Four games left in my marathon: 5 Notre Dame against 12 George Mason, 3 Wisconsin against 14 Cal State – Fullerton, 1 UCLA against 16 Mississippi Valley State, and 7 West Virginia against 10 Arizona. I picked all four higher-seeded teams, including ND, Wisconsin, and UCLA into the Sweet 16, so an upset here could really harm my bracket. As a Purdue fan, I have to cheer for Wisconsin...it’s nice to see the Big 10 do well, and forward Marcus Landry’s brother was a Boilermaker (now a Houston Rocket).
9:55 So Fullerton’s entire team is made up of juniors and seniors. Short juniors and seniors, since the starting lineup goes 6’5” or smaller.
9:56 While these games are kicking into gear, I figure it’s a good time (ten hours into my MMMM project) to look back at some of the great performances of the day. Special kudos to Kentucky’s Bradley with 35 points in defeat, Bill Walker in carrying Kansas State over higher-seeded USC, and Belmont’s team for almost pulling the upset of the day against Duke. Oh yeah, Michael Beasley had his 27th double-double of the season. But double-doubles are normal for him, right? What’s he average? 38 and 27?
9:58 Do you think George Mason is helped or hurt by constant comparisons to the ’06 Final Four team? CBS has a graphic up with the four teams they defeated en route two years ago, but that doesn’t look like the team we’re seeing right now. The team we’re seeing right now is down 13 to the Fighting Irish.
9:59 Heading out to DC for the fourth time today, I’m curious to see how Arizona plays today. They were one of the teams that analysts said maybe shouldn’t have made the tournament (especially since Arizona State didn’t get in with a similar resume). Will the questioning motivate them? or distract them?
10:00 Good line from Kevin Harlan: “all the players look like they go to the same barber.”
10:02 I have to admit to being slightly shocked at Fullerton scoring 15 points in the first six minutes. Wisconsin only allows 54 a game, and I was in Indianapolis last weekend to watch them hold Michigan to a paltry 37. Right now, the underdog is on pace for 100 or so.
10:03 Speaking of 100 or so, Notre Dame is dominating the Patriots from Cinderella U (George Mason). 23-6 midway through the first. Mason (like every team in the Big East) has no answer for Luke Harangody.
10:06 The Fullerton coach looks like Jim Boeheim with more hair. You don’t have to agree with me...but I just had to get that out there.
10:07 Wisconsin’s size is starting to wear on the Titans. 7-0 run for the Badgers as they take the lead. The thing about the Badgers I noticed last weekend: they have approximately 15 identical guys on the roster. About 6’9”, 260, white, and can score from either block. It took me ten minutes from the upper deck to realize the guy I kept calling “Brian Butch” was any of three different UW players.
10:10 When’s the last time Bob Huggins coached an NCAA tournament game? (before right now) He was on the outside looking in last year with Kansas State.
10:10 One thing about the Badgers – they sure travel well. The entire section behind the bench in Omaha is “Grateful Red”.
10:12 Speaking of Omaha, why does Greg Gumbel take the viewers of that game on a cross-country tour...while every other game is at a time-out? We can see the scores on the top of the screen, Greg...show some action!
10:13 Good thing I have the DirecTV package. I don’t know if I can ever go back to relying on CBS to whip me around the nation!
10:14 Fullerton just got an important hoop...that stops a 10-0 run for Wisconsin.
10:16 Haven’t spent much time watching UCLA so far. Maybe that’s because I don’t really expect a 1 seed to have much trouble. But you never know. Looks like 12-4 at the moment. Back in Anaheim with Enberg and Bilas...must be nice for Stanford and UCLA to make the long trek from California to...California.
10:17 Seems like the soundtrack for every other commercial is:
(Wait for it)
Dude. Dude! DUDE. Dude? Dude. (and so it continues for 30 seconds)
Maybe the writers are still on strike?
10:18 Speaking of commercials, the Capital One mad scientist is downright freaky. That’s all I’m going to say about that.
10:19 Or how about the Midas commercial where the guy calmly drives his car through the window of the Midas place and says, “I think I might need some new brakes.”
10:20 And why do the guys in the office react so calmly? Is this a normal, everyday occurrence at Midas?
10:20 “Let’s put on our lawyer pants and walk down that path.” – Coke Zero commercial.
10:21 Please, bring back the games...before we go insane!
10:21 Wisconsin has stretched the margin to eight...and Bo Ryan looks like he might go insane. Good ole’ Bo got a technical both days I went to the Big Ten tournament, and he sure wasn’t happy with whatever that last call was. Of course, I have the Badgers on the small, muted screen right now, so I’m not sure what exactly Bo was saying.
10:22 In some ways, it’s more fun like that.
10:24 George Mason looks like they’ve shaken off a few of the early butterflies. The lead is down to 14.
10:24 Make that 12. Timeout Notre Dame.
10:24 West Virginia’s shooting 50% from the floor and 67% from three. That’s enough to lead ‘Zona by five.
10:25 And Zona’s got an injured player writhing on the floor. Nic Wise. That won’t help matters.
10:26 Wow, what a dunk for Fullerton. We have posterization against two Wisconsin defenders. Get out of the way for Frank Robinson!
10:28 The Mountaineers have pushed out to an 8-point lead against Arizona. Wise is back on the floor for the Cats, so that’s a good sign.
10:29 That just made my night! Kevin Harlan and Dan Bonner just said the Fullerton coach looks like Jim Boeheim’s little brother. I’m not going crazy! In fact, someone agrees with me!
10:30 I take back all the mean things I’ve said about commentators in the last eleven hours :)
10:31 UCLA is outclassing Mississippi Valley State. And it’s a good thing, because it’s hard to type Mississippi. The Bruins are up 31-6. Let’s go back to closer contests.
10:32 Like West Virginia. They’re up 27-22, and pressuring Arizona in the halfcourt. Of course, they probably shouldn’t let Chase Budinger shoot an open three. 27-25.
10:34 There should be a national law that all four games can’t go to commercial at the same time. Since there’s not, I’ll flip over to watch my favorite NBA team for a minute, the Lakers.
10:35 Or not. Commercial. Chuckle.
10:36 Wisconsin’s going to take a two-point lead into the locker room. They almost had the play of the day with a late steal and desperation three-point attempt. Talk about taking control of the momentum! But the shot rimmed out, and the lead stays at 2. That’s just a base hit with ducks on the pond for baseball power Fullerton.
10:37 Time for a Diet Coke refill.
10:37 UCLA 35, MSVSU 8. Running clock, anyone?
10:39 Great pump fake by Arizona with three tenths of a second to go in the half. That’ll be three free throws.
10:40 And instead of going to the locker room down two, the Cats can be up one.
10:41 One lane violation and one missed free throw later, the Cats choose to be down one instead. Halftime in Washington, D.C.
10:44 Trivia question – why is the C on UCLA’s jersey a different color than the other letters?
10:45 Answer – to commemorate UCLA’s 100 team national titles.
10:46 Now you know.
10:47 Don’t groan at my trivia! I’m watching a 25-point game!
10:49 All that’s left is the second half of these nightcap games. We should be able to cover that in one final installment of Mega March Madness Marathon. Good thing too, because my eyes are tired, my wrists are sore, and...who am I kidding? You don’t want to hear me complain! I’ve gotten to spend my entire afternoon and evening watching basketball! And Purdue won! And...
...I’ll be back with the final edition of MMMM soon.