March 15th, 2012 | by MARTIN CIZMAR News | Posted In: Sports

Almost Live: March Madness Edition

Live from the Rose Garden, it's the NCAA tournament.

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We'll be liveblogging the NCAA Tournament at the Rose Garden all day, right here. While you wait, work out who to cheer for in our "Should I Cheer for this College Basketball Team" Decision Tree.

UPDATE 10:51 AM: Competitive basketball is being played at the Rose Garden. Better updates soon.

10:58 AM: Welcome to soggy Portland, Oregon where the Davidson College Wildcats are attempting to avenge shocking loss that dropped them to number 11 in the U.S. News rankings of America's best liberal arts colleges by winning a basketball contest against Papa John's University and Pizzeria Louisville. So far they are losing.

11:05 AM: Whew, OK, I've almost got my bearings here. Hi, I'm Martin. I'm covering the NCAA tournament for WW because it's a big deal, so someone had to, and our resident basketball writer, Casey Jarman, is eating tacos in Austin. Despite this morning's slow start, this ain't my first rodeo. I've covered an NBA all-star game! AND WRESTLEMANIA! And also some concerts and festivals and stuff. Davidson is still losing. The team appears to have forgotten that you're allowed to put the ball through the basket inside the painted crescent thing. Yes, the basket will only count for two points. But it will be better than trying to score in three point increments and failing repeatedly. This is unfortunate for them. No wonder Davidson plummeted to number 11.

11:13 AM: Davidson has switched gears and attempted to settle for two points. This also failed because you have to put the ball through the hoop--or at least hit the rim with the basketball--within 35 seconds or a buzzer goes off and the other team gets the ball. Rumors have started that their failure to master these concepts could land them at No. 12 in next year's U.S. News rankings as reports spread that an upstart Vassar squad is marking the Mary McCarthy Centennial with an exhibition.

11:31 AM: Halftime, Louisville 33, Davidson 25. I hope to have some photos of the still-not-full stands and mascot-related tomfoolery if I can get my phone to access the innertubes.

11:56 AM: A member of the Long Beach State band has asked a security guard if he can leave the courtside area to get something to eat. "Our adviser told us we're not allowed to leave without permission but they they didn't tell us we wouldn't have a chance to eat and I have low blood sugar," he said. Permission was granted. Sometimes we forget college kids at the center of this grand spectacle.

12:09 PM: Here's that mascot photo you've been waiting for.

12:28 PM: OK, so I'm really trying to cheer along with Louisville's slugging (see what I did there?) of No. 11 Davidson even though the programs' meteoric rise is a rich man's hobby (some of his money was used to steal away my college's highly-regarded soccer coach, which is fine because we won a national championship by beating him) as my little sister is a professor educating kids in the state's university system but I can't. I think it's these ugly camouflage/tiger stripe jersey things. They're even uglier in person.

Proposed P. Knight Rule: Every college sports team shall have two (2) jerseys per season. One shall be light in color, the other dark. None shall have tiger stripes, especially when your mascot is a bird.

 12:33 PM: We haven't been handed an official stat sheet yet but my records say Davidson is 0-83 on three-point attempts. This game has not been as close as the 14 point difference on the scoreboard. Maybe the 'Cats should be playing down in the NIT.

12:40 PM: Things could get worse for Davidson before they get better. A shock just ran through the media room as news broke that Wesleyan University, currently ranked No. 12 behind the 'Cats in the U.S. News poll, has tapped Supreme Court Justice Anthony Scalia to give a talk on free speech in the coming months. A talk by a sitting justice is a major recruiting coup for the Connecticut program and puts more pressure on Davidson, which, coincidentally, also just saw forward Jake Cohen pass up a wide-open look at a three only to fake. He then made an awkward move to lay in two, which drew cheers although the school is down by eight with just over a minute to go. Davidson also just took its last time out. Warm up the bus.

1 PM: Where's Sad Waldo? I SEE HIM, HE'S WITH THE DAVIDSON BAND!

Final: Louisville 69, Davidson 62.

1:04 PM: Speaking of pep bands, Long Beach State opens with "Fuck You" as the New Mexico Lobos warm up in front of them. Ain't that some shit?


1:29 PM: Long Beach-New Mexico just tipped off. Neither team seems to have a lot of fans in attendance--I've seen larger crowds for high school games--but the people here seem very happy to be so.

1:40 PM: "Go Beach: Our Legacy Begins Today."

 2:01 PM: Just how scrappy is Long Beach State? Welp, their grizzled prospector mascot appears to be wearing regular ol' Hanes sweat pants as part of his costume. I'm not usually a knee-jerk underdog fan, but God bless those precious young men from a humble beachside community in southern California. Let's hope Long Beach can send those haughty New Mexicans and their fancy store-bought mascot costumes straight back to glamorous Albuquerque with a bloody nose and a little humility.

 2:13 PM: When did every college band start playing "Sweet Caroline" at least once per game and how do we make them stop? THE BEACH 29, New Mexico 31.

2:50 PM: James Ennis' 1 just tied this game. There are still 13 minutes to go, but LB seems to have the momentum. Also, some people apparently wish to spot me on television. I am right behind the Niners' mascot, in the very worst seat on the entire press row.

