Saturday, March 19, 2005

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

I hate to say it, but the first day and a half of the NCAA Tournament was boring. To even read that hurts me, because there is no one who loves the NCAA tourney more than I do. Facts are facts, however, and it was pretty boring. No real close games, no real buzzer-beaters, just mundane results (apart from Wisconsin-Milwaukee beating the crap out of Bama, and UAB embarrassing LSU).

Before I continue, I want to congratulate Bruce Pearl and his UWM squad--I'm not going to tell you that him coming on the show on Tuesday had anything to do with his team upsetting Alabama; wait, actually, I am. Clearly, the Memphis Morning Express has the mojo to help get a coach over the hump. If UWM wins later today and makes it to the Sweet 16, and they might, the mojo will be confirmed as indisputable.

Back to the topic at hand--the first 3/4 of the first round was disappointing. But the last 8 games--gold, baby, gold! Vermont knocked Syracuse into oblivion with a big performance by Taylor Coppenrath. In addition, did you see the 3 pointer that T.J. Sorrentine hit in OT? He hit it from the freakin' halfcourt logo! Unbelievable. As that game is going on, Louisiana-Lafayette was giving Louisville all they could handle. Lafayette got screwed on a couple of calls down the stretch, the biggest one being a phantom foul on Francisco Garcia as he was shooting a 3. It changed the entire momentum of the game. Delaware State was even hanging with Duke for a little while! If Delaware State had won, I would have never stopped laughing. Ever. For any reason. Sadly, Duke just scraped by.

The biggest upset was yet to come, though. Bucknell beat Kansas. What? Bucknell beat Kansas. I had to repeat it myself. The 14th-seeded Bison, despite playing in a conference that had never before won a tournament game, somehow beat a hugely talented Kansas team, led by Wayne Simien and Aaron Miles. THAT is March Madness. One shining moment right there.

It was an amazing night. A night, by the way, that would have been even better if I could have actually seen the upsets happen. Sadly, because CBS has still not mastered the art of switching to the best possible game, I watched Louisiana-Lafayette and Louisville forever, even when it was clearly over, while Vermont and Syracuse were going down to the wire. Thanks, CBS. I had to watch the highlights of Vermont's overtime with Syracuse, because I DID NOT SEE ANY OF IT. I had to watch the stupid scoreboard at the top of the screen change throughout OT. I saw no live action. That's an embarrassment. It was almost as bad for game 2, as I saw almost every second of Mississippi State's beating of Syracuse while Bucknell and Kansas were locked in a 1 point game for most of the second half. All I saw of that incredible upset--the last minute. GET IT TOGETHER. This is when it is nice to have the streaming video package and/or the DirecTV March Madness package. Since I was at the Forum for most of the night, I didn't have access to my computer until Bucknell/Kansas. My plea is for everyone who is just watching CBS--show us the best possible game. If MSU/SYR is a 20 point game with 3 minutes left, switch over!

As I mentioned, I was at the Forum last night for another big Grizzlies victory, this time over Minnesota. Minnesota's done. They are terrible. I feel bad for Kevin Garnett, because he clearly wants to win more than everyone else combined on his team. He's stuck. Nice to see Jason aznd Bonzi back for the Grizz last night, too--they hit big shots with no problem whatsoever. That's not easy--to just come right back and hit big shots without having played for several games? This team prepares as well as any team in the league, thanks to a tremendous coaching staff and scouting department. Tomorrow will be cool--a nationally-televised Grizzlies game? From the Forum? I'm in. The Grizzlies have a chance to win the season series against the Suns--how incredible would that be? It's hard to keep thinking of appropriate superaltives for this group.

Oh crap, Texas Tech just beat Gonzaga to get into the Sweet 16. So there's another wrong choice. My bracket is screwed--how's yours?

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