Home > Uncategorized > Running Blog Of The 2011 NCAA College Basketball National Championship Tournament — Day 1

Running Blog Of The 2011 NCAA College Basketball National Championship Tournament — Day 1

Computer? Check.

Couch? Check.

Couch groove? Oh, I’m working on it.

Sixty-seven inch television with DirecTV? Check.

Sweat towels? Triple check.

Intravenous drip? Check.

Catheter? Unneeded … for now.

I think I’m ready for some March Madness.

Like, 12 hours worth of madness. I’m sure I’ll be left groveling on my living room floor by the end of the day — if I can make it that far — but the journey itself should be memorable if not pleasant. I want to share it with you all for the duration. So please, check in as I observe and report what happens in this actual first day of the best sports postseason event.

9:05 a.m. As we approach our first tips (Clemson/West Virginia at 9:15 a.m. and Butler/Old Dominion at 9:40 a.m.), there is a sense of calm that washes over me. Why?

Because I don’t have to keep contradicting myself and wasting my time reading what boils down to largely pointless columns on which team is going to win. There’s nothing I can do about my bracket now, and that’s a huge relief. Now just let the bodies fall where they may.

9:09 a.m. I’m agnostic, but I’ll be praying for a lot of things today. Just below wins for Belmont, Utah State and Gonzaga, I really need two things: No computer freezes and a stable DirecTV sattelite connection. I’m certain I won’t be fortunate enough to receive both today. Excuse me if I go off the grid for 10 minutes or so at some point(s) today. That’s when you’ll know I am having technical difficulties.

9:13 a.m. I’m also working off of three hours sleep, so this thing may start to get kind of loopy not too long from now.

9:16 a.m. Anyway, let’s get to the basketball! The first game is the fifth-seeded West Virginia Mountaineers versus the 12th-seeded Clemson Tigers. I have W. Va. winning pretty easily in this game, but you know the deal here with this tournament: You never know.

9:17 a.m. My phone has rung twice in the past three minutes. I forgot to inform people not to contact me after 9 a.m.; I won’t be answerin’.

9:22 a.m. Let me point out that I’m not really here to very analytical today. I am familiar with the large majority of these teams, but I’d be lying if I said I know all of the starters and each of the offenses they run. I will talk about basketball throughout the day, but if you’re looking for real in-depth coverage of the games as they happen, you’re probably not going to be happy here. I already assume you are watching the games; I want to add what I see/hear/feel/smell, etc. I want to take more of a typical fan’s point of view. You know, that guy watching on his couch who is just enjoying the Madness.

Because I am on my couch enjoying the Madness.

9:25 a.m. As we reach the under-16 timeout in Tampa, Clemson is up, 7-2. John Flowers, the Mountaineers’ most versatile big man, has two fouls. Smooth smart to my bracket.

9:27 a.m. Yes, I’m already kind of nervous because my pick looks stagnant early on. Nothing I can really do about that. I’m a freak with this stuff.

9:30 a.m. Two consecutive 3-pointers for Clemson as the Tigers take a 15-6 lead. That Butler-Old Dominion game can’t start soon enough because I really don’t want to look at this any longer.

9:32 a.m. The Mountaineers are 3-of-11 from the field and have committed five team fouls in the first seven minutes.

9:34 a.m. I am very intrigued by the upcoming game between Butler and Old Dominion. Butler obviously has the experience edge. I think the Bulldogs are under better coaching and they are much more explosive on the offensive end.

But I’ve bought into all the talk about how the Monarchs are bigger and stronger and that their size will force problems for Matt Howard, the only guy Butler really has to combat ODU’s size. But I just can’t see a team with so much returning talent after a run to the 2010 championship game being ousted in the first round — yes, this is the first round! — by a non-flashy mid-major. Experience accounts for a lot in this thing. I know ODU beat Notre Dame in this tourney last year, but few teams in this mess understand what it’s all about as well as Brad Stevens and Butler do.

9:40 a.m. By the way, in case you haven’t seen it yet, here is my bracket. I surprised myself in that I didn’t change any part of it after posting.

9:42 a.m. I’ve switched over to the Butler game, which has officially tipped off. ODU opens with an easy layup in the paint. Interior points will be something to keep track of in this game.

9:44 a.m. Shelvin Mack has hit a couple of 3s to start it for the Bulldogs. He’s going to have to go for around 25 points for Butler to have a good shot, in my mind.

9:47 a.m. When I left West Virginia, it was down by 10. Since, it’s hit its last five shots and now trail by only four. Jonnie West, Jerry’s son, just hit a 3 for W. Va. That’s so cute!

9:51 a.m. This Butler/ODU game is more offensively entertaining than I would have bet early on. Both teams shooting better than 50 percent and running some beautiful sets.

9:53 a.m. And the ODU gets harassed by Butler’s defense and is forced to chuck up a 3 that barely hit the glass. OK, so it’s been pretty OTHER THAN that.

9:55 a.m. The Monarchs are trying to prove that they are not just an inside team. They have hit on three of their first six shots from beyond the arc. They shoot just 33 percent from 3-point range on the year.

9:57 a.m. The under-12 timeout in D.C. puts me back on the West Virginia-Clemson game, where the Tigers are back up by eight with about three minutes to play. Seven turnovers for W. Va. Guards Demontez Stitt and Andre Young have combined for 21 Clemson points.

10:02 a.m. I want to see how the Mountaineers close out the half, so I’ll be sticking with that one to the break. 37-27, Clemson with less than a little more than three minutes to play.

10:09 a.m. And the result? West Virginia played much better defense in the final couple of minutes, Kevin Jones hit a 3 to end the half and the score is tied at 40 at halftime. That’s a great result for W. Va., considering how poorly it started.

Clemson missed four of its final five shots in the first half.

10:11 a.m. Butler leads by one, but Matt Howard just picked up his second foul with about five minutes to play in the first half. That drew quite a rise out of the ODU fans; they know how important that is.

10:13 a.m. First bottle of water finished. That just starts the countdown clock toward the first bathroom break. WHERE’S THAT CATHETER?!

10:15 a.m. Those of you watching TRUtv during the commercial break were treated to about 10 seconds of Family Guy action. But order was restored just as play resumed. Awesome.

10:17 a.m. As if they are patching in old-fashioned phone calls, someone must have placed the TBS cable into the TRUtv slot. Just keeping the viewers on their toes. At least it wasn’t Heidi.

10:22 a.m. Butler/ODU is a fun back-and-forth game. The Bulldogs are staying right there with the bigger Monarchs on the boards, despite two fouls for Howard and center Andrew Smith. It’s tied at 27 with one minute left in the opening half. ODU needs to sharpen up its ball handling as it’s already committed 11 turnovers.

10:26 a.m. The ODU Monarchs’ sixth offensive rebound leads to a tie-breaking basket just before the half. 29-27, ODU.

Surprising: Butler has seven O-boards.

10:29 a.m. Just cracked open my MET-Rx protein bar. It’s amazing how much tastier those things have gotten in the last 10 years. It used to be like eating Styrofoam, truly.

10:30 a.m. We’re back underway with Clemson and West Virginia from Tampa. And the Mountaineers take their first lead of the game on a put-back layup by Truck Bryant.

