMCC still leads Wisconsin by 16 with 5 minutes in the first half to go. The Badgers have made 3 baskets in 15 minutes. And are thoroughly exposed as a joke of a team. Down 18 and they almost give up another steal while showing that one person (Alando Tucker, All-American) cannot make a team. And now I smile inside knowing we have six big guns to go to on KU, and only need five at a time. Ahh, depth and team development.

3:10 pm: I guess if I say something about a team, they then go on a run, because Wisconsin just pulled to within 8 of TXAMCC at the half. A 12-2 run will do that, combined with some bad turnovers and poor decisions by Corpus Christi (35 seconds in the half, so let’s push for the last shot at 12 seconds and trap ourselves in the corner, so the Badgers can steal it and go dunk it on the other end as the clock runs out. )

And Notre Dame has come back to life and back to my TV to get to within 4 of Winthrop. Six minutes left, Notre Dame’s ball and they’re on a red hot run. Like 20-3. And Tennessee…yep, still not interesting. Creighton is up one at halftime on Nevada. So there’s a little drama in these games now, and Winthrop seems just totally disinterested in winning this game or hustling or making moves. And Taj Macullogh of Winthrop just threw down a dunk prompting a “That’s a MAN’S JAM! from the CBS Announcer. Four minutes left, 1 point game. So of course, we pull out and Greg Gumbel takes us to Creighton and Nevada. Uh. You can’t spare four minutes of that game so we can watch Winthrop and Notre Dame?

Lame.

3:25 pm: Winthrop just dunked it to keep a 70-64 lead with 28 seconds left now, and they’re going to the free throw line. Hats off to Notre Dame for pushing back, but they just fell apart the last sixty seconds.

Meanwhile, it’s 95-73 in the Tennessee game. With about 9 minutes to go. They might break 200. Both teams are averaging about 5 seconds a possession, basically taking three pointers from about 28 feet out.

Nick Fazekas has 6 points, 3 fouls and 4 turnovers. Not good if you’re Nevada.

Something awesome in the Tennessee game, during a timeout, one of the pep bands literally just played Sell Out by Reel Big Fish start to finish. With trombones finishing the ‘lyrics’. That’s excellent.

And Winthrop…pulls it off. 74-64. I miss another game. But not a Sweet Sixteen. That’ll be okay.

4:05pm: Well they hit 207 points in the Tennessee game. Wisconsin is now leading TXAMCC by 2 and Creighton and Nevada are tied. So far, today’s action has been better than yesterday’s. There’s a shot at an actual upset in that Wisconsin game, and there’s a shot for a good finish to Creighton/Nevada. Oregon and Miami-Ohio is starting out oddly too, at 9-4 MiamiOH with 15 to go in the first half.

With 1:37 to go Nevada has the ball. Three possessions or so in that game, so that’ll be the one they pull away from of course to show Oregon/MiamiOH on CBS. Nick Fazekas has four fouls, but he’s in there now. And Nevada misses a shot but with a minute left they get their own rebound. Good hustle. Fazekas for three with 11 on the shot clock, and he misses, but Nevada gets ANOTHER offensive rebound. 36.3 seconds left and Nevada has the ball with a timeout. If they can hold on to the ball for the last 97 seconds of the game like this. I mean, wow.

4:12 pm: Nevada is trying to milk the clock with a 4 second difference from the game and shot clock, they pass it around and Creighton pushes a sudden trap and Nevada throws it away. They push downcourt but miss a shot, rebounded by Nevada and timeout at 1.4 seconds, Nevada’s ball. Probably gonna be OT but they should check the clock cause I thought they took the TO at about 3.5 seconds. Meanwhile, Wisconsin is being lame and pulling away from Corpus Christi. That’s no fun.

And we’re going to overtime in the Nevada game. First OT of the tourney so far.

4:25: Fazekas just fouled out of the game with 3 minutes left in OT, but Nevada is stubbornly maintaining a 4 point lead. And I think Oregon ran off a 20-0 run to take the lead over MiamiOH at 20-9. Wisconsin is no fun as they’re winning by 9 now. Jerks.

Nevada up 6 with 1:22 left. But six seconds come off the clock as Creighton gets an easy lay-in.

