Mega March Madness Marathon: Hour No. 9

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Mega March Madness Marathon: Hour No. 9
(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

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 the Mega March Madness Marathon 2009, a Bleacher Report series that will be published approximately every hour by columnist Tim Cary.  The action continues in the final segment, hour nine.

9:00

I really don’t mean to be fatalistic.  It’s just that every team I pick falls apart.  Arizona’s lead has shrunk to two.  Boston College finds themselves down nine in what seems like an instant.  About the only sure thing on my bracket has been picking No. 1 seeds to win first-round games.  Since they are about to improve to 100-0 against 16-seeds, that's not saying much.

9:02       

There was a great dunk by Morehead State—and one.   This plays falls squarely into the “too little, too late” category.

9:03       

Arizona has led the No. 5-seed Utah basically from start to finish. Can the Cats hold on?  It’s Zona by six with 3:30 to play.

9:03       

Wow, Xavier has just exploded to a 21-point lead.  What in the world happened to the Little Vikings That Could?

9:04       

Boston College is down a dozen.   I am looking at first-round loss number nine on my bracket, I think.

9:05       

Let’s go Eagles, let’s go.  Let’s go Eagles, let’s go.

9:06       

Boston College just missed a layup that sat on the edge of the rim for three or four seconds.  Not that I want to blame bad luck for my poor bracket, but next year, I will be taking calls from coaches begging me not to pick their squad.

9:07       

I can see it now.  Jinx No 1: Sports Illustrated.  Jinx No. 2: Tim Cary’s Bracket.

9:08       

Maybe they’ll be 1A and 1B.  We’ll just have to see.

9:08        

The Trojans now have the biggest lead of the game: 64-51 USC.  Pac-10 is exceeding my expectations in the first round.  If Zona and USC win, the league will be 5-1 overall.

9:08       

And that will probably happen.  I don’t know about you, but with the upset scoring and bonus points, I would gladly trade a Boston College loss for an Arizona win. 

9:10       

Louisville’s officially in the second round.  The Cards knock off Morehead State 74-54 and advance to play the winner of Ohio State-Siena Sunday.

9:11       

Utah just saw their first player crack double figures with 1:30 to go.  That's not a good sign for the Utes’ offensive output.

9:12       

All of the remaining games have double-digit margins; that doesn’t happen often: Xavier by 18, Arizona by 13, and USC by 13. 

9:13      

Wow,  there was just a major dunk by Arizona!  How’s that for a punctuation mark?  (In related news, he hung on the rim a lot longer than DeJuan Blair did when the Pittsburgh standout was assessed a technical foul earlier today.  Just in case you wondered.)

9:15       

There’s a play you don’t see every day.  Arizona had a dunk attempt go through the rim but not the net.  The basketball came to an Arizona player, who was called for traveling.  Now you know: A dunk has to go through the net, not just the rim.

9:17       

Of course, if the Wildcat player would have just finished the dunk, things could have been so much simpler.

9:17       

Looks like I’ll be 3-1 on my bracket during this time slot, which helps me improve to 19-9 overall.  Not stellar by any means, but the seven bonus points for the Wildcat win will certainly come in handy.

9:19       

I have 12-seeded Wisconsin over Florida State in the nightcap.  Maybe I can pull two off 12-over-five upsets?

9:19       

Arizona 84, Utah 71.  Final. 

9:20       

USC 72, Boston College 55.  Final.

9:21       

With Xavier safely in command, let’s take a minute to look at the last four games of the night.  I have already mentioned that I picked Wisconsin to pull off the upset.  After that, it’s all higher seeds: I have Ohio State over Siena in Dayton, Michigan State advancing against Robert Morris, and Wake Forest knocking off Cleveland State.   

9:23       

And that will do it.  The Musketeers finish off Portland State, 77-59.  Rare that a whole set of four games are “relative” blowouts; that definitely throws off the CBS time schedule.  Gumbel and company are used to taking viewers to whichever close game drags out the longest.  Now we are going to have a solid 15 or 20 minutes before the next tipoff.  I will be back then.

