Thursday, March 17, 2005

Tournament Journal - 3/17/2005 (Afternoon Games)

Welcome to my first ever live blog. I am live from an undisclosed sports bar in Austin, Texas. I will be providing updates as the games go, sort of like one of Bill Simmons diaries. I will try to update often.


10:35 AM Finally set up at the sports bar and everything.

10:45 I convinced the bartender to switch the TV closest to me to CBS now and off the hearings on ESPN. I know, I know, it's on steroids, but given the choice in between a congressional hearing and The Price is Right, I'd rather watch The Price is Right.

11:00 Local News. Scott Peterson's on death row. Some piece about Martha Stewart. It's a slow news day, which is surprising given that the Legislature is in session and SXSW is in town.

11:05 Weather: Nothing but sunshine in Austin, Oh, yeah.

11:10 CBS's coverage starts. Big news: Syracuse's Billy Edlein didn't make the trip to the first round games because of academic reasons. I had Syracuse as an Elite 8 Team. Darn.

Game on

11:20 AM Eastern Kentucky-Kentucky tips off, the Madness is underway! 30 minutes until KEYE switches to Niagra-Oklahoma.

11:23 Jay Bilas is on loan from ESPN for this game. Thank God there are no ACC teams playing.

11:32 EKU just took the lead. The Colonels are surprisingly game. They haven't let Kentucky pull away

11:33 And as soon as I say that, Kentucky takes the lead back.

11:35 10 minutes until KEYE switches to Niagra-Oklahoma.

11:38 TV time out. Degree really needs to get rid of these "Inaction heroes" commercials. They weren't funny at the Super Bowl, and they aren't now.

11:44 Kentucky has gotten out to a 22-13 lead with 9:36 in the first.


11:45 We're underway. Niagra almost draws first blood on an easy layup, but Oklahoma scores with a layup of their own.

11:49 (17:30 left in the half) Niagra just took the lead at 5-4. All the burnt orange-clad people in the bar are high-fiving.

11:52 (15:45 1st Half) Niagra is out to an 11-8 lead. Looked like they were going to go on a huge run for a while, but they kept turning the ball over. Kids, hang on to the basketball.

11:53 TV Time out. Mazda needs to get rid of "Zoom-Zoom". Now.

11:56 Tied at 11 when Niagra hits a 3 to lead 14-11. Then OU ties it with a 3

11:58 Sonny Gilbert's layup gives OU the lead. 16-14

12:00 PM Timeout. I love the Coke commercial where the old guy schools the young guy in one-on-one while carrying groceries.

12:05 Oklahoma has jumped out to a 24-18 lead. The Horns fans have shut up.

12:08 (7:51 1st half) OU just powered it inside to Bookout. TV Timeout. Niagra has 7 turnovers at this point

12:11 Live Look-in: Wisconsin Milwaukee is leading Alabama 42-32 with 1:22 to go.

12:13 (5:40) Sooners extend the lead to 32-22, first double digit lead

12:15 (5:00) Dan Bonner: "Niagra has to get something going right now." Duh.

12:16 Niagra has imported a local high school band to be their basketball band for the tournament. The criteria: Their school's colors matched Niagra's. Didn't have to sound great, they just had to be purple.

12:18 TV Timeout. The Honda Element is an ugly car. And the Degree commercials are still stupid. And Wisconsin-Milwaukee is leading at the half.

12:21 (2:14) Niagra manages to hang on to the ball long enough to make a 9-0 run and get it back to 35-31

12:23 Stat Graphic: 4 Coaches in the Austin Regional have won national titles.Surprisingly, Dan Bonner manages to name all of them.

12:26 (0:37.1) Timeout. OU 37, Niagra 34. Pedro Serrano from Major League is still pitching for Allstate.

12:29 (0:00.8) Travelling, OU. Niagra can't get a long shot off. Halftime score: OU 37, Niagra 34

12:33 Live Look-in: Eastern Kentucky is now losing 42-34 to UK. EKU can't hang on to the ball.

12:35 Live Look-in: Wisconsin-Milwaukee now leads 45-37, but Alabama looks like it's in the middle of a run.

12:37 Alabama just hit a 3 to cut the lead to 5 points. They just called Timeout. I think KEYE is going to the game after the break

12:40 Glanced over at another TV. Kentucky is now putting away EKU.

12:43 Wisconsin-Milwaukee comes out of the timeout smoking, but CBS takes a break so they can get us back to our game.

12:48 This place is starting to fill up with Burnt Orange.

12:52 (19:20 2nd half) Niagra hits a 3 to tie it up at 37

12:53 (18:50) Kevin Bookout hits a shot in the paint to give OU the lead back. All OU needs to do at this point is slow it down and feed it into Bookout and Gray. Juan Mendez can't cover both of them.

12:56 Crowd Shot: Calvin Murphy, Niagra alumnus and probably the most famous Houston Rocket until Hakeem Olajuwon came along.

12:57 (16:30) Niagra has cut it to 45-43

12:59 TV Timeout. Peyton Manning apparently gets his Gatorade Lemonade from little kids on the sideline.

