March Madness: where amateur athletes earn their keep by way of a $1 billion contract with CBS. Without further ado, let’s jump into the action about 15 minutes in with BYU v. Florida.
11:09 – BYU has a black guy? From Las Vegas? He (Michael Loyd) just scored 10 straight points to put BYU up 31-28. I’m not going to say BYU is the whitest team in the tournament, but their best player is named Jimmer.
Considering BYU is probably the oldest team in the tournament, what with their players often being older as a result of going on missions, is it a coincidence their mascot is the Cougars? Discuss.
11:17 – My final four team Villanova is down 9 points in the first half to something called Robert Morris (apparently its former name is the Pittsburgh School of Accountancy). Oy.
11:19 – With Florida down a bucket at half, we go to Villanova v. Robert Morris. As some dude named Sutton swats a Robert Morris shot into the twelfth row, I should note that Robert (Bob to his friends) Morris is sponsored by a clothing company called Crons. Crons! Like Crons disease.
11:23 – An ad for the Census. Considering this is a basketball game, couldn’t they have worked in a pun around “count it”? Let’s go back to BYU-Florida
11:31 – The Jimmer’s older brother T.J. is wearing his nicest Christmas sweater for the occasion as the Jimmer’s back to back scores puts BYU up 5.
11:41 – Erik Murphy takes a break from managing international superstar Vincent Chase to play some basketball for Florida.
11:45 – The Jimmer puts in his 20th points to put BYU up 10. This one is slipping away from Florida fast.
11:47 – Another 3 for BYU, who is now up 13. This one looks over. In the meantime, Nova has cut the Robert Morris juggernaut’s lead to 4. Are they suffering from Crons Disease? Possibly.
11:49 – As Florida cuts it to 8 with an and one, I should point out that this nothing quite screams a good time like Brigham Young in Oklahoma City.
11:55 – The announcer points out that the Jimmer has made 36 straight free throws, possibly setting him up for a pretty epic jinx.
12:01 – Notre Dame fouls with 9.6 seconds left. Two free throws for a 65% shooter who calmly drains both. Notre Dame needs a three now. Back in OKC, Florida is leading by one and on the line with 40 seconds left as their 58% shooter bricks the first one badly, but sinks the second. The Jimmer ties it up with 25 seconds. Florida calls time out to hold for one last shot. Oh, and Notre Dame lost. First rape cover-up allegations against the Pope, now this. Rough week for the Catholics. At least they had St. Patrick’s Day.
12:06 – Chandler Parsons of Florida bricks a turnaround to win in regulation, and we’re going to OT.
12:12 -#2 seed Villanova trails #15 seed Robert Morris by five with under five minutes to go. According to wikipedia, Robert Morris is known for signing the Declaration of Independence and funding the ensuing war. I guess I can get behind that.
12:15 – BYU can’t buy a bucket in, but Michael “The Loneliest Man in Utah” Loyd hits two free throws. UF by 2 with two minutes remaining. Meanwhile Robert Morris is up 8 with four minutes left against Villanova.
12:19 – Florida bricks a three, but steals the ball immediately, and calls timeout to hold for one last shot again as we are tied at 81.
12:20 – That possession was an absolute disaster. To double overtime!
12:22 – When did that happen? Apparently Villanova has tied the Robert Morris juggernaut with a minute and a half left.
12:24 – The Jimmer bricks a free throw! I called it! Shot of his brother in his ridiculous sweater. he does hit the second one to make it a two possession game, but Florida gets a putback, then takes a stupid foul to put the Jimmer on the line and he splits again (double jinx!). BYU by three.
12:28 – BYU gets to the line and hits one more. We cut to the Robert Morris juggernaut and Villanova who are tied with 25 seconds left.
12:31 – Florida is down 7 and just airballed a three with a minute left. Goodnight Gators. I am 0 for the tournament in picking games. The Jimmer scores 37 en route to defeating Florida. Meanwhile, Villanova and the Robert Morris juggernaut are going to overtime.
12:37 – Ok. Villanova may be restoring some sanity to the universe by going up four with 2:20 left in overtime.
12:47 – Robert Morris shanks a three pointer to tie the game at the end of regulation, coming up just short. Not an impressive outing for Nova though.
12:52 – We get the “what’s the deal with Sam Houston State graphic” and learn their mascot is the Bearkats. Again, that’s Bearkats. What is this, the Arena Football League? I would’ve preferred Cradle Robbers, but that’s me.
1:00 – I think Gilberto Clavell is my favorite player in this tournament, thus far. Besides the fact that he has a superb name, he’s sporting the most tremendous set of goggles thus far, and has 17 first half points.
1:05 – The spunky Bearkats lead the Bears of Baylor 31-30 at half. We go to San Jose for Vanderbilt-Murray State where Murray State leads by 6 with 18 minutes left.
1:09 – Ok, I think we’re settling in on the St. Mary’s-Richmond game. Gaels. Spiders. Get excited. Also, St. Mary’s has five Australians on their team. That’s certainly an interesting recruiting pipeline to mine.
1:14 – Apparently this game is being played in the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence. I know that when I think of a menacing home court advantage, I think of donuts. Anyway, Omar Samhan has all 10 of St. Mary’s points.
1:26 – Richmond’s coach looks like the jerk friend from every John Hughes movie. I suppose this is as good a time as any to mention that Richmond has the highest tuition of any school in the tournament.
1:28 – These Australians can’t seem to get jerseys that fit correctly.
1:36 – So, Richmond’s up six with four minutes left in the first half, whereas 13 seed Murray State leads Vanderbilt by two with two and a half minutes left, but we’re sticking with the two teams that have roughly no chance of winning in the second round. You’re killing me, CBS.
