What happens when a sports fan takes in every minute of Friday’s NCAA first-round action with not one, but two full-size televisions in his living room? The answer is Mega March Madness Marathon 2009, a Bleacher Report series that will be published approximately every hour by columnist Tim Cary. The action continues in hour number two.
1:00 Uh-oh, things are going south up north. Kansas has jumped out on top of North Dakota State, my Cinderella pick, by seven. The Bison have hung around early, but they need to make sure this one doesn’t get away before halftime.
1:03 In other action, Utah State now finds itself down 14. Let’s go, um—Aggies, that’s it. Let’s go Aggies.
1:04 Thanks Mr. Play-by-Play Man. I should have known it was “Aggies.” Hopefully no one noticed.
1:04 Utah State won 30 games this year. I only need them to win one today. That should be doable.
1:04 Except for the karma of picking a team without knowing their mascot’s name, of course. There’s that.
1:06 DirecTV didn’t do as much research for their program titles this year. Utah State is not Utah. Of course, North Dakota State might very well be North Dakota—but I doubt it.
1:08 Speaking of North Dakota State, looks like they’re not going away quite yet.
1:11 Bison have cut it to 38-34. My attention is diverted to Dayton for a moment. The half is almost over, and the Cowboys have gotten out to a four-point lead. The way this back-and-forth game has gone, that’s like being up 30.
1:13 Back in Minneapolis, Ben Woodside has passed Sherron Collins in the scoring column. It’s 16-15. The big problem for Ben and company is that Kansas is deeper than just Collins. NDSU looks a lot more like a one-man show.
1:15 Marquette is still up 10, but it looks like their point guard just limped off with an injury. Will the Aggies capitalize?
1:16 Two of the four games are at halftime. Syracuse leads 38-22, while Oklahoma State held on to the four-point margin against Tennessee. That gives me a little more time to check out the Eagles and Aggies in Boise.
1:17 That’s three games at halftime now. Kansas finished the half on a 16-7 run to put some distance between themselves and my Bison. The underdogs are down nine at the break.
1:18 Utah State is holding for the last shot.
1:18 “Bob, they can cut this thing to six. If they hit a three, it’s five.” Announcers always seem like they want to show off their math and counting knowledge, don’t they?
1:18 And we’ve reached a few precious moments of boredom after a solid hour of basketball overload. All four games are at halftime. Translation: Time for a refill.
1:21 Well, let me summarize. I picked Tennessee to win. They’re down four. I picked Utah State; they’re behind by eight. I’ve got North Dakota State; they’re down nine. Explain to me why you’re listening to anything I say about this tournament?
1:22 Because it can all change in the second half, right? Right?
1:23 At least Syracuse is winning. Like I said earlier, I have them making the Elite Eight, so I was hoping they didn’t get “lumberjacked” in the first round.
1:24 Not a lot of margin for error. I’ve already lost my first Sweet 16 team (Clemson). That’s what I get for picking against a Big Ten team.
1:24 Jim Spanarkel: “Would you give him an assist on that one?”
1:24 Ian Eagle: “I think I would. It looked like a shot, but...”
1:25 Syracuse looks like they’re running a lay-up line in Miami. Orange with back-to-back dunks, and Jim Boeheim’s club is doubling up Stephen F. Austin, 44-22.
1:27 Jonny Flynn just abused a poor SFA defender with a nasty crossover. Flynn literally bought himself seven feet of space with the fake drive and step-back.
1:28 Never mind. CBS just showed the replay. It was eight feet.
1:28 That’s the third different GEICO commercial I’ve seen so far today. That’s one busy lizard.
1:30 I wonder who gets paid more, the caveman or the gecko?
1:31 My least-favorite part of March Madness. All the games are at commercial/halftime, which means my two-screen setup is only good for watching the same commercial on a two-second delay between my right eye and left eye.
1:31 CBS just reported that Jim Calhoun will be at UConn’s practice today. Good news for the Huskies.
1:32 Of course, Connecticut won by 56 yesterday, so if things get closer tomorrow, fans can blame Calhoun. That’s how sports talk works, right?
1:33 Stephen F. Austin has someone that can dunk. Cue surprised facial expressions. Did they find him at halftime?
1:34 Interesting play where the Lumberjack player saved a ball all the way into the backcourt. If he controlled that enough to make the pass, shouldn’t it be “over-and-back”?
1:34 Or maybe there’s some NCAA rule that says not to make questionable calls against teams down 22, especially teams down 22 who are named after famous people like Stephen F. Austin.