10:36 a.m. With both games on break, let me point this out: No matter how my bracket turns out, it won’t be worth the amount of time and effort I wasted to put it together. I’ll never get that part of my life back.

10:40 a.m. W. Va. on a 15-1 run through the past six minutes, dating  back to the first half. It has a lot more to do with the defense finally playing up to its capabilities.

10:41 a.m. I just realized I am not wearing green today; I’m decked out in all black. And I’m Irish!

There must be a penalty for that back in the old country.

10:41 a.m. Louisville-Morehead St. (heh, heh. Morehead) just tipped off on TBS. I have Louisville as the winner, but I want to watch some more of Kenneth Faried.

10:44 a.m. Verne Lundquist and Bill Raftery are calling the Morehead St. game; I get the feeling already that they will be speaking in ultimate superfluous terms when talking about Faried today. And that’s going to bother me.

The kid’s great and all, but every time he hustles for a rebound, we don’t need to point out his determination or heart as being greater than the rest. We know, he’s good at rebounding. Got it.

10:48 a.m. With that being said, I have to say Faried is playing very well right now. Morehead St. is up, 7-0, less than four minutes into the action, which forces Rick Pitino to call an early timeout.

But I’m tuning back to Clemson/West Virginia for now. Butler/ODU is back underway as well.

10:51 a.m. Well, the Mountaineers are up nine, so how about that Butler game? ODU is up by two, and it needs to be pointed out that Howard and Andrew Smith both have three fouls. Yet, both are still on the floor. Interesting.

10:55 a.m. And a few minutes later, Smith picks up foul No. 4.

“Mark down when that occurred,” Tim Brando exclaims.

Done and done.

11:00 a.m. By the way, it took more than six minutes, but we have a historic announcement:

LOUISVILLE HAS SCORED!! HURRAH!!!

11:02 a.m. The Cardinals still trail 15-5. It must be all Kenneth Faried, right? I don’t know, I’m not watching. It’s too early in that game for me to care about a potential upset.

11:04 a.m. I thin the officials are starting to trying to even up the foul count in that ODU/Butler game. The last couple of Monarch fouls have been really, really cheap. Howard is still in with three fouls. Smith is on the bench with four. About 12:30 left to play, Butler up by one.

11:08 a.m. The sideline reporter in the Louisville — she’s real famous, I just can’t think of her name — just referred to Faried as “indomitable.” Sigh.

However, Morehead State is still comfortably ahead, 19-10.

11:11 a.m. Penn State and Temple just started.

That is all.

I have Temple winning. But I don’t care much for that game. It’s going to be tough to watch.

11:12 a.m. If it’s not obvious to you, I’m not sure what the name of Morehead State’s team is. I really don’t care to look it up because I am very content to just keep saying Morehead.

11:14 a.m. Suddenly, it’s Butler that is crashing the glass hard. The last couple of Bulldog buckets have come off of offensive boards.

11:15 a.m. Another O-board and another basket for Butler! Wow. ODU has missed its past seven shots and trail by five.

11:17 a.m. We’re getting down to the end of our first game of the day. West Virginia has maintained a healthy lead over Clemson for the entire second half. With 2:51 left, the Mountaineers are up by six.

11:20 a.m. Butler, in its last few possessions, has literally tried to throw the game away.

But ODU comes back and says, “No, we don’t want to take advantage of your turnovers.”

11:23 a.m. At the under-eight timeout, ODU has missed 12 of its 15 shots this half, at least three of which have been missed from inside a foot. Maybe six inches.

11:24 a.m. As a requisite of seemingly every March Madness first-round game, it’s now tight between Clemson and West Virginia. It’s a five-point game with about two minutes left.

11:25 a.m. Scratch that. Two steals and two baskets by the Mountaineers bring it back up to a nine-point game with about a minute left.

11:28 a.m. Shelvin Mack now has four fouls with seven minutes to play. If ODU can just make some free throws and convert inside the paint, Butler is in trouble.

11:30 a.m. Both teams are now in the double bonus. That’s a big advantage for Butler. And Frank Hassell, ODU’s best of its many big men, has four fouls.

11:36 a.m. West Virginia beat Clemson, 84-76.

Say it with me: 1-0.

11:37 a.m. It’ll be 1-1 in a few minutes if ODU can’t get the long rebounds against Butler. Butler up by 2 with less than four to play.

11:40 a.m. ALL FOUR GAMES ARE IN A BREAK RIGHT NOW!

EVERYBODY — SHOTS!!!!

11:42 a.m. (Ahhhhh) Happy St. Patty’s Day, everyone.

11:43 a.m. ODU down by four with two minutes left! They can play defense well enough to get the stops needed, and they need them because the Monarchs are not a catch-up team.

11:45 a.m. ODU finally makes an easy hoop. Two-point game!

11:45 a.m. Less than a minute left, so of course, ODU MISSES ANOTHER LAYUP! JESUS!!!

Timeout, ODU, with 35 seconds left. 58-56, Butler.

This is March Madness. Ha-HA! (I’m getting ahead of myself.)

11:48 a.m. Butler fouls a Monarch, Kent Basemore, 15 feet from the bucket. He goes to the line and makes both free throws

30 seconds left, 58-58!

11:50 a.m. For the first time today …

FUCK!

Despite have three timeouts in its pocket, Butler doesn’t take a break. ODU plays good defense for most of the possession, but when a wild attempt is thrown up and then bounced off the glass by Andrew Smith, Matt Howard comes from the weak side to grab ANOTHER offensive rebound and put it back in as time expires!!

First of all, that’s what this tournament is all about.

Secondly, ODU had this game. But the Monarchs missed two handfuls of “come on, it’s right there!” baskets. Then they allowed a smaller, more shallow, less athletic front line grab four more offensive rebounds and equal the total rebound count.

1-1.

11:56 a.m. Whew. I am flushed.

11:57 a.m. But let’s continue with two games I haven’t watched much: Temple/Penn St., and Morehead St./Louisville. Penn St. and Morehead St. have blown sizeable leads to create some close games. At the half, Penn St. trails at the half, 35-33, after leading by nine.

After holding a 15-2 lead, Morehead St. now trails Louisville, 35-34, with 17:49 remaining.

12:00 p.m. I’m not sure how both teams caught up, but by looking at the box scores, it seems like Louisville-Morehead St. has been a really sloppy game with 24 combined turnovers already. It’s worth noting that five Cardinals have at least two personal fouls. Peyton Siva has three.

And with Penn St and Temple, who expected those teams to combine for nearly 70 points in the first half? I thought we would be fortunate if that was the combined point total with six or seven minutes left in the game.

12:07 p.m. Kentucky and Princeton are getting ready to go on CBS. I expect that to be a blowout. Kentucky, while it’s extremely young again, has too much speed and athleticism for these Tigers.

I’m going to stick with the Louisville game for now because, well, it’s the only game on at the moment.

The Cardinals are up by four with 14:51 left.

12:11 p.m. Full disclosure: I’ve been here for a little more than three hours and my butt is really starting to hurt now.

But I don’t want to give up my groove!

