Mega March Madness Marathon: 12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m.

Tim CarySenior Analyst IMarch 20, 2008

Let me set the scene for you.

My living room has adjacent 60-inch and 32-inch televisions, both equipped this weekend with DirecTV’s NCAA package that gives access to all 16 games scheduled for today. At times, there will be up to four simultaneous games so it’s important to have a quick trigger finger on the remote!

I’m only listening to the sound on the main screen (that’s the 60-inch). Just think a much larger version of picture-in-picture.


12:09—I’m settled in on the couch with plenty of Diet Coke and my laptop. The faces of Greg Gumbel, Clark Kellogg, and Seth Davis fill my screen...along with that wonderful “Road to the Final Four” music.

12:10—CBS hypes tonight’s OJ Mayo/Michael Beasley duel for the first many times? I’ll put the over/under at eight. That’s about once an hour. Seems safe, but CBS could surprise me!

12:14—And we’re off to our first game sites. Everybody’s going to get to see the tip of Georgia/Xavier from DC. As a big Purdue fan, this game interests me because the winner plays either Purdue or Baylor in the second round.

12:16—The only really annoying thing about having the Mega March Madness package? You see lots of commercials...the same commercials...over and over and over again.

12:18—Let’s talk about Georgia for a second. You remember them...four games in three days, 4-12 in the SEC before winning the postseason tournament. Yeah, that Georgia. Begging the question, is a team that’s won four in a row to get here hot enough to upset a No. 3 seed? Or has it been so much work just to make the tournament that they don’t have a prayer of advancing?

12:19—Yes, I said 4-12 in the SEC. This is a team that lost to East Tennessee State by 18 in December.. Not your typical BCS conference Big Dance entry.

12:19—We have liftoff...I mean tipoff.

12:20—And Xavier has dunk number one. 2-0 Musketeers.

12:20—I remember reading that Drew Lavender, the super-speedy point guard for Xavier, has been struggling through some injuries. It will be interesting to see how he looks today.

12:21—5-2 and we have our first injury of the tournament. Xavier’s CJ Anderson (10 points, six rebounds a game). Looks like he’s going to be OK. Just an elbow to the face.

MEMO to CBS: It would have been nice to actually see why they were stopping the game in the first, oh I don’t know, 30 seconds or so this player was laying on the floor. (I tend to be picky about broadcasters and networks, can you tell?)

12:23—Second game site is up and running. No. 1 seed Kansas taking on Portland State in Omaha. Quick, what’s the Portland State mascot?

12:23—Yeah, that’s what I thought. Correct answer is Vikings.

12:24—I have to admit I was hoping Georgia would bust out the black uniforms, but no luck there. Still 5-2 XU.

12:24—Portland State’s best player, Jeremiah Dominguez, was named the league’s player of the year this season.

12:25—Quick, what’s Portland State’s league?

12:25—Yeah, that’s what I thought. Correct answer is Big Sky.

12:25—Anyway, Dominguez goes all of 5-foot-6. We’ll see if he plays as well against Kansas as he did in his last two games against...Idaho State and Northern Arizona.

12:26—Kevin Harlan just told me that Portland State is the biggest university in the state of Oregon. It sounded like he was serious. That’s why I always contend the NCAA tournament is an educational experience for me. : )

12:27—Georgia with another triple. They’re up 9-8 in Washington, D.C. and I’m officially struggling already watching two games at the same time. I’m trying to figure out which player Jeremiah Dominguez is without sound on that television. You’d think at 5-foot-6 he would be easy to pick out.

12:28—Or not. 12:28 Xavier is pushing the ball. Georgia is walking the ball.

12:28—Alley-oop Kansas. I don’t think Portland State saw much of that play against Northern Arizona. What do you think?

12:29—Another KU dunk. Timeout, Portland State Vikings.

12:29—Kevin Harlan excitedly relays that Kansas has started an "explosive five-of-seven from the field." Dunks do tend to raise your shooting percentage. Who’d have thought?

12:30—Commercials in both games. Time to find Michigan State/Temple.

12:30—And look, the Spartans and Owls have started already. Ah yes, Gus Johnson. The NCAA tournament would be worth watching just for Gus Johnson’s play-by-play.

12:31—As a diehard Purdue fan, I tend to pay more attention to the Big Ten teams. It will be interesting to see how MSU responds after getting robbed against Wisconsin in the Big Ten tournament semifinals last weekend.

When the Spartans are playing well, they can beat anybody in the country. When they’re not...well, have you ever heard of a 12-over-five upset? A 12 seed seems to win every year. It could be Temple this year.

