All right, we're ready to do this again. Two live blogs again today, starting with the following matchups.
You're all once again encouraged to firstname.lastname@example.org with your own thoughts and observations, of course.
Full live-blog is after the jump. Hop in with all your comments as well. Another full day of people dribbling. It's like hanging out with our family.
2:43 p.m.: Bucknell 59, Arkansas 55, in a game that would have been exciting down the stretch had our brains not just fried after that Iowa game. Oh, the other two finals:
Arizona 94, Wisconsin 75.
Northwestern State 64, Iowa 63.
That last one. Expect to hear about that one the rest of the tourney. Yipes. OK ... off to the next live blog!
2:40 p.m.: YAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! The Northwestern State game just ended with one of those holy shit moments that just made the whole day worthwhile. Ridiculous 3-pointer — almost as nuts as the Tennessee one yesterday — with 0.5 left gives them the win. That'll be on those car commercials next year that implore you to buy a Chevy to show your Madness.
By the way, this Bucknell game is down to eight seconds left, with Bison up two. But we're still stunned from the NSU game.
2:37 p.m.: Two games with two-point margins with less than a minute left. What more do you want?
2:33 p.m.: Northwestern State down one with 40 seconds left. Here we go. Upset? Upset? Meanwhile, Bucknell is up by two, under two minutes left. And Arkansas has the ball. Wee!
2:30 p.m.: Iowa game still close: Up by three with 1:52 left. We realize this might be one of the first times you guys have seen Iowa's Greg Brunner. He actually looks less like a basketball player than we do.
2:27 p.m.: From a reader: "Seriously, is there anything sadder than the demise of Darius 'Hootie' Rucker so that now the only way he can make money is by singing horrible commercial jingles for cardiac-inducing fast food sandwiches? I still can t forget the Tendercrisp Bacon Cheddar Ranch commercials from last year with his horrible cowboy outfit and the tumbleweeds of bacon.
This only makes me think what the parallel universe Coach K commercials ten years-post championship would be. I see him as the hopeless bald dude from the Citi commercials, constantly on the phone with customer service embarrassingly giving out info as the password 'Big Boy,' pet s name 'Dickie V' in between slews of expletives."
We're not sure we think there's much "sad" about Hootie's "demise," but we like the Coach K image nevertheless.
2:25 p.m.: Sorry about the comments not posting again. This is extremely annoying to us.
2:22 p.m.: For about the 3,000th time this tournament, we've spoken too soon: Northwestern State is within five of Iowa with 3:34 left. You like to see that.
2:18 p.m.: You know, it's one thing to be doing worse than Bob Barker in our tournament pool. But Jeff Probst? Ouch.
2:14 p.m.: And some sadness: It's a final. Ohio State 70, Davidson 62. Northwestern State made a little run to come within 12 with seven minutes left, but it doesn't look we're going to have a breakthrough upset this round either. Bucknell-Arkansas is only game of much interest left.
2:05 p.m.: Well, that'll do it for Davidson ... and Northwestern State. Still, they all