12:12 p.m. Louisville’s calling card on D, the full-court press, is really getting under Morehead State’s skin. They have forced six turnovers in the first six minutes or so.

12:13 p.m. Bill Raftery just tried to spin us a little yarn in an Irish accent. But it just came out as gibberish, like most of his statements. Lundquist correctly said, “There’s Irish with a Swedish accent.”

12:17 p.m. ALL GAMES ON BREAK! SALUTE, NUMBER 2!

12:19 p.m. I don’t have much to say about Dan Bonner as a color analyst. But damn, he has one creepy smile. Pairing him and Reggie Miller is a dynamic duo of unique faces. Nicely done, TNT.

12:21 p.m. Pitt is getting ready to tip off against UNC-Asheville. The No. 1 seeds are great, but for the purposes of this blog, don’t anticipate much talk about that game unless something really weird takes shape.

12:23 p.m. Last night and early this morning, I wondered how I was going to get through the first couple hours of today, when only two games were being played. It seemed difficult to keep this the least bit interesting with the lack of suspensful action.

But I think it’s gotten through without being too painful, am I wrong? Now I’ll just be toggling back and forth between games inside of their last 10 minutes. There will always be one available until about 3:30 p.m. here on the West Coast.

12:27 p.m. It’s time to stop what you are doing and watch Louisville-Morehead State. A 3-pointer cut the Cardinals’ lead all the way down to one. Then a steal and a foul by Peyton Siva will send the underdog to the line to take the lead with 7:52 left. That’s four big fouls on the Cardinals’ point man.

12:29 p.m. Preston Knowles is currently on the bench to make matters worse Louisville with an apparent sprained ankle.

12:31 p.m. In more infirmary news, Penn State’s Jeff Brooks is out for the rest of today with a dislocated right shoulder. He is the PSU’s best offensive threat on the low block. Currently, Penn State still holds a one-point lead over Temple, 43-42, with 12:45 to play.

12:34 p.m. Knowles, the Cardinals’ senior captain, just hopped off to the locker room. Tough sight.

The Cardinals are really struggling right now with their best guards either hurt or in major foul trouble. 57-52, Morehead State, with 5:17 to play. The Eagles — hey, I found their name! — just hit a 3.

Time to sound the upset alert.

12:39 a.m. Another problem for Louisville is it’s going to be tough to get second-chance opportunities with Faried in there. He has 16 rebounds.

12:41 p.m. The Eagles are praying that the time starts running off the clock faster. They are just killing clock and are being forced into some low-percentage shots. Terrence Jennings has scored the last four points for the Cardinals, cutting their deficit to one, 57-56.

12:43 p.m. Make that a two-point Louisville lead after a 3-pointer. Two minutes to play, Cardinals ball. They will be heading to the line.

Knowles is back on the bench, but he’s done for the afternoon.

12:46 p.m. Lots of credit goes to Jennings right now. He just out-battled Faried for the rebound just prior to the break. And a couple of possessions before that, he dunked over Faried for a two when the Cardinals really needed it, down six.

12:47 p.m. For the second time in three possessions, Siva drives to the hoop and somehow dishes behind a defender’s back to Jennings for an easy basket. This time, it was an authoritative dunk. Louisville up, 61-57, with 42 seconds left. Morehead State ball.

12:49 p.m. Louisville, whether it meant to do it or not, fouls Faried. He’s a sub-60 percent free-throw shooter, but he makes both.

And now we play the foul game.

12:50 p.m. How many times do you see it: A player misses a free throw that would have put his team in a comfortable position, and it results in a game-changing play on the other end.

Well, Louisville’s Elisha Justice just provided the first half of that scenario, clanking the front of a one-and-one. Timeout with 23.8 second left. Morehead State ball and it trails by only two.

12:52 p.m. The Eagles make just 34 percent of their 3-pointers …

BUT DEMONTE HARPER DOESN’T CARE ABOUT YOUR STUPID STATS! HE SINKS A 3 WITH 4.2 SECONDS LEFT! 62-61, EAGLES!

12:55 p.m. The Cardinals’ final play: Siva gets it and quickly throws it up court to Mike Marra. He tries to create some contact with Faried and at first look, it seems to be a horrible no-call as the ball helplessly dribbles away and time runs out.

But as they keep showing the replays — and as I rewind the shot with my DVR — I think it’s a good no-call. Faried’s right hand blocked the ball cleanly and the body contact was legal.

At the end, you have Faried, a senior, on the ground, in tears of joy and Knowles, a senior, on the bench in tears of disappointment. After a few minutes, he gathered his crutches and went to the locker room. I feel for him.

But how about that upset? I know a few people who called it.

I didn’t. 1-2. That’s one Sweet-16 team down. If that lost cost you, take solace that it also busted Dick Vitale’s Southwest region.

1:03 p.m. Oh, by the way, Penn State trails Temple by just one point with 56 seconds left. It’s Nittany Lions ball.

This is just too good.

1:05 p.m. Penn State’s Talor Battle gets blocked on a layup attempt to take the lead. Temple recovers the ball and gets fouled with 28 seconds left.

Kevin Harlon called the Owls’ interior defense a “torture chamber” on that block. All you can do is shake your head.

1:07 p.m. After one made free throw, a timeout and another made free throw, Temple now leads, 64-61, with 28 seconds left.

1:08 p.m. Gotta bold this one too …

The Owls don’t foul, even though they have one to give. Instead, Battle takes a 3 from above the left elbow, at least three feet behind the line, and he SINKS IT! That’s his fifth trey today. 64-64, 11.4 seconds left.

AND WE’RE NOT EVEN HALFWAY THROUGH THIS DAY, PEOPLE!

1:10 p.m. You want buzzer-beaters? Oh, we got buzzer-beaters. Sure, we got buzzer-beaters.

Temple’s Juan Fernandez wiggles around contact just above the right side of the free-throw line, leans in and, the shot goes down with just 0.4 seconds left. Temple wins, 66-64.

2-2.

1:15 p.m. We’re about to hit a small lull. Princeton is really hanging tough with Kentucky, down by just one at the start of the second half.

Pittsburgh actually has its hands full with UNC-Asheville. It’s 30-25, Panthers. That game just went to halftime.

Vanderbilt-Richmond is a good 10 minutes away from tipping off.

So let’s take a moment to step back. After that first quartet of games, I figure we all need a breather.

1:23 p.m. OK, I’m back. That helped.

Seriously, I am sweating with gusto. It probably didn’t help that I was wearing my UCF hoodie up until about two minutes ago. My hair is all frazzled, I’m running a bit short on breath. If this is how the 2011 edition is going to unfold, me and my bracket won’t make it to Saturday.

But anyway, I’ve got some Powerade, so let’s go back to the games. Here’s something you would have never expected: The scores are tight!

Unbelievable!

1:32 p.m. Kentucky is down by five with 13:26 to play, 42-37. The heralded freshman trio of Knight, Lamb and Jones is 4-of-15 from the field. Knight has no points.

Pittsburgh is at the half and only up by five against UNC-Asheville. But that’s not too concerning to me right now. No Panther is in foul trouble, and you usually see a 16-seed stay with a top dog for a while every now and then.