1:39 – Some probably Australian guy on St. Mary’s clangs a three off the side of the backboard, meanwhile there’s under two minutes left in Vandy-Murray State. Sigh. Although Richmond just scored on a back cut, which always gives the announcers a chance to bloviate about the fundamentals. The Fundamentals!
1:41 – St. Mary’s hits a three and we’re tied at 36 at the half. We go to Greg Gumbel (one half of brother team Gumbel 2 Gumbel: Beach Justice) who redirects us to the final minute of Vandy-Murray State, Vandy down a point, Murray with the ball.
1:43 – Vandy gets a steal and calls timeout with 21 seconds left. Too many timeouts, all told.
1:44 – A Vanderbilt player gets fouled going for a dunk. No pressure, kid. He sinks the first one to tie it up. Yet another timeout. For the lead… yes. That was clutch. Murray Stat misses a three, but the ball goes out of bounds to Murray State. Timeout.
1:45 – YES! Murray State hits a buzzer beater falling away from fifteen feet out to beat Vanderbilt and we have our first big upset of the tournament. The entire Vanderbilt bench looks like they just saw they just their puppy get kicked. Not a happy bunch. Meanwhile Murray State goes for a dogpile. Good for them. And it’s time for me to let the TiVo get ahead. Back in a few.
2:11 – CBS plays “Mr. Sandman” in honor of Omar Samhan. This actually happened.
2:19 – Samhan is absolutely dominating this game and the fact that he looks like Cletus the yokel from the Simpsons does not seem to be slowing him at all, nor does the fact that he’s wearing shants. St. Mary’s appears to possibly be pulling away as they’re up eight with 13 minutes left. Aussie Aussie Aussie! Oi Oi Oi! One of the Australians’s dad is wearing a shirt that reads “iParent”. Excellent.
2:29 – As an update, Baylor beat Sam Houston State, and Kansas State is up 20 on North Texas, so they should be in a good spot to pull that one out.
2:36 – St. Mary’s hits a three to go up 15 with 7 minutes left. The Spiders are going to need a serious run (er, shuffle? Do Spiders run?) if they’re going to make this a game.
2:44 – St. Mary’s gets a dunk to go up 17. I think we’re done here.
2:54 – St. Mary’s wins 80-71, completely dominating the second half on the strength of Samhan’s 29 points and 12 rebounds.
3:07 – And it’s time for a break. Good times. More games in an hour tonight. See you then.
4:45 – A rivalry reignites with the Northern Iowa-UNLV matchup. Northern Iowa’s center looks old enough to be the father of any of these guys on UNLV (he’s apparently only 21). Between this and the Florida-BYU game, we’ve got two pretty solid contrasts in location. I don’t know whether Cedar Rapids, IA v. Las Vegas, NV is more starkly different than Provo, UT v. Gainesville Florida, but it’s in the conversation.
4:55 – We have a new contender for my favorite person of the day: UNI’s Lucas O’Rear. As the name would suggest, he’s Irish and in addition to some ferocious mutton chops, he has a tattoo of a shamrock. Good post-St. Patty’s Day vibes here.
5:05 – I like that Northern Iowa appears as NO IOWA on the scoreboard. It’s like a strange deviant of no homo. Example: I was eating some corn at the caucus, no Iowa.
5:16 – Isaiah Thomas, sporting a handsome high top fade drills a jumper for Washington, who is opening up a game with Marquette. And an upset brewing as Ohio leads Georgetown 39-26 late in the first half. An upset is decidedly not brewing where Kentucky leads East Tennessee State 51-23 in the first half.
5:22 – Washington looks like they came to play. It’s worth noting that such teams as UNLV, No Iowa, and Richmond had higher seeds than the PAC-10 champs.
5:27 – The international flavor of the earlier games continues as these teams have players from Canada, Venezuela, the United Kingdom and Senegal. Meanwhile, both teams are lighting it up as Marquette leads 26-23, 11 minutes into the game.
5:34 – An official timeout is called as the Magic Johnson rule requires bleeding Tomball, TX native Jimmy Butler to leave the floor. Isaiah Thomas hits his fourth three. Get ’em Zeke.
5:38 – Fanciest name contender: UW’s Venoy Overton. Although teammate Quincy Pondexter’s not far behind. Meanwhile Ohio is still up double digits on Georgetown with under 18 minutes left.
5:49 – It didn’t count, but Isaiah Thomas just drained a shot from the three point line on the other side of the court. Suffice it to say these teams are shooting the ball well. At the half, Marquette leads 43-42. Back to No Iowa-UNLV.
5:53 – Here’s wikipedia on UNLV’s mascot, the Rebels:
During this time Nevada Southern University [now UNLV] also adopted the southern “Rebel” athletics moniker and a mascot dressed in a southern Confederate uniform named Beauregard. The popular reasoning behind such a controversial moniker and mascot is that they did it to oppose the northern Union traditions and symbols of their northern rival, the University of Nevada. It was not long, however, before protests from NSU/UNLV students forced a slight change to their Confederate mascot, but the “Rebels” moniker remains to this day.
6:20 – Not much has been happening, but we’ve cut to Ohio who is up 13 on 3 seeded Georgetown with two and a half minutes left. That’s a pretty brutal choke in the making for the Hoyas.
6:22 – UNLV just tied the game with 35 seconds with a three pointer. No Iowa does have the ball though, and will hold for one shot.
6:24 – No Iowa hits a deep three to go up three. No Iowa pokes a UNLV dribble out of bounds, 1.3 seconds on the clock to hit a three and tie. UNLV can’t answer, so No Iowa moves on. And I’m afraid I have to move on as well. Enjoy the rest of the games without me.