1:35 Or maybe the referee, like me, had never seen a play like that before. We’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.
1:35 The Lumberjacks are 0-15 from three. I don’t think that’s how they wanted their first tourney appearance to go.
1:36 Gus Johnson and Len Elmore are ready for the second half in Minneapolis. Hopefully Ben Woodside is too.
1:36 If I have any hope for an NDSU upset, it’s predicated mostly on Woodside’s shooting and the huge home crowd. The Metrodome is overwhelmingly clad in Bison gold, and if the underdog makes a run, almost everyone in that building will be going crazy.
1:37 Technically, everyone in the building will be going crazy, come to think of it. Kansas fans will be going crazy for one reason, and the rest of the crowd will be going crazy for a completely different reason.
1:38 “They could put the Bison away. That’s easier said than done.”—Len Elmore. Sorry, I just had to laugh at the mental picture. Imagine stuffing a bison in your closet or attic. I would agree, Len. Putting the Bison away is easier said than done.
1:39 Kansas gets a run-out and dunk. The lead has finally reached double figures at 47-36. Danger time for the boys from Fargo.
1:40 Since they’re playing just down the road in Minneapolis, does that mean the boys from Fargo didn’t have Far to g...oh? Never mind. That was bad.
1:40 Bison have gone cold from outside. Bad timing
1:41 Bison knock down a shot from outside. Good timing.
1:41 Utah State-Marquette is back underway, and the Aggies are making a run. The lead is down to six.
1:42 CBS just showed a graphic on Woodside’s 60-point game for NDSU earlier this year. He made 30 free throws. That’s just insane.
1:42 I watched Kobe’s 81-point game a couple seasons ago, and he didn’t even make 30 free throws.
1:43 Look out Jayhawks. The Bison are within four and closing! My bracket may yet be saved!
1:43 I said a few minutes ago that the first one to 40 between Collins and Woodside would win. Out in Boise, it looks like the first team to 40, period, will win. Utah State and Marquette are in a 29-25 battle in the second half.
1:44 This is more like the Madness we were expecting. After bigger halftime margins, NDSU is within four, Utah State within one, and Tennessee within one. The fact that I picked all those teams has me even more ecstatic.
1:45 Could Ben Woodside be this year’s Stephen Curry? Here’s hoping.
1:46 SportsCenter could do a top 10 on tonight’s show with just Kansas dunks from this game. The Bison are too short to stop the dunk-fest. Of course, they’ll trade three for two anytime.
1:47 Volunteers and Cowboys are tied in Dayton. Ten lead changes in this game already.
1:48 Oklahoma State with the three-pointer, the steal, and then the offensive foul. Crazy sequence, and Tennessee’s luck to only be down three instead of six after the charge.
1:49 Make that tied. Again. Volunteers knock down the perimeter J and it’s 49-all.
1:49 No stinking way. Two million miles on a truck? That’s a cool commercial. “If it could tell stories, it would.” I believe that. After two million miles, it probably has plenty of stories to tell.
1:51 Bison within three, but Jayhawks knock down a huge triple to double the lead. Kansas 3-8 from deep, while North Dakota State is 8-17.
1:52 This is one of those games where it looks like the Bison have to extend so much energy just to stay close that they may never quite get over the hump. Down three, then down 11. Back to four, then down 10. Can they actually get it all even?
1:53 Did you like that reverse psychology? Maybe I sparked the Bison to greatness.
1:53 Or maybe the Madness is getting to me.
1:53 I’ve decided it’s not really March until I get to hear Gus Johnson say “shake and bake.”
1:54 It’s now March.
1:55 Woodside splits the defense, gets to the basket, scores, and draws a foul for NDSU. Wesley gets position underneath, gets to the basket, scores, and draws a foul for Utah State. Why did I ever doubt my bracket? Of course I knew what I was doing.
1:56 McNeal splits the defense, gets to the basket, scores, and draws a foul for Marquette. I might as well tear up my bracket. I had no idea what I was doing.
1:57 Tennessee back on top in Dayton by thre...I mean one. That game is destined to be a one-possession nail-biter until the final horn, let me tell you
1:58 Woodside attacks the rim again...almost got another three-point play. If I tell my wife we should name our next kid Benjamin, do you think she’d get suspicious?
1:59 Especially after we have a Christian, Bryce, and Carmelo? Nah, she probably wouldn’t notice anything peculiar.
For hour number three of MMMM, click here.