Vandy-Richmond got underway a few minutes ago; Vanderbilt is ahead 10-5, but that’s what happens when you hit four of your first five shots. I am depending on Richmond to help me. And even a deficit such as five this early in the game makes me uneasy.

I am a sick person.

1:39 p.m. San Diego State-Northern Colorado is minutes away. No thanks.

1:40 p.m. If it appears like I am tying and publishing slower than in the morning’s first session, you’re right. I am still trying to get my bearings straight after those three insane finishes.

1:42 p.m. I will stick with the Kentucky game for now, but I have to watch Richmond a fair amount. The Spiders, the Bruins from Belmont and the Aggies from Utah States are my big three upset calls today. That Morehead State win steals some of  that thunder.

1:45 p.m. A little 8-0 run from from Kentucky puts these cats back on top by three. About eight minutes left.

Don’t tell me … not another one!

1:47 p.m. Princeton has missed three good looks from inside 10 feet within the last few minutes.

1:52 p.m. Before we strap in for the final moments of yet another nail-biter — Kentucky-Princeton — here’s a quick NFL note.

TWO NFL WIDE RECEIVERS ARE LEAVING THE LEAGUE FOR THE AFL! (GASP)

Who are they? For all I know, they might as well be insurance salesmen.

That qualified as news today. Yep.

1:54 p.m. What a finish by Josh Harrellson. He gets an offensive rebound, gets assaulted by three Princeton players, but still has the strength to throw the ball throw the hoop for a massive and-1 opportunity. 55-51, UK, with 3:58 left.

2:04 p.m. There’s computer freeze number one on the day. I’m sure it won’t be the last.

2:06 p.m. The most pressing matter currently is Princeton-Kentucky. The game is tied at 57-57 with 34 seconds left. Kentucky ball.

2:08 p.m. Brandon Knight, whose shot has been absolutely M.I.A. today, drives into the right side of the paint and puts in a gorgeous finger roll off the glass with two seconds left! Timeout, Princeton. 59-57.

2:09 p.m. That would be bolded under normal circumstances, but today has risen the bar.

2:10 p.m. Princeton’s last shot has late and the Wildcats barely survive.

3-2.

2:10 p.m. Now flipping over to Richmond-Vanderbilt. There had been a delay in that game after a Richmond player was elbowed in the mouth, drawing a decent amount of blood. But Richmond has cut a deficit once at 11 down to three. Vandy up, 33-30 with 1:04 to go in the opening half.

2:16 p.m. Meanwhile, Pitt has pulled clear of UNC-Asheville, up by 14 with about seven minutes left. San Diego State is up by five against Northern Colorado.That’s still in the first half.

2:18 p.m. The Spiders trail by just three at the midway point, 35-32. They have to feel very good about that position since they are shooting just 40 percent and are getting killed on the glass, 20-11.

True, they are killing it from the outside — 6-of-14 in 3-pointers. But that’s what they do. Richmond shoots 40 percent from three as a team and made 248 of them this season. All in all, I’m not feeling too bad against that game.

And again, I really need Richmond to come through.

2:22 p.m. I’m not bored, but coming off of three hours sleep, I need some more action than a Pittsburgh romp, a game at half and San Diego State not really being threatened by Northern Colorado.

2:31 p.m. San Diego State goes to the half still up by six, 30-24. People can say they are worried that San Diego State hasn’t pulled away yet, but there’s no reason. San Diego State is playing very solid defense and will certainly improve on its 32.4 shooting percentage in the first half.

2:36 p.m. Pitt has finished its business with UNC Asheville. 74-51. Our first non-suspenseful game of the day took about five hours to get here.

4-2.

2:38 p.m. OK, psyched and ready to go for the second half of Vandy-Richmond! LET’S GO!! WOOOO!!

2:41 p.m. A traditional three-point play helped the Spiders tie it up quickly out of the long break. But Vandy has scored the last seven points. Vandy leads, 42-35, with about 18 minutes left.

2:45 p.m. The ball is certainly bouncing the Commodores’ way. They are 5-for-5 shooting in the half and at 61.3 percent for the game.

2:47 p.m. I’ve noticed that working on this blog has helped curb my emotions today. Usually, I am all over the place, slamming hands and cursing everywhere. But the concentration needed, while minimum, has kind of got me away from that. I’m not saying I miss it. It’s just stopped.

And instead, it’s all brewing inside me. That’s not going to be pretty this weekend.

2:49 p.m. Some fortunate blocked shots have kept this game from getting out of hand. But Vanderbilt’s defense is really looking top notch.

HOWEVAH! HOW-EVAH …..

Kevin Anderson just made back-to-back 3s for the Spiders and it’s suddenly tied, 48-48, with 12:31 left. Timeout.

2:53 Damn, that was quick. The Spiders are now a preposterous 10-for-18 from 3-point range. Which train will break down first: That sniper shooting or Vandy’s rule on the glass?

If I had to guess, I’d say it’s the shooting. Vandy’s D is still forcing tough shots; Richmond is just hot at the moment.

2:55 p.m. The cameras take a break to show Jimmer and the BYU Jimmers Jimmering their way off the bus and into the Jimmer.

2:55 p.m. Anderson again! The Richmond Spiders finally hold a lead, 51-48, with less than 13 minutes to play. He is 4-of-6 from deep. 12-0 run for the Spiders.

2:59 p.m. On the other said, Brad Tinsley has been just as hot for the ‘Dores in the past few minutes.

3:02 p.m. Not one, not two, but THREE OFFENSIVE REBOUNDS leads to a Spiders bucket. Wow, that could be something to look back on. Richmond simply outworked the Commodores. The Spiders held the ball for two minutes and 20 seconds!

3:04 p.m. But now they look exhausted. Hahaha!

3:09 p.m. Just a I was writing it, Verne Lundquist has to beat me to the punch. This game has just nine total turnovers. Tremendous.

3:11 p.m. John Jenkins makes three free throws after being foul attempting a 3. Foul trouble is starting to rise up for the Spiders. Starting forward Kevin Smith has four fouls; Francis-Cedric Martel has three fouls.

3:12 p.m. Martel answered that “3-pointer” with a 3 of his own. He is 3-for-3 from 3-point range.

The key number here is three, OK? Not sure if you could understand that, so I’ll repeat: three.

3:16 p.m. Three fouls on Festus Ezeli, Vanderbilt’s best player on the inside. Fouls are now coming fast and furious in this game.

3:18 p.m. We are at the under-four timeout. 64-63, Richmond, but Ezeli is going to the line for a one-and-one.

Gee, I wonder what’s going to happen? Another buzzer-beater? Nawwwwwwwwwwwwwww, get outta here.

3:20 p.m. And in a game I’ve seen all of about 30 seconds, San Diego State is up, 53-39, over Northern Colorado. Ho-hum.

3:21 p.m. Ezeli misses the front end of the one-and-one, which leads to an acrobatic shot-foul combo by Kevin Anderson. He has 22 points, but misses the free throw.

3:25 p.m. “Offensive rebounding has been a huge key for Richmond in this ballgame.” — Verne Lundquist.

