The NCAA Tournament 11-1

Because these are long, I’m going to just link to these entries in an effort to keep my front page from getting too cluttered.

You’ll thank me when you realize that eight hours of live-blogging gets pretty tedious to look at.

And with that, on to the games!

11:00 – I’m ready. I’m waiting. Games start, apparently, in half an hour. And so, for the next few minutes, I’m going to be forced to watch the mid-day local news. It’s not much, I tell you – in fact, it’s quite bad.

If you want an idea about what our news consisted of today, here it is: Sexual Assault, Porn Sites Using .xxx instead of .com, Three Mentions of THE NCAA Tournament (coming up next!)


I’m a little jittery – Caribou Coffee opened today in our town, and so I’ve been drinking coffee since 7. This local news is quite effectively giving me the shakes, though it could be the coffee.

Brian Karstens doesn’t look any older with glasses on. Just so you know.

11:04 – I never knew that UPN was a sister station of KELO – the 6 and 10 o’clock news will be featured there, giving UPN it’s first credible programming since… well… ever.

11:08 – I recognize only one of these three studio personalities: Greg Gumble. They are, however, all wearing nearly identical black suits with white pinstripes, the only difference being the width of their pinstripes. I wonder if this was a pre-conceived idea. Or, this could have been spite. I see the three of them having a conference call conversation about their suits, ending in an argument: “I think I’ll wear my black pinstripe suit,” quickly turns into “Greg, you look fat in pinstripes and you should probably just wear a clown outfit. Maybe you should ask your brother for a little personality, and (additionally) a little fashion sense.”

11:17 – Seton Hall vs. Wichita State (My pick: Wichita State). Why Wichita State? No idea – I know nearly nothing about college basketball, as you will find throughout my live blog. The majority of my tournament picks have little to do with knowledge and more to do with whichever sports pundit made the more convincing argument. I’m not college basketball guru, so I pick on “feel” more than “skill.”

11:21 – We’ve switched to UW-Milwaukee vs. Oklahoma (Oklahoma). I have Oklahoma losing to Florida in the second round. My first great observation: the stands in this Jacksonville arena are empty. I mean, there are huge open spots. This could be Dakota Wizards vs. Albany Platoons for all I know.

11:28 – Oklahoma is starting off horribly: incredibly sloppy, incredibly bad shooting – I’m already starting to doubt my picks. Maybe the pundits were right; UW is a darling sweetheart underdog.

This also presents the second time I’ve seen the Applebee’s “Guy drinks the Kung Pow Chicken sauce shot” commercial. I already hate it.

11:45 – My coffee has left my system. Oklahoma tied the game, looked great, and now is slacking again. Meanwhile, Wichita State is up by 13, and I’m feeling rather smart about that pick.

Pacific vs. Boston College (Boston College) has also just started, with Boston College looking pretty impressive (according to Greg Gumble). And with that, we’re back to OK/UW-M, with Oklahoma looking good again. Make up your mind, dudes.

11:58 – Watching this Oklahoma team is maddening – every fast break seems to be squashed by a turnover or foul. Why can’t I watch the Boston College/Pacific game? Just because Wisconsin is a central state? Bah! I want to feel like I know something about the Boston College team that I picked to go to the Final Four. Bah!

12:01 – Almost as if they heard me complaining, Oklahoma had another basket negated by a traveling violation. Is it too late for me to change my pick?

12:03 – I wish we had a Sonic, so I could have to tater tots.

12:12 – Just a thought on today and tomorrow. I’m not sure that there is a better day for a sports fan than the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Think about it. You’ve got basketball for nearly ten hours a day. Because of tournament bracket pools, nearly everyone who cares has a vested interest in the outcome of every game. Even if a pool participant has no idea about the two teams involved in a game, they at least get to root for the team they picked.

On top of this, the fact that it happens on a Thursday and Friday serves as either an excuse to take two days off or an added bonus (as in my case) of already having the two days open. It’s as close to a holiday as you can get in sports, and it’s the best playoff method overall.

There are stories, there are buzzer beaters, and there are Cinderella stories. There are 64 teams that, regardless of their true talent, have a shot at winning the tournament. For some it’s just an honor to be there. For others, it’s a disappointment if they don’t make the Final Four.

Regardless, there’s nothing better.

Oh, and Oklahoma has come back – they trail by only two at halftime. See? There’s a frustrating stress involved as well.

12:17 – We’re going to Boston College/Pacific, where Pacific has tied the game at 28. This would bust a lot of brackets if Pacific could hang on and keep this pace up. I hope not, because I want to sound incredibly smart when I tell people that I picked BC. Of course, as I said before, I’m practically making up any reasons I have.

12:25 – Charles Barkley will be on The Late Show tonight. I wonder if he’ll bad mouth Ron Artest like he did for Artest’s last two years in Indiana.

Not that I have any problem with that anymore. I’m just saying.

12:32 – Cox Arena in San Diego Arena has been evacuated because of a suspicious package that was found unattended in the building. They showed a shot of the building, empty, and one thing came to mind.

Why do they have the camera on in an empty building? Was that something that the network asked for before the camera operator left? “Hey, Hal, before you evacuate, could you leave the camera on and point it at the empty arena floor?” What is the point of that aside from being able to show the “empty arena” shot? Is that something that they learn in trade school?

The game is supposed to start at 2-something (1-something, CST) so we’ll see if they can get the building checked out on time and the people back in. Regardless, this is either a stupid prank or an over protective security force. I’d go for the “stupid prank” route.

12:38 – We’re back from half-time, and we’ve got two close games and one blowout. Not bad, actually. I’m pretty happy with the results so far, especially since I’ve embraced Oklahoma again. Don’t worry, I’ll hate them again soon. It’s guaranteed.

I’m hungry – I’ll find something to eat.

12:56 – And just like that, I hate Oklahoma again. A non-call for interference was the best thing to happen over a stretch that included two offensive fouls and a horrible missed pass. A tie game has turned into nine-point lead for UW-Mil.

My pizza’s done. Just in time for me to quit on one of my picks.

This was lovingly handwritten on March 16th, 2006