2:52: "The Blazers finally waived Greg Oden!!!" PRESS ROW ERUPTS IN CHEERS FROM LOCAL MEDIA!

2:56 PM: Scratch that momentum comment; LBSU now down by 8.

3:28 PM: The score might seem lopsided thanks to the foul shots, but with 28.8 seconds left this LBSU-NM game feels closer than five points. It's been a fun one.

3:32 PM: Hopefully TV cameras caught Beach star Casper Ware's expression as he hung his head after missing that layup with 12.9 seconds left. NM rebounded just sealed things by hitting their foul shots. Ware may well go on to play in the NBA. Even so, that one will bother him forever.

Final: New Mexico 75, Long Beach State 68. 

3:38 PM: They're clearing the arena between the first pair of games and the second pair. Anyone who follows college sports probably knows the the NCAA is a bunch of money-grubbin' bastards, but their villainous brilliance really comes through upon realizing that they put both weak-drawing New Mexico teams in Portland to increase the likelihood of people flying up from New Mexico but also put them in different "sessions" so fans would have to buy two tickets to watch both games. Bravo, NCAA, bravo.

4:21 PM: Yes, the game has started. Where is everyone?

 4:37 PM: STUCK BALL! It got caught between the rim and the backboard! Just jammed in there on a thre-point attempt! Whoa! ....but seriously, this game ain't so exciting yet. Virginia Commonwealth has a great band, though. Wichita State 9, VCU 12.

4:44 PM: How exciting has this game been? Well, the man below just yelled out "Booooooooring!" during a time-out. Twice. A more damning indictment has never been made.

4:55 PM: "YOU LOOK LIKE A BAG OF POPCORN," yelled a trumpeter in the VCU band. He was, in my opinion, far too kind to the Wichita State mascot. In related news, "Boooooooring" is now a real chant with at least 10 voices behind it.

 5:09 PM: Down seven points with 22 seconds left in the half Wichita State decided, in an already boring game, to run down the clock at half-court. VCU stole the ball and jammed in another two. Serves 'em right. VCU 34, Wichita State 25.

5:38 PM: "Wichita's Not A State" the VCU fans chant. That's kinda funny. They're also taunting the Shockers 7-foot center Garrett Stutz, which is fine as Stutz looks eerily sumilar to a young Christian Laettner. And, obviously, everyone hates Christian Laettner.

6:17 PM: Well no one's chanting "booooring" now. VCU 60, Wichita 59. 1:24 left in the game.

6:18 PM: There are 27.2 seconds left in the game and 10 seconds left on VCU's shot clock. They are up by one. This is gong to be good... For what's it's worth, the neutral part of the crowd seems to have adopted the Shockers, perhaps because they had to claw their way back.

6:21 PM: VCU scored, meaning they're up by three points with 12 seconds left. Wichita State has the ball and has called time out. Most of the basketball-watching nation is probably tuned in right around now. FUN!

6:35 PM: Final: VCU 62, Wichita "State" 59. VCU's band is loving it.

 6:43 PM: Indiana wears candy-striped warm up pants. I never knew that. It is, apparently, "a thing." Which is a shame, as I'd love to picture Bobby Knight attacking everyone wearing these monstrosities with a chair like pro wrestler.


6:48 PM: Yes, there is an animated GIF of Bob Knight throwing a chair.
6:56 PM: Apparently like half of New Mexico State's squad is Canadian. I've already advocated cheering for them but now I'm about to buy a shirt or something.

7:32 PM: New Mexico State is down nine, which is bad, but they're also racking up fouls, which is worse. Physical play makes sense against what looks like a pretty soft Hoosier squad, but considering they're not doing much subbing, I suspect the Aggie bench isn't very deep. And as they foul and foul and foul they're going to have to play even worse defense if they can somehow scrape their way back into this. Not looking good for State with 3:50 left in the half.

7:34 PM: The Twitterz says the Hoosiers might know NMSU's signals. This is unfortunate. Indiana is totally a sign-stealing type of school, though. State is only down by five now, however, so hopefully they can get adjustments made and choke these Hoosiers out like their own coach used to.

7:51 PM: Awkward thought: Somewhere in this building just-fired Blazers' coach Nate McMillan is probably cleaning out his office right now as these college kids play the biggest basketball game of their lives.

8:16 PM: New Mexico State is down by 16. Indiana's Jordan Hulls seems to be taking over this game.

8:18 PM: Hulls just blew by all five Aggies to lay it in. I think it's time to look at the next round match-ups, which feature New Mexico against Louisville and VCU against (very probably) Indiana. VCU moved a lot faster than this sluggish NMSU squad and will probably not use signals Indiana knows, so that could very well be another upset.

8:25 PM: Jordan Hulls = scary. Another three. The kid has 13,000 Twitter followers right now. He will probably have 20,000 tomorrow.

8:31 PM: It's 8:31 pm and KENT STATE STILL SUCKS... NMSU is trying to climb back but I have the sneaking suspicion Hulls is going to pwn them.

8:42 PM: NMSU is down by 14 with 3:57 left and just called time out. Hmmm.

8:48 PM: Like Willie said... See you Saturday.

 
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