It certainly has been for the last 10 minutes, but let’s not get carried away. This team couldn’t catch a baby coming off the backboards in the first half.

3:28 p.m. KEVIN ANDERSON, YOU ARE RIDUNKULOUS!

After yet another missed free throw by Vanderbilt (shooting at the line will haunt which ever team loses), Anderson hits a crazy fall-away jumper over Ezeli’s long right arm to give Richmond a 68-65 lead with 18.9 left.

3:31 p.m. Who wants to the big shot for Vanderbilt?

It doesn’t matter! Richmond plays great D and intercepts a pass into the paint to put the Spiders, specifically Darrius Garrett, on the line with 5.5 to play.

3:35 p.m. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand nothing’s easy.

Garrett misses the front end of the one-and-one. Ezeli is fouled right away to put him at the line to invoke an obvious game plan: Make the first, purposely miss the second and hope for an offensive rebound.

3:36 p.m. The plan didn’t work as Anderson got the ball and was fouled.

Now, he took a little bit of air out of the building when he missed the first shot, but he made the second of the double bonus to put Richmond back up by three, 69-66, with 3.4 seconds left.

3:38 p.m. Jeffrey Taylor catches the inbounds pass and calls timeout so Vandy can advance the ball. But 0.9 seconds went off the clock.

68-65, RICHMOND.

2.5 SECONDS LEFT.

3:39 p.m. In need of a three, I think Vandy has to go with either Jenkins or Taylor.

3:40 p.m. Refs checking the clock … they add 0.3 seconds, so it’s 2.8 remaining.

3:41 p.m. Hey, audio: STOP BEING A BITCH AND LET ME HEAR THIS PLAY!

3:42 p.m. OK, so here we go … everyone on the edge of their seats. This day has been filled with thrilling, heart-stopping conclusions. WHAT HAPPENS HERE????

Uh, Vanderbilt’s three best shooters — Taylor, Jenkins, Tinsley — never turn around to face the ball and receive a pass. So the pass is forced to come into freshman Rod Odom for a contested leaner.

It didn’t work.

Way to go, leaders!

But hey, that’s a win for me and a big one at that. Richmond, 69-66.

5-2.

3:48 p.m. Kevin Anderson certainly was the player of the game. He made some out-of-this-world shots. But kids, practice from the charity stripe!

Richmond: 5-of-12.

Vandy: 14-of-23. Ugggggggggggggggggh.

3:50 p.m. By the way, San Diego State dispatched of Northern Colorado, 68-50. I’m glad I didn’t waste more than 30 seconds of my life on that one.

6-2.

3:52 p.m. And with that, we have a break. Florida vs. UC-Santa Barbara just started. Then we have three games coming in between 4:20 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Wofford vs. BYU; UConn vs. Bucknell and — another big one for me — Belmont vs. Wisconsin.

3:55 p.m. With everything under control for about the next 20 minutes (no surprises, Gators), I’m going to take some time to freshen up, get some more water, pour it on my face, towel dry and get back at it.

See you in a few for what should be another cardiac event.

4:14 p.m. Well, that was fun. I see Florida is still well in command of its game, so I’m probably done watching that one.

We’ll start out on CBS with BYU vs. Wofford, but expect this third quarter of games to contain a lot of Belmont-Wisconsin.

4:17 p.m. I made one wardrobe change during my break. I am now wearing a green Central Florida Future shirt. Yes, it’s green for the occasion, but the switch was needed; I could almost swim in that last shirt.

4:20 p.m. I don’t think BYU will be bothered too much in this game because Wofford doesn’t have a lot of size. The Jimmers trail early on, 6-5.

4:24 p.m. UConn is underway. Can Bucknell pull off another tournament stunner? I didn’t bet on it.

I mean, I didn’t pick it. But I certainly didn’t bet on it. Don’t accuse me of such filth.

4:26 p.m. Forty seconds in and we already have a clock error in Washington, D.C. No, it’s cool, guys. You’ve only had forever to get everything technically sound for this game. A clock error that stops play for about three minutes is totally acceptable.

4:27 p.m. Belmont vs. Wisconsin is now. That’s where I’ll be spending most of my attention.

4:30 p.m. It’ll be fun to see which side wins out: Wisconsin’s size or Belmont’s fresh legs.

4:34 p.m. Wow. I knew the Badgers had a size advantage, but it looks even grander than on paper.

But, no! I am not going to second-guess Belmont, a team I’ve been on for weeks. At least, not yet.

4:35 p.m. Florida up, 43-19, at the half. I think we can put that one to bed.

4:36 p.m. Jimmer has seven points in the first 10 minutes. I am seriously conflicted over whether to watch him or Kemba Walker as my second option whenever Belmont/Wisconsin hits a commercial. Right now, I’m going with Jimmer.

4:40 p.m. Belmont and Wisconsin are off to a slow start, offensively, but both teams are going pretty fast out there. It’s max effort all the time.

4:45 p.m. Not a great omen for Belmont. The Bruins have already committed five fouls, including two by Ian Clark, who is one of their better shooters. Plus, Wisconsin hits 82 percent of its free throws.

4:49 p.m. I’ll have to see what’s up with BYU. They have been down by a bucket or two to Wofford for most of the game. I’m going to watch the end of the first half there and hope Belmont can limit the damage while I’m gone. The Bruins trail, 13-9 with 9:47 left.

4:53 p.m. The Cougars are just 2-of-13 from long range. That includes zero makes in six attempts from Jimmer and Jackson Emery.  Yet, they trail by just two. And you know those shots are going to start dropping.

4:57 p.m. Belmont ties it up at 15-15 after a turnover that led to a 3. Wisconsin averages 7.5 turnovers per game; it has already given it away six times.

4:58 p.m. Jimmer nails his first 3-pointer after a different Cougar misses a bunny. BYU has come  up short on a few of those easy ones.

5:00 p.m. Raftery and Lundquist are talking about pies. I think the crazy action from earlier today is starting to show through and take a toll on them.

5:02 p.m. Belmont is on a 12-5 run and are up by three, 23-20.

5:04 p.m. A big swing just took place in the BYU-Wofford game. James Anderson of BYU picked up a personal AND a technical foul, giving him three on the night.

I guess it would have been a big swing if Wofford had taken advantage. However, Noah Dahlman converts just one of the four free throws. And then Fredette comes back with a typical Jimmer 3: far out.

5:09 p.m. Some chaos at the end of the half leaves BYU up by four at the half, 33-29.

5:10 p.m. Now Wisconsin is on a run. The Badgers have hit 7-of-14 shots from beyond the arc and are now up by seven with less than 30 seconds remaining in the first half. Meanwhile, the Bruins, who also thirve on the three ball, have missed seven of nine,

Brian not happy about this.

5:15 p.m. The last shot for Belmont is a big failure, thanks to Wisconsin’s defense. 34-27 at the half.

5:17 p.m. I blame Belmont’s difficulties on Morehead State. Those kids already pulled off the 13-4 upset. You can’t get two of those in one tournament (I’ll have to look that up). It’s just not possible!!