12:33—That reminds me...I haven’t even mentioned my picks yet. I have Xavier, Kansas, and Michigan State in these games. Way to go out on a limb Tim Cary.

12:33—One of my favorite things about the "Izzone" (Michigan State student section) is the way they so graciously count out the shot clock for the other team. Of course, it’s usually about four seconds slow or four seconds fast, but that’s just a minor detail. Anyway, from the sounds of things, there’s a healthy Izzone contingent in Denver.

12:34—Murphy’s law says all three games can have commercials at the same time right about...NOW.

12:35—I have to admit I don't know much about Temple. Now that I’ve already picked against them, it sounds like as good a time as any to finally do my research. And look, what do you know, seven wins in a row for the Owls. Figures.

12:36—And the games resume. Well, Kansas is playing again. Not sure about Portland State. They’re down 10 already.

12:37—Story of the game from Denver (in my opinion): Can Temple keep track of sharpshooter Drew Neitzel in their renowned 2-3 zone?

12:38—Georgia is still leading Xavier. I sure wouldn’t be brokenhearted if the Boilers had to face a 14 seed in the second round. (Now, don’t go lecturing me. I understand they have as good a chance as anyone of losing today, but since I don’t know what the outcome of their game is yet, don’t blame me for cheering against the No. 3 seed right now!)

12:39—There’s a lot of blue in all these games. The Verizon Center in DC has a dark blue themed court (in honor of Georgetown). The Temple/Michigan State game is being played in the Pepsi Center, so there’s Nuggets' blue all over the floor. And last but not least, Blowout Central (I mean Omaha) is the regular-season home of the Creighton Bluejays, so the color scheme continues.

12:41—Speaking of Blowout Central, Portland State hasn’t gone away quite yet. It’s 22-12, Jayhawks.

12:42—I mean 22-15. Vikings for three and we’re back in single digits.

12:43—Georgia’s playing well in DC. They’re up six on Xavier. But really, who would have ever thought at the beginning of the year that an SEC champion would be a 14 seed? And playing an A-10 three seed? This is the kind of story every BCS conference-hater should love.

12:45 —Commercials on all three games. Murphy strikes again.

12:46 —Back to action. Temple’s zone looks a lot scarier without Neitzel on the floor to shoot them out of it.

12:46—CBS just tried to give Temple four points on the scoreboard for a perimeter jumper. No wonder a 12 seed wins every year.

12:47—First missed call of the day. At least that I saw. A Temple rebounder had the ball bounce off his leg under the basket and the ref was out of position, so they got the ball back.

12:47—Ah, there’s some good officiating. The other official who had a better angle came over and huddled with the out-of-position ref. They had a friendly discussion and...Temple’s still getting the ball. Oh well.

12:48—Another official huddle. That’s enough for me to change games back to Portland State/Kansas.

12:49—And the Jayhawks are back up 13. From the dunk highlights, I’m going to suggest Portland State start playing offense with four and leave one guy back to stop the breakaway. Just a friendly suggestion.

12:50—How much Diet Coke do you think I’ll have gone through by midnight? Over/under at...well, I don’t want to even think about it. Never mind. Back to basketball.

12:51—Awesome pass by Drew Neitzel. As a Purdue fan, I’ll be glad when he graduates, but as a college basketball fan, I’ll miss watching him play. Spartans by two.

12:52—Xavier’s size is wearing down Georgia inside. After an offensive board and putback the lead’s down to two.

12:52—And the Bulldogs answer. 25-21 UGA. Timeout Xavier.

12:53—Let’s spend a little bit of time watching Portland State’s 5-foot-6 star, Dominguez. If I wait much longer to focus on this game, it might be over.

12:54—If it’s not now. 33-18 KU.

12:54—You remember watching that JV high school basketball game and there’s the one kid who just isn’t in the same height class as everyone else on the floor? That’s what it looks like watching Dominguez, who is giving up about a foot to his defender at the moment.

12:56—Doing my research again: Dominguez "transferred to Portland State from crosstown University of Portland."

Quiz time: A) Did you know there was both a Portland State and University of Portland? B) What is the University of Portland’s mascot? C) Why am I talking about this right now?

12:56—Correct answers are: A) No. B) Couldn’t tell you. C) Because Kansas is absolutely killing the Vikings. Somebody guard Brandon Rush, please.

12:57—Can you believe I don’t have wireless Internet for this project? Time to upload article No. 1 to Bleacher Report. See you in the next installment.


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