LIVE BLOG: NCAA Tournament First Round

5:50 — Wait, the Gaels have five Australians and Mickey McConnell isn’t one of them? I thought he was the head Aussie.

5:37 — Not much to talk about. Saint Mary’s is running a clinic on offense, and Richmond can’t find the bucket (figuratively). Looks like I won’t get to 6-0.

5:16 — Saint Mary’s is force-feeding a dominant Omar Samhan inside on offense, and doubling on Kevin Anderson on defense, leaving Kevin Smith wide open (for good reason if you’ve seen Smith shoot). Spiders can’t settle.

5:01 — I’m going right ahead and anointing Richmond-Saint Mary’s the best uniform matchup of the first round. Two clean, classic looks.

4:54 — “Dunn! And that may be the operative word for Sam Houston State.” Dick Enberg is still one of the best.

4:50 — I am upset about everyone who bandwagoned on Murray in the last week. Smart guys like me were on that bandwagon before the Ohio Valley Tournament.

4:48 — P.S. I’m now 4-0 including two upset picks. John is 1-3. Plus, if we used my scoring system (two points for the first round, three for an upset), I’m beating him 10-2.

4:45 — BUZZER BEATER!!! Murray State’s Danero Thomas hits a midrange jumper with a guy on him to win it. That’s why you have a balanced offense. This Tournament is awesome.

4:41 — Pet peeve: Why do teams call timeouts between two free throws? Doesn’t whether Beal makes this second shot to give Vandy the lead dramatically alter Murray State’s offensive strategy? Why not wait to see what he does, and then call timeout?

4:39 — Vandy ball, down one, 22 seconds. Beal should drive and look for Jenkins on the perimeter or Ogilvy on the baseline. With Tony Easley fouled out, A.J. and his ‘stache will be tough to stop inside.

4:38 — What better preserves the integrity of a game: letting two seconds run off the clock with a minute left or giving both teams a free timeout and forcing Murray State to inbound against a set defense?

4:28 — Jenkins and Jenkins are going back and forth–one for Vandy, one for M-State. I forget which one’s name is B.J. The Racers are up two at the under-4 timeout. Meanwhile, K-State is up big on North Texas, Richmond and Saint Mary’s are in a tight first half, and Sam Houston State has regained the lead over Baylor by one with 12 to play. I didn’t think it was possible, but I might feel even better about Duke’s draw now than I did this morning.

4:23 — Isaiah Miles has led the Racers this afternoon, relegating Isaiah Canaan to the status of…Deutero-Isaiah. It’s an exegesis joke!

4:17 — Is Repo Men serious or ironic? It looks like it’s trying to be serious, but Jude Law is the lead…

4:14 — Someone has to tell Vandy’s managers at the end of the bench to calm it down a little. Not every bucket deserves a “Leap off the bench, fist pump” reaction.

4:10 — Spero Dedes really wants us to know that Isaiah Canaan is a freshman. Come on, good basketball fans have known about Canaan ever since Storming the Floor pointed out how cool his name is.

4:05 — I like how Domino’s is really sticking it to Papa John’s in these commercials. Because before then, I thought, “Why would anyone NOT order Papa John’s?”

4:00 — Bob Wenzel on Vandy: “They have a severe lack of quickness compared to their opponent at every position.”

3:59 — How much fun is it to watch an underdog capably push pace? Murray State and Vanderbilt are very entertaining right now.

3:45 — Sam Houston State goes into the half with a one-point lead on Baylor behind a triangle-and-two defense that has limited the Bears’ guards (take note, Coach K!). Murray State still leads early in the second half, and North Texas and K-State are tied in the early going. I’m telling you, one of these three favorites is going to lose (and it’s going to be Vanderbilt).

3:37 — Correction: John is 1-2. I forgot he was dumb enough to pick Florida.

3:33 — As a reminder, the Mean Green are not the soccer team from The Big Green. Common mistake.

3:25 — By the way, I’m 3-0; I don’t think I’ve ever been 3-0. John is 2-1.

3:24 — We pick up right away with the second window, where Murray State is up on Vanderbilt (as predicted) just before the half and Sam Houston State sticking with Baylor through 12 minutes. The Southland has been getting better over the last few years, and it’s only a matter of time before it pulls out a first-round win.

3:20 — Well, I didn’t expect that overtime to play out that excitingly. Bobby Mo hung with the ‘Cats, but the Colonials ended up three points short. We’ve already had three sterling games in a great omen for the rest of the Tourney.

3:06 — Robert Morris’ bench started a “De-fense” chant last possession, which was cuter before Scottie Reynolds beat the shot clock with a three–just his second field goal of the game. Reynolds does have 18 points, however, despite 2-for-15 shooting.

3:00 — BYU closes out Florida in the second overtime behind 37 from Fredette. Nova has Robert Morris on the ropes, having scored the first six of overtime.

2:53 — Villanova runs a beautiful (if predictable) backscreen toward the basket with 0.9 left, but Dallas Green recovered in time for the block to send this game to overtime. Remember how I said that the game would be over once Villanova grabbed the lead? Well, the Wildcats still haven’t. Scottie Reynolds missed a free throw that would have given them the lead, and RMU was able to stay ahead or tied all second half. The opening tip of OT is important.

