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 five.
4:01 Let’s catch up on our scores around the nation. Dayton by five at half, Mizzou by four at the break, and Pitt by three at intermission.
4:03 The only game going at the moment is Arizona State-Temple. Point guard Derek Glasser is laying on the floor near the bench getting stretched out. ASU will struggle to hold on to their seven-point lead without Glasser’s 4.7 apg the rest of the way.
4:06 And that was an extremely generous bounce for the Devils. Arizona State is 7-12 from behind the arc now after that three-pointer rimmed out, bounced up in the air, and then dropped straight through the hoop.
4:08 The Arizona State Grinches…I mean Sun Devils…hit Christmas hard as he attacked the basket. Dionte Christmas will go to the line for the Owls trying to add to his 21 points.
4:09 When the free throw clanks like that, do we call it a Christmas brick? Or maybe a fruitcake? Suggestions welcome.
4:09 Devils have 20 points so far from Pendergraph, who averages only 14 a game. Good thing, becaue Harden is 0/6 from the floor for a grand total of two points.
4:10 Why on earth would you try to catch a ball while you’re standing out of bounds? Especially when the ball is headed out after the other team touched it? I wonder.
4:11 Now you know the deep thoughts that keep me awake at night.
4:12 Christmas with five more points in the last two trips.
4:13 “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.” No, I didn’t write that line—I told you the announcers would have some scripted. Thanks, Ian Eagle.
4:14 Four basketball games on DirecTV’s Mega March Madness package. And right now, four commercials. Explain the odds of that, please.
4:15 Chris Wright has 11 for the Dayton Flyers in the first half. Wright is UD’s best player, but he only averages 13 a game, so the Flyers have to be happy with his production so far.
4:16 Wright rebound. Wright layup. Everything’s going Wright for Dayton at the moment.
4:17 I apologize profusely. That was almost as bad as Eagle’s “Christmas” line.
4:17 Back underway with Pitt-ETSU. How about the Buccaneers coming out of the locker room with some pressure?
4:18 Panthers score. Bucs score. And no, this isn’t an NFC South tussle. This is the possibility of a No. 1 seed losing to a No. 16 seed in the NCAA tournament for the first time ever.
4:20 Panthers throw it long to try and break the press. Pitt misses a layup. Pitt misses a layup.
4:21 Because the ASU-Temple game started so far ahead of the others, they’re down to the five-minute mark while all the other games just started the second half. In other words, Devils/Owls is a lot more exciting at this particular moment than any other game.
4:22 Harden finally gets to the line for ASU. CBS just put up a graphic showing that he’s only been held without a field goal in one college game. Will this be the second?
4:23 I like the commercial with the karate guy. Painfully funny.
4:24 Harden knocks down a three. Finally. Devils by seven.
4:24 And Temple answers right back with an alley-oop. Big dunk, and the lead’s down to five.
4:24 There haven’t been a lot of “wow” highlights so far today, but the Temple alley-oop is right up there.
4:25 Number one seeds are 98-0 in first-round games. No pressure, Pitt.
4:26 The funny thing is that ETSU isn’t shooting the ball well at all. Try 26 percent from the floor.
4:27 Oh my goodness—play of the day by ETSU. Greg Hamlin just came from behind on a Pitt fastbreak to block away a wide-open Levance Fields layup. Talk about getting up.
4:28 There’s a buzz in Dayton—and it will only get louder until the Bucs go away (if they ever do).
4:29 In Boise, Missouri has quietly stretched the lead out to eleven. Look out Big Red.
4:30 Seems like these games always get close in the second half. Dayton’s lead is down to four, ASU’s is five, Pitt’s two, and Missouri’s at eight now. No matter the seeding, NCAA blowouts are relatively rare.
4:30 In Miami, Pendergraph just picked up his fourth foul with 2:18 to go. ASU can’t afford to lose him. Devils by four.
4:32 ETSU misses a layup, gets the rebound.
4:32 ETSU misses another layup, gets the ball back
4:33 ETSU misses a third layup, draws the foul.
4:33 And Verne Lundquist jinxes yet another Buccaneer free throw shooter. (The team’s 5-12 from the charity stripe now.)
4:33 37-all, Pitt and ETSU. 14 minutes to play.
4:33 Temple just committed a stupid foul, trailing by five with a minute left to play. If you’re going to foul to stop the clock, you have to foul early. Once you’ve let the Devils run off twenty seconds, you can’t bail them out by putting them at the line. It’s the best of both worlds for the team with the scoreboard advantage.
4:34 Christmas called for a travel, and that puts a significant damper on Temple’s hopes. Come on, Ebenezer Referee!
4:35 Arizona State makes two free throws and gets one final stop; that will do it in Miami. The Devils are going to survive and advance.
4:37 ETSU just missed two layups, but got two critical offensive rebounds. Third time is the charm, and the Bucs are tied up again with the top-seeded Panthers at 40.
4:38 I almost feel pretty good about West Virginia’s chances because Dayton hasn’t been able to blow them out. The Mountaineers have basically been down four the entire game, and they still have 12 minutes left to try and knock out the Flyers in Minnesota.
4:39 Pitt 44, ETSU 40. The Panthers are making a statement inside.
4:39 Final score in Miami: Arizona State 66, Temple 57. So much for the twelve days of Chris…oh, never mind.
4:40 Time to turn my attention to Missouri/Cornell for a bit. The Tigers are up 15, and with how entertaining the Pitt game has been, I haven’t checked out the action from Boise for a while.
4:41 Speaking of Pitt, they just committed their 15th turnover of the game.
4:42 But who’s counting?
4:44 I’m thinking East Tennessee State would fit in nicely in the Big East: this is a very physical basketball game. The paint in Dayton today is not for the faint of heart.
4:45 Speaking of the University of Dayton, their basketball team is still up four on WVU. Star Chris Wright has 23 points and counting for the Flyers.
4:46 Speaking of Wright, does anyone else think it’s ironic that UD is nicknamed the “Flyers” because of the Wright Brothers—and their best player is named Wright?
4:46 If it’s just me, that’s fine. I understand.
4:47 Ouch, there’s a fun graphic CBS came up with. Average margin of victory for 1-seeds so far is 49.5 points. I’m going out on a limb to predict that Pitt won’t win by 49.5.
4:47 Like anyone has ever won a game by 49.5.
4:48 If ETSU could make a few layups or free throws, they would be winning. Instead, they’re still down four.
4:49 And West Virginia’s still down four, which I’m guessing they will be until the final buzzer. Seems like WVU and Dayton have just traded baskets the entire game, keeping the same four-point spread.
4:49 The ETSU Buccaneers are 8-17 from the foul line right now. If they don’t upset Pitt, they’ll be shooting free throws for five hours a day every practice next year.
4:50 Random: Verne Lundquist just said “Pitt ball” and it really sounded like “Pit bull”. Just thought you might like to know.
4:51 “It’s the girth, the depth, the width, the shoulders, the impact.” Bill Raftery will find the right description eventually.
4:52 “It’s been a 29-21 run by Missouri.” I’m sorry, sportscaster friend, but 29-21 is not a run. What’s next? “Duke is on a big-time 69-67 run?” Give me a break.
4:53 Pitt was just up 53-45.
4:53 Pitt’s now up 53-50.
4:54 Is this the No. 1 vs. No. 16 shocker we’ve waited our whole lives for? The answer’s coming in hour number six.