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 six.
5:00 And-one for ETSU!
5:01 It’s a five-point play in Dayton. Bucs miss the free throw, grab the rebound, kick it to the wing, and knock down a triple.
5:01 Panthers' lead is down to two, and they promptly turn it over. Coach Jamie Dixon can’t believe it.
5:02 Great half-court execution by Pitt to get the ball to Blair on the block. Bucket and the foul; Panthers up four going to the media timeout.
5:03 Missouri’s still up 64-50; looks like the Tigers will succeed in keeping the Big Red at bay throughout the second half.
5:04 Meanwhile in Minneapolis, the Flyers are still up four. I think I should just copy that sentence to the computer’s clipboard and paste it into my column every few minutes. Dayton has had a four-point lead for what seems like forever; at this point, I’m guessing that when the Wright Brothers were heading toward Kitty Hawk, they flipped on their Model T radio to find out that the UD basketball team was up four on West Virginia.
5:05 Speaking of Flyers, Chris Wright just threw down a big-time dunk to stretch the UD lead to a massive…five points.
5:06 Here’s another sentence we can cut and paste. “Offensive rebound for the Buccaneers.” I know the pressure that comes with the fact a No. 1 seed has never lost, but at this point, Pitt still has to be feeling good about its chances—especially after giving up 19 offensive boards and turning it over a zillion times.
5:08 Terrible offensive possession for Pitt, resulting in a 23-foot straightaway jumper that comes up short. Blair commits a foul going for the rebound…
5:09 …and ETSU misses the front end. Riddle of the day: how many free throws can a 16-seed miss and still be competitive?
5:09 Pitt with a huge three to stretch the margin to eight. Will the Panthers escape?
5:10 ETSU answers right back with a hoop and a timeout. Six-point game. Sixty-five seconds left.
5:10 Panthers get two free throws, Blair grabs a rebound after the ETSU miss, and the Bucs are finally going to be out of chances.
5:12 Think that 50 percent mark at the foul line is going to haunt the Buccaneers during the offseason?
5:14 Dayton’s up seven in the final minute now. After leading by four for the whole game, this is like a blowout.
5:14 The Pitt/ETSU game is finally over. Panthers win it 72-62, their first double-digit lead of the entire game. Morehead State gets one more chance for the 16 seeds tonight before the top dogs go a perfect 100-0 in first-round games.
5:17 WVU with a turnover. Not their best move, especially with 27 seconds to play in a six-point game.
5:19 Dayton gets both free throws, and the lead is eight.
5:20 Final score: UD 68, WVU 60. So long, Bob Huggins.
5:21 In regularly scheduled news, this will officially continue the bloodbath of my 2009 bracket. After turning in a respectable but not brilliant 12-4 showing yesterday, I’ve already lost four games this afternoon. That makes me 16-8 with eight games left tonight. Translation: ouch.
5:23 And I know my wife’s grandma picked Dayton. Double ouch.
5:25 Time to get online and find out how many other games she’s out-guessed me in so far. This shorter segment wraps up the afternoon session: see you in hour number seven as the evening games begin and the 2009 marathon continues. Thanks for reading!