2:42 — We’re going to double OT in Oklahoma City, as Michael Loyd, Jr. scored all six of BYU’s points in the extra session. And Nova has clawed its way back into it against RMU by getting to the foul line with the help of some dubious calls.

2:27 — By the way, early on it’s Tim 1, John 0. My upset pick of the Monarchs comes through.

2:26 — Taylor King has been a part of some good 2-15 games, no?

2:23 — Notre Dame gets to 50 at the buzzer! But Old Dominion had 51. Right as Harangody’s meaningless last bucket went through the net (after a Carlton Scott three rattled out), Fredette’s drive tied the game in Oklahoma City. Florida has a chance for the last shot, and you have to expect it to be Boynton looking for Chandler Parsons–who already has two buzzer-beaters this season.

2:17 — While I’ve been focusing on the other two games, Florida has grabbed the lead against BYU. What an opening window.

2:13 — If I made a list of players in this Tournament who I thought were from Finland, Gerald Lee might be last on that list.

2:11 — Robert Morris has pushed its lead back out to seven with just over 10 minutes to go. I’m as surprised as anyone that the Colonials have stayed in front here in the second half.

2:07 — Kenny Boynton has shot Florida back into it against BYU, as his latest three was greeted by a “Kaboom!” from Kevin Harlan. Meanwhile, the Irish and Monarchs are in a race to 50, and I’m wondering if this “Ivan Brothers” Capital One commercials are insensitive to the Russians who suffered during the reign of Ivan IV.

2:00 — BYU pushed its lead out to 13 before the Gators have pulled it back to eight. Nova is closing in on RMU but has yet to catch the Colonials. That game probably ends once the Wildcats grab the lead. ND and ODU looks like it will come down to the end. Right now, the Irish are playing through Ben Hansbrough while the Monarchs have gotten a big lift from Frank Hassell.

1:46 — Hearing Alex Tyus has only 14 assists this season reminds me how it took Yinka Dare like three years to record an assist in the NBA.

1:42 — It’s zone versus zone in the second half between Old Dominion and Notre Dame, as the Monarchs have caught the Irish. It’ll be interesting to see how well ND’s slow-down offense works against a team perfectly content to play at that pace.

1:37 — Strong representation for my high school with Florida sixth man Dan Werner, Notre Dame walk-on Tim Andree, and Robery Morris associate head coach Andy Toole. Andree was actually the sixth man on a team I started on. Sure, it was when I was in sixth grade, but still…

1:35 — Note to West Region defenses: When Fredette goes left, he’s gonna go with the right-handed scoop.

1:27 — Robert Morris takes a six-point lead into the break. Truth be told, the Colonials haven’t really done anything remarkable this half. Nova just isn’t making shots, and it’s this close only because RMU is turning the ball over and sending the ‘Cats to the foul line.

1:24 — Is it just me or are more players than ever wearing sleeved shirts under their jerseys this season?

1:11 — I wonder if John still thinks we’re underrating Villanova, which trails RMU by seven. I expect the ‘Cats to come back–they’ve had first-round scares from No. 16 Monmouth in ’06 and a 14 in American last year–but this doesn’t look like a team built for a long run right now.

1:01 — Robert Morris has 10 turnovers but has only allowed 11 points, and the Colonials lead Villanova, 17-11. Raft points out that RMU is having trouble passing out of double teams; that’s because nobody on Robert Morris was good enough in high school to demand a double team.

12:56 — Fredette looks to be trying to do too much for the Cougars, who have taken the lead behind a personal 8-0 run by Jimmer’s backup, Michael Loyd, Jr.

12:50 — Eight minutes into the game, Robert Morris has three times as many three-pointers as Villanova has rebounds (3 to 1). If this trend continues, the Wildcats could be in trouble.

12:45 — “You gotta watch Abraham during the Lenten season!” Do I have to tell you which announcer busted that one out?

12:41 — An idea that’s almost as bad as Tourney expansion? The cookie-cutter paint jobs the NCAA forces on all its courts. No site is distinguished now. Worse yet, the color scheme (black and some type of cerulean, maybe?) leaves a bit to be desired. And who only paints the semi-circle of the foul line? This makes no sense.

12:35 — Bobby Mo has a player named Dallas Green? I don’t want to be in that locker room after their inevitable loss.

12:32 — We get the early switch to Villanova and Robert Morris in Providence where the biggest question has to be how Bill Raftery managed to get to work today after celebrating St. Patrick’s Day last night. Guy’s a pro.

12:22 — We’re coming to you live from my recliner on what is the best day of the year ever since I deducted that Santa Claus wasn’t real. We’re starting with BYU and Florida here in the northeast, where everyone’s wondering if Billy Donovan has what it takes to extend the Gators’ Tourney winning streak to 13. John and I both have BYU in this contest.

2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Josh on March 18, 2010 at 12:22 PM

    I like the Dallas Green reference.


  2. […] Aught Lang Syne « LIVE BLOG: NCAA Tournament First Round […]


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