5:21 p.m. Three games at the half (Wisconsin up seven, BYU up four and Connecticut up 17) and Florida winding down its annihilation of UCSB. It’s 67-33, Gators, with 8:30 left.

Exciting.

5:23 p.m. Since I’ve got a few minutes, let’s look ahead to the nightcaps.

No. 11 Missouri vs. No. 6 Cincinnati: I’m a fool for Missouri’s pressure. I think they can provide just enough offense to win.

No. 11 Gonzaga vs. No. 6 St. John’s: As I’ve said in recent posts on this site, this was the toughest game for me to make a decision. I went with Gonzaga because of its size and a small home-court advantage in Denver.

No. 10 Michigan State vs. No. 7 UCLA: Another shaky one for me, but I just can’t doubt Tom Izzo with a team that has so much tourney experience.

No. 12 Utah State vs. No. 5 Kansas State: Probably the most important game of the day for me since I have the Aggies advancing to the Sweet 16 (beating Belmont this weekend). It’s just time for Stew Morrill and the Aggies to do something in this thing. His current team is under-seeded this year.

5:38 p.m. Had to take a phone call …

5:39 p.m. Just when I was about to comment on how BYU’s defense was starting to clamp down, Wofford scored on three consecutive possessions and trails by only five, 45-40, with 14:09 left.

5:40 p.m. But back to Belmont-Wisconsin. Just by looking at the first half, I’m not sure how Belmont will be able to overcome the Badgers’ length on the perimeter.

WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THAT BEFORE I WENT ALL-IN ON THE ATLANTIC SUN CHAMP???

5:43 p.m. Five straight points by Wisconsin and it has a game-high lead of 10.

5:44 p.m. If you haven’t noticed — and maybe you haven’t because it’s a horrible game — the UConn Huskies are emasculating Bucknell. They lead, 62-29, with less than 12 minutes to play.

5:46 p.m. Speaking of a horrible game, UCSB is finally out of the tournament officially. It was basically done right after the tip. Florida won 79-51 in a game that wasn’t as close as the score makes it seem.

7-2.

5:49 p.m. It’s tasteless, but has to be said: This Belmont-Wisconsin game, depending upon which rotation is in the game, may be one of the whitest tournament games in recent memory.

5:52 p.m. A couple of 3s by Belmont bring it to within four with plenty of time left. But I’m not encouraged. Wisconsin just looks too big and too long to be down for an extended period of time..

She said.

5:56 p.m. Belmont plays great defense, forces Wisconsin into a tough attempts as the shot clock winds down, but one of two scenarios always occur: Either Wisconsin get the offensive rebound or Belmont commits a foul.

Just too big (she said, again).

5:59 p.m. With about seven minutes to play, there’s foul trouble all over the place in for BYU. Three Cougars have four fouls. Wofford is already in the double bonus. Noah Hartsock, James Anderson and Charles Abouo are the ones who are close to fouling out.

6:03 p.m. With 5:30 left, BYU leads, 59-51. Jimmer has a dull 25 points, but he’s just 2-of-8 from 3-point range.

6:06 p.m. Another couple of 3s and a couple more free throws and Wisconsin is ahead, 56-40. Again, Belmont plays good defense, but Wisconsin has made 11-of-21 long balls. Belmont is just 4-of-14. Nothing you can do about that.

But I am so pissed off right now.

6:09 p.m. In the only other game that is remotely watchable … well, it’s not watchable now. Wofford has made just one of its past 10 shots and trail, 65-53, with less than three minutes to play.

6:10 p.m. All in all, this has been a very lame third quarter of games. The average margin of victory for Florida, BYU, Wisconsin and Connecticut is going to be more than 20.

6:13 p.m. Hopefully this is the calm before a Thursday night storm. Because while I would like to see my bracket picks win easy, to win easy just isn’t allowed in March Madness.

6:14 p.m. UConn wins, 81-52. Another game of which I probably saw less than two minutes of game time.

8-2.

6:17 p.m. UCLA-Michigan State has started with these Bruins scoring the first seven points (Of course, I took Sparty). That game may be just two minutes old, but it’s a welcome addition to my TV screen. I couldn’t watch any more of quarter three’s claptrap.

6:20 p.m. I’ll be with this game for a while since Missouri-Cincinnati doesn’t start for another 25 minutes.

6:23 p.m. BYU claims a 74-66 win. Good for Wofford to pretty up the score.

9-2.

6:25 p.m. A solid 60 seconds of embarrassing streetball just took place between the Bruins and Spartans. Fancy passing leads to turnovers, which lead to quick, errant shots. Just awful.

6:27 p.m. By the way, Jimmer’s final line: 32 points on 10-of-25 shooting. Just 2-of-9 from deep, 10-of-12 from the line. Five rebounds and eight assists. Not bad.

That’s not sarcasm. For him, that’s simply OK.

6:30 p.m. A lot of people have to be disappointed in the Belmont Belmont tonight. They average 80 points per game. They haven’t scored less than 60 all season and finished with 58.

Deciding stat: Badgers shot 50 percent overall, 12-of-22 from deep. The Bruins shot 36 percent, a paltry 6-of-22 from deep.

6:33 p.m. It’s a final. Wisconsin, 72-58.

And I drop to a really tough 9-3.

Just four games left?! Where has the day gone?!?!

6:35 p.m. Best I can say about that third session of games is that it’s over. Thank you, Jesus.

6:36 p.m. Michigan State, another team I picked, looks awful so far. The Spartans’ offensive sets are completely unorganized. They are 3-of-12 from the field.

6:39 p.m. My two most important games will be the last two of the night as I have the lower-seeded Zags and Aggies pulling upsets over St. John’s and Kansas St., respectively.

But not only that; I have both going to (gulp) the Sweet 16. It’s going to be gut-check time for my bracket.

6:42 p.m. Not even a quarter through the game, I don’t have any faith in Michigan State to come back from just an eight-point margin. The offense is just non-existent.

I’ll be switching over to Mizzou-Cincy as soon as tip arrives. I’ll spend most of the night flipping back and forth between my two important games.

6:46 p.m. One of the Bearcats’ best defenders, Rashad Bishop, is being really bothered by a toe injury that the coaching staff is watching closely.

6:47 p.m. We’re underway with Missouri controlling the tip.

6:51 p.m. As expected, the Missouri Tigers are off and running and are up, 9-2, in the opening stages.

6:54 p.m. Michigan State down, 30-15, with six minutes left in the first half. Get them out of here. That’s laughable.

6:56 p.m. I’m turning into a curmudgeon. I’m still upset over Belmont.

(deep breaths)

6:58 p.m. Gonzaga not off to a great start either. St. John’s has hit a couple of 3s and is up 8-2.

6:59 p.m. Verne Lundquist is way too excited for the first three minutes of this game. He almost blew out a lung when Steven Gray hit a 3 for the Zags. He couldn’t handle the excitment.

It made the score 8-5.

7:03 p.m. Although, I can’t blame Verne too much. This has been a very attractive game to watch. It’s 14-12, St. John’s at the first TV timeout. The Zags have already committed four team fouls.

7:06 p.m. And to finish off the night, Kansas State-Utah State … HERE WE GO!