4:30 pm: Ramon Sessions just weaved through three guys and did a heavy-english layup with 3 on the shot clock to add to Nevada’s lead. Creighton scores to keep it within 3, and Marcellus Kemp gets fouled with 29.6 on the clock. He hits both to make it 74-69, and he has 25 points and 12 rebounds. That is a great game considering Fazekas had an off day and wasn’t much of a factor before fouling out. Kemp goes to the line after a Creighton dunk, and with 11 seconds left, he ices them both. Clutch city. 27 points. Nevada scrambles, rebounds the missed three from Creighton and with .8 seconds left, they go to the line to shoot two at 76-71 in their favor. So far, all the favorites in that corner of the South bracket.

This’ll be it, I’m gonna watch all of the KU game, and probably queue up the Texas game to watch Durant roll over people later tonight.

5:47pm: Just checking back in because Miami-Ohio just pulled to within 1 of Oregon. 10-0 run. A minute left. Three vs. 14 seed. Ha. That sucks. I know firsthand. Aaron Brooks hits 2 free throws, and Miami has 22 seconds to tie it with a three. They…miss and Oregon ices it. Close call there. That would have messed up my bracket too, losing an Elite Eight team.

7:07pm: At the half, Kansas leads 52-27. I had a slight very mildly slight concern we wouldn’t come out very well in the first round, but we’re looking fast, active, and playing our game. Russell Robinson’s even hitting shots, and we’re overwhelming Niagara. Rick Barnes of Texas, in another game, is stupid though, and won’t get the ball to Durant. I don’t understand how he can go ten minute stretches and have three or four straight possessions where the best player in the country doesn’t even touch the ball once. But I’ll take the two wins over them all the same…

8:24pm: Well we finished strong, 107 – 67 for the win. Every player who suited up got in the game and all but one of them scored (I think). Got our starters and main bench players good rest for the last 7-8 minutes, so bring out Nova or Kentucky.

In other news, despite Rick Barnes’s attempts otherwise, Texas seems to be pulling away a bit. But watching, they keep having Durant on the weak side of the paint, pinned under the basket with no angle to get to the ball. No movement. I don’t think it’s his fault, I think it’s more the direction of the coach who isn’t making sure his players move and create space for the best player in the building. Durant has 7 points in the second half. That’s just unacceptable. Durant has 23 points now – but on 11/12 free throw shooting. So he has 6 baskets from the floor. I’ve seen him hit six buckets in a 4 minute stretch against us.

Illinois blew a 13 point lead and lost by 2. Go Big Ten!

So far I’ve missed all the 8/9 games and two of the 10/7s. That’s 20 of 26 so far. Once Purdue/Arizona goes final I’ll be 20/27 but Texas (should they hold on) will get me 21/28. And only one Sweet Sixteen team out. Usually I have 2 or 3 of those gone after the first day.

8:32pm: That was an odd moment. Purdue got the rebound and fouled with 21 seconds left and the CBS cameras lingered on the sidelines watching two Purdue teammates basically dancing together, hugging, whispering sweet nothings about how they can’t quit each other. I mean, it’s no big deal, but it was out of place in the context.

8:38pm: Texas will move on, the Big 12 is 3-1. That’s good. But the Texas cheerleaders, I noticed, have very odd looking faces. Like, large noses and small eyes. Just not attractive at all. I’m sorry, if you are a Texas cheerleader and you read this. I don’t mean ill-will. But. I dunno. I just expected better.

This will be the end of our blogging day. I think I’ll go play some Madden and watch the last games.

9:36 pm: I had to check in with this one.  Jackson State, playing Florida, has a Catraiva Givens on the court at 5’8″ 155 lbs.  Also on the court with him is Stanley Turner at a robust 6’11” 295 lbs.  A friend who saw that said “the big guy should carry the little guy around so he can dunk.”  I approve of this idea.  It’s like the Bingo Long Traveling Basketball All-Stars or something.  Meanwhile, Kentucky and Villanova miss a lot of shots, and Florida is barely staying ahead with 16 seed Jackson State (whose head coach looks a bit like Mr. Big from Live and Let Die).

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~ by Michael Engel on March 16, 2007.

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