1:07 (12:30) Juan Mendez has 16 points and 13 rebounds and is carrying the Purple Eagles. Unfortunately the Sooners have gone on a run and are now leading 56-45. Timeout Niagra

Mendez may be too undersized to play NBA ball at his position, but he's tenacious and doesn't quit.

1:14 Live Look-in: Eastern Kentucky is still trailing, but they're now down by 6 with 3:00 to go.

1:18 Glancing at another TV screen. Pacific is beating Pittsburgh 58-50

1:20 Still a live look at EKU-Kentucky. To the consternation of the Indy crowd, Kentucky won

1:22 Live Look-in: Pitt is losing badly to Pacific now.

1:25: Live Look-in: Alabama is losing by 9 to UWM. Score panel shows OU now leading Niagra 64-51.

1:29 Live Look-in: Pittsburgh still losing

1:32 Live Look in: Alabama has cut it to 79-73 with under a minute. Alabama is now in "foul and hope they miss" mode.

1:37 Wisconsin-Milwauke pulls away and wins 83-73. Sorry to all the 10 people in the country who had Alabama actually winning this game. I'd like to call this an upset, but can't

1:40 The bar's wi-fi is fritzing, so I'm going to do the rest of today's posts from home. See you all in 15 minutes.

Late afternoon games

2:02 OK I'm back at home. Catching up now:
Pacific beat Pittsburgh, Oklahoma beat Niagra, and Cincinnati is leading Iowa 5-2.

2:13 PM Either the UTEP-Utah game is later or we're stuck with the Iowa-Cincinnati game. By the way, Cincinnati is starting strong in an NCAA tournament game.

Shocking! A Bob Huggins team actually shows up for a tournament game!

2:15 OK, now KEYE gets us out to Tucson for UTEP-Utah.

2:22 (17:14 1st half) Ugly, ugly game so far. UTEP is really making it hard for Andrew Bogut to get the ball.

2:25 (15:53) Will Kimble hits a jumper to give UTEP the lead.

2:26 (14:50) TV Timeout.

2:30 (13:06) The Miners are now on a 9-2 run and lead 13-6

2:35 (10:15) Miners now up 15-8. With all the running and gunning by UTEP, you would think there would be more points than they are.

2:37 TV Timeout. The NCAA ads where they show minor sport athletes go to class are funny. And very hypocritical. Because we know why they aren't showing the major sports athletes.

2:45 (6:48) Utah has gone on a run to take the lead at 17-16.

2:47 (5:47) Will Kimble fouls Andrew Bogut and the largely partisan UTEP crowd isn't happy. Bogut hits both

2:49 (4:00) Utah leads 22-16 when Filiberto Rivera hits a 3 to end the Utah run.

2:55 (2:15) Utah hits 2 straight 3 pointers to extend the lead to 28-19

2:56 (1:20) TV Timeout. I'm sick of the Miller Lite's "Taste Loss" ad campaign.

2:59 Halftime scores: Cincinnati 32, Iowa 22; Boston College 48, Penn 28.

3:02 Tim Drisdom misses a buzzer-beater. Score at the half: Utah 30, UTEP 25.

3:04 CBS just showed a promo for the dumbest looking TV movie ever: "Spring Break Shark Attack."

3:06 Live Look-in: #1 seed Washington is having little trouble with Montana.

3:09 Live Look-in: Iowa has cut the Cincinnati lead to 35-32. Huggins looks like the blood vessels in his head are going to burst.

3:16 Cincinnati has got the lead back up to 9 into a timeout. I imagine they will switch back to Utah-UTEP soon.

3:31 (15:35 2nd Half) Andrew Bogut is absolutely on fire. He's got 21 points and 6 rebounds. Utah hasn't pulled away. In fact it's 36-31and the margin is 5, exactly what it was at halftime

3:36 (14:35) Bryant Markson hit a 3 and the lead is now 10 points

3:37 (13:41) Timeout UTEP. Utah is on an 8-0 run, now leading 44-31, and UTEP isn't forcing as many turnovers as they were before.

3:46: Live Look-in: Cincinnati leads Iowa 66-52

3:47: Live Look-in: Washington leads Montana 53-43

3:49 (10:56) UTEP hits a 3 and now trails only 46-42. They went on an 11-2 run to get back into the game.

3:52 (8:51) Make that 13-2 as Filberto Rivera lays it in. 46-44 Utah

3:54 (7:20) Another steal, another lay-up. Tied at 46. Time out Utah.

3:57 (5:47) TV Timeout. Utah leads 49-48

4:04 (4:57) Will Kimble made a layup to keep it close. 52-50 Utah

4:09 (3:41) UTEP's John Tofi hits 2 free throws to tie it. at 52

4:12 (2:33) In what was probably the defensive play of the game, Andrew Bogut forces a bad shot from Omar Thomas that would have given UTEP the lead.

4:15 (1:48) Timeout UTEP. Utah leads 54-52

4:16 (1:18) Omar Thomas drives for a tough layup and ties it at 54-54.

4:20 And Utah finishes up strong and wins 60-54

See you guys later for Nevada-Texas

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