7:08 p.m. Man, I thought DirecTV would be enough; I really need three or four televisions running right now. I don’t want to miss any of the three games that started in the past 25 minutes.

7:11 p.m. Make a decision, make a decision, make a decision!

OK, I’m going to watch Kansas State and Utah State first. With Gonzaga up by eight at the moment, I’ll defer some of my attention away from that one.

7:13 p.m. This one is taking a little while to develop. Six minutes in and only 11 total points have been scored.

7:18 p.m. Jacob Pullen scores his first points at the line. He has missed his first two shots, and as he went to the bench, you could see he is very winded. Pullen missed practice yesterday reportedly because of the flu. Without him at 100 percent, the going gets really tough for KSU against this experienced, well-rounded USU group.

7:21 p.m. Gonzaga’s size is paying off 10 minutes into this game versus St. John’s. The Zags have eight rebounds to the Jo hnnies’ two. Gonzaga has 18 front-court points.

7:24 p.m. With everything kind of at a standstill, let me say this: I really wish the best for you, Michigan St. fans. I know you’ve experienced a lot of heartache this year, but you don’t deserve to see your veteran squad quit as it has against UCLA in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

7:28 p.m. I can’t get a feel for this Kansas St.-Utah State game yet. Lots of good defenses, lots of missed shots. It’s just all over the place.

7:32 p.m. Tai Wesley, Utah State’s best post player, has two fouls and is on the bench. So KSU is starting to dominate  on the glass. Kansas State is already in the one-and-one bonus with eight minutes left.

7:35 p.m. Utah State hasn’t scored in more than three minutes.

7:35 p.m. And so much for Cincinnati having a hard time scoring against Missouri’s press. The Bearcats are on their way to putting up 40 in the first half.

7:37 p.m. Gonzaga is now up by 13 with about three minutes to play in the first half. Offensively, St. John’s can’t see over the tops of the trees.

7:38 p.m. The Aggies are in danger of seeing their game get away from them. They are down by nine with 5:36 left to play in the first half. Without its best player, Utah State just needs to hold on at this point and hopefully it isn’t too weathered at the half.

7:41 p.m. Oh, ouch. Lesley Visser, when did you aspire to be the Goldie Hawn of sideline reporters? Honey, you need to get a refund for a few of those jobs.

7:43 p.m. And Tai Wesley, who entered the game just a few minutes ago, has picked up his third foul. Kansas St. is now up by 11. This is going to get ugly fast.

7:44 p.m. Nice job by truTV to spotlight the Utah State superfan, Wild Bill, just as he eyes the ass of the hot mom walking past him. Smooth operator.

7:49 p.m. Gonzaga up by 11 at the half (good). Cincinnati up by 11 at the half (bad).

UCLA up by 12 with 14 minutes left (bad, but at least Michigan St. is showing a small amount of desire to win). Kansas State up by 12 (just horrible).

7:53 p.m. You know it’s not good when cutting the deficit to nine is a reason to get excited for Utah State.

Oh, and I guess that superfan is now wearing a dress or something. If he can blind Pullen, the Aggies may have a shot.

7:55 p.m. Kansas State makes a couple of free throws just before the half ends, putting it up 11 at the half. There’s something about team’s being up 11 at the end of 20 minutes tonight.

7:57 p.m. It’s been a while, but …

ALL FOUR GAMES ARE ON BREAK!!! SHOT!!!

7:58 p.m. These late collapses always happen to me in my bracket. I start off well, but the late games always kill. It seemingly happens every year. I’ll have to remember that for my 2012 tourney prep.

8:00 p.m. I haven’t watched much of the Mizzou-Cincy game, so this is alarming: Missouri is shooting 29 percent. And the Tigers are down by 15.

8:01 p.m. It’s clear that we all got very spoiled after the first four games today. The second session was of high quality, too. But these final eight Thursday games are sports Nyquil.

8:05 p.m. Earlier tonight, I said the average margin of victory from the third session of games would be more than 20.

I was dead wrong. It was 19.75.

8:06 p.m. I refuse to watch any more of the “effort” from Michigan State or Missouri get dwarfed by Cincinnati. I guess I’ll watch the St. John’s-Gonzaga game …?

8:09 p.m. To me, St. John’s has the best chance of any of these teams to come back from being down double digits. The Red Storm started the second half with a traditional 3-point play, but the Bulldogs counter with two long hits. Now it’s a 14-point game. Sheeeesh!

8:13 p.m. So … yeah. Um … tomorrow.

Yeah, tomorrow.

8:15 p.m. Uh-oh! Michigan State is back within 10!!! That’s big news tonight!

8:16 p.m. Just to get on the verge of single digits, Sparty is on a 15-2 run. Hilarious.

8:17 p.m. Now it’s down to eight. But with just four minutes left, that offense is not going to have enough time to get it done.

8:20 p.m. Back to the Utah State game, the Aggies are within seven. Finally, some fire!

8:22 p.m. This feels like a whole lot of false hope. Missouri is down by eight. Utah State has cut it to five. But you have to figure this is just a rush of adrenaline, right? I think we know which are the better teams. I expect those scores to go back up in a few minutes.

But that doesn’t mean I won’t pull hard for Utah State.

ONE TIME, BABY! ONE TIME!

8:27. p.m. Yep. Just like that, Jacob Pullen and Co. bring it back up to an 11-point lead with 15:07 left.

8:30 p.m. And all games are back up to double-digit separations again.

I want to be more engaging, but these games are making it really tough. I don’t know what to talk about. Someone show Lesley Visser’s face again.

8:34 p.m. St. John’s now behind by 17 with 8:20 to play. Even though I picked Gonzaga, I don’t think anyone saw a drubbing like that on the way.

8:36 p.m. I mean, the loss of D.J. Kennedy hurts, but one player missing doesn’t account for a -22 rebounding advantage. Plus, Gonzaga is 9-of-13 beyond the arc.

8:40 p.m. NEWS FLASH! MICHIGAN STATE ISN’T QUITE DEAD YET.

The Spartans, with the help of the 3-ball, have cut a 23-point lead to four with 40 seconds left. Unfortunately, Kalin Lucas missed a free throw that would have brought it to three. Of course, that was after UCLA missed a pair of free throws of its own.

8:44 p.m. Some more missed free throws by UCLA gave Michigan State the opportunity to cut it to one with a 3. Sparty hit, but only 4.4 seconds remain now.

MSU has no timeouts left. It has to foul.

8:55 p.m. It’s been a long day for my computer; it’s starting to check out.

Anyway, Michigan State lost by two, 78-76. Lucas was called for traveling in the very last moments, but it didn’t matter; his prayer went wide right.

9-4.

8:59 p.m. Around the same time, Cincinnati ended Missouri’s misery, 78-76.

9-5.

9:01 p.m. Gonzaga is a minute away from advancing over St. John’s.

But like a horror-movie villain who just won’t die, Utah State is coming back for one last scare. The Aggies have the ball and trail by six, 56-50.

Let’s deal with this first and then I will deal with what I wanted to talk about in the UCLA/Michigan State game.

9:06 p.m. Well, Utah State really knows how to kill its own momentum. A couple seconds after receiving the ball, they travel.