9:24

Translation: More caffeine.  I must have more caffeine.

9:40       

I am relaxed, refreshed, and ready for the stretch run, I settle back onto my couch.  Four games to go, and three of these games feature my hometown Big Ten.  Of course, I was stupid/brilliant enough to pick all three: The Spartans, Buckeyes, and Badgers. 

9:41       

I think Ohio State could struggle with a veteran Siena team, but the Bucks will definitely have home-court advantage playing in-state.  OSU is coming off a disappointing defeat in the Big Ten championship game Sunday, and this No. 8-vs.-No.9 matchup should be a great showdown to finish the Dayton slate of first-round games.

9:43       

I don’t think I have ever heard Bill Raftery so excited to declare that a team is playing zone. 

9:44       

Okay, so he’s not excited, but he tried to be.  It’s the thought that counts.

9:45       

The Buckeyes receive a shot clock violation on their first trip.  This is not the start Coach Thad Matta hoped for.

9:45       

Siena is up 2-0.  It took 90 seconds, but we finally have points in the basketball game.

9:46       

Ohio State answers right back with Turner.  Somebody should guard him.

9:46       

Both teams are having a problem snaring loose balls.  Some March Madness butterfingers at the start.

9:46       

Siena’s star, Kenny Hasbrouck, took a good shot to the face.  He’s checking to see if his teeth are still intact.

9:47       

Come on – what’s the delay?  You don’t need teeth to play basketball!

9:48       

Oh wait, sorry, that’s hockey.  That's my mistake.

9:48       

With an emphatic dunk by Buford the Bucks are up 4-3; the freshman jammed the ball one-handed.

9:49       

Buckeyes lead 8-3.  The crowd is trying to help Ohio State jump out to an early lead.

9:50      

Siena answers right back with the mid-range game.  The lead is down to three.

9:52       

And we’re all tied up at eight as the first media timeout arrives.

9:52       

For now, we’re keeping our eyes on Wisconsin-Florida State (my upset special) and Ohio State-Siena.  Wake Forest-Cleveland State too, of course.  I’ve got the Demon Deacons in the Sweet Sixteen, but some members of my family have Wake in the Final Four, so an upset here wouldn’t be the end of the world.  Wink, wink.

9:55      

Cleveland State is obliging early.  How about three triples for a 9-0 lead!

9:55      

Yes, you read that correctly.  The Vikings are legit, owning wins over Syracuse and Butler to name a few.  And they’re currently shutting out the four seed in the Midwest.

9:56       

Note: I don’t know if the lead will last; I’m going to guess the shutout will not.

9:56       

That's another expert prediction by Tim Cary.  Wake is on the board and the lead is 9-2.

9:56       

Back in Dayton, Ohio State is out in front again with a 13-8 margin.  At this point, the Bucks don’t look like the most impressive team in their state.  That would be Xavier—or Cleveland State?

9:57

Wisconsin and Florida State have tipped off.  Yes, the Big Ten-ACC Challenge has unofficially resumed, and the 12-seeded Badgers could do wonders for my bracket with an upset victory.

9:58       

I don’t think Wake Forest had any inkling they would be down double digits at the first media timeout: CSU 14, Wake 4.

9:59       

Badgers get the steal.  Let’s go, Big Ten, let’s go!

10:00    

Great job by Wisconsin to get the layup, then ambush the ballhandler in the backcourt for a traveling violation.  Can we just call the game right now at 6-4?  I really don’t want to have to sweat this out for the next couple hours.

10:00   

But I will.  I’m just going to do it without my computer.  Time to hang out with friends and enjoy the last few hours of basketball without typing every single thing that happens.  Thanks for reading one hour's worth of March Madness—or all nine.  Enjoy the hoops craziness!  I will.

 

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