9:10 p.m. Brockeith Pane just hit a 3 for the Aggies, but it’s still a seven-point game with 60 seconds left.

In other words, it’s pretty much over.

9:16 p.m. The stats aren’t too one-sided, but you don’t need to look at stats for this one. Yes, Kansas State made its free throws and got some very valuable offensive rebounds, but this game completely turned when Tai Wesley picked up two quick fouls within a minute during the middle of the first half. He had to sit down, the Wildcats went on a 13-2 run and were never really threatened after that. Yeah, Utah State tried to make a couple of big pushes, but it never got within five points after that time.

9:20 p.m. Now, the stats DO tell the entire story in the St. John’s-Gonzaga game. That is some ridiculous domination.

10-5.

9:24 p.m. The first Thursday of the NCAA Tournament is officially over. Kansas State over Utah State, 73-68.

10-6. That’s not good. I lost two Sweet-16 teams.

9:29 p.m. The only “good” game was actually one of the day’s worst until the final couple of minutes. It took a nice choke job by the UCLA Bruins — they turned the ball over six times in about four minutes — along with some very late 3-pointers, but with 49 seconds left and Michigan down by only four, you had to think there might be some magic in there.

9:31 p.m. Sparty got it down to one point very, very late, but really, let’s be honest: This was a horrible game. Some fluky closing minutes does not make it memorable. It’s just one of those games where there are no winners.

9:36 p.m. As exhilarating this tournament was in the daytime, it was forgettable, no exceptions, at night. Some impressive performances (Gonzaga, Connecticut), but if you didn’t have a television around at your St. Patty’s party tonight, don’t worry; you missed nothing of note.

9:39 p.m. So let’s look to tomorrow where … I don’t see a ton of games I am really excited to watch. I think Oakland has a shot against Texas, but that’s digging deep. I really want to see the Xavier-Marquette game. But past that, there’s nothing that makes my mouth water much.

But, we’ll see. All I can ask is that the suspense contained in these games is more consistent. At the very least, I hope the early teams don’t hog all the excitement. If one half of the day has to leave a lot to be desired, at least leave us on a high note at night and not desiring to be transported 10 hours into the past.

Overall, however, it’s still March Madness. It’s never that bad.

9:47 p.m. As far as this blog goes, I think I’m going to do this exact same thing tomorrow. I actually had more fun doing this than I thought I would. I thought doing this would distract me from the actual games; that was not the case.

If my computer hadn’t imploded a couple of times, it would have been better. So I’ll see if I can do something about that. But otherwise, I didn’t think it was a complete waste.

Anyway, I’m pretty much done right now. I need to be carried off the court. It wasn’t a great day for my bracket, and I pretty tired after today mixed with my splendid three hours of sleep from last night.

9:53 a.m. I thank anyone who checked out this blog today. Hopefully you didn’t have Louisville going to the Final Four, but even if you did, stop by tomorrow for more random thoughts on another 12 hours of college basketball. Night, kids!

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  1. Lorenzo Charles
    March 17, 2011 at 9:58 am

    It’s mudness!

  2. Lorenzo Charles
    March 17, 2011 at 10:15 am

    Halftime…Clemson takes this game, don’t think that FG 3pt and FT% differential will hold up for WVU in the second half.

  3. Lorenzo Charles
    March 17, 2011 at 10:18 am

    One advantage WVU might have is if they pound the glass.

    • March 17, 2011 at 10:19 am

      That should be right, but Clemson is right there with them.

      • March 17, 2011 at 10:19 am

        On the glass, I mean.

  4. Lorenzo Charles
    March 17, 2011 at 10:35 am

    Butler has to hope their FG percentages progress to the mean because I don’t see them continuing to out rebound ODU on the offensive glass.

    • March 17, 2011 at 10:39 am

      Seriously.

    • Lorenzo Charles
      March 17, 2011 at 11:38 am

      The above comment will self detonate in t-minus 20 seconds.

      • March 17, 2011 at 11:40 am

        Didn’t see it, so no worries.

  5. Lorenzo Charles
    March 17, 2011 at 10:57 am

    Well WVU does exactly that with a ton of OFF rebs this half.

  6. Lorenzo Charles
    March 17, 2011 at 11:05 am

    Much like their namesakes, Old Dominion and Butler are setting back basketball.

    • March 17, 2011 at 11:07 am

      I think it’s a very entertaining game.

      • Lorenzo Charles
        March 17, 2011 at 11:09 am

        Under NBA rules yes… not under NCAA rules where any bit of contact in the low post is a foul.

      • March 17, 2011 at 11:11 am

        But, I mean, c’mon. Really?

        Really?

        C’mon.

        Really???

  7. Lorenzo Charles
    March 17, 2011 at 11:25 am

    It’s only a matter of time before Lundquist bursts out a healthy smokers laugh.

    • March 17, 2011 at 11:27 am

      I haven’t seen much of that game yet, but I know what you mean.

      Uh-HAHAHAHAHAHA.

  8. Lorenzo Charles
    March 17, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    A drink of something hard would come in handy right now.

    • March 17, 2011 at 12:11 pm

      I might have to utilize my Captain soon.

  9. Lorenzo Charles
    March 17, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    ONIONS!

  10. Lorenzo Charles
    March 17, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    If Princeton wins, I’m running around outside looking for someone to hug like Valvano.

    • March 17, 2011 at 1:42 pm

      Don’t tell me you picked them.

      • Lorenzo Charles
        March 17, 2011 at 1:47 pm

        Niu, but it would frostily.

  11. Lorenzo Charles
    March 17, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    This is a life experience.

  12. Lorenzo Charles
    March 17, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    In other news… a plume of radiation is set to reach Los Angeles tomorrow. Evn though it is expected to be harmless…just great.

    • March 17, 2011 at 4:18 pm

      A little radiation never hurt anybody.

  13. Lorenzo Charles
    March 17, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    I think there should be some Jackpot Bonus that goes to a commentary crew that has all of the games in their region decided by one possession. Raftery and Eagle have a shot.

    • March 17, 2011 at 4:33 pm

      Not to be a bitch, but Raftery is working with Lundquist.
      Eagle is working with Spanarkel

      • Lorenzo Charles
        March 17, 2011 at 4:48 pm

        OK then I meant Lundquist and Raftery… bitch.

      • March 17, 2011 at 4:55 pm

        What game you watching, Lorenzo?

  14. Lorenzo Charles
    March 17, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    BYU Wofford

  15. Lorenzo Charles
    March 17, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    It’s funny that UCSB was basically done in the first minute of their game today.

  16. Lorenzo Charles
    March 17, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    These set of games suck.

    • March 17, 2011 at 5:52 pm

      You always get one per day that doesn’t match the intensity of the rest of the tournament.

  17. Lorenzo Charles
    March 17, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    Verne Lundquist is definitely losing it. Just called a corner three pointer that went in… “OFF THE GLASS”

    • March 17, 2011 at 7:06 pm

      He is just way, way, way, way, way, too excited for this.

  18. Lorenzo Charles
    March 17, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    How does Utah State consistently choke in the first half of tournament games? It’s a really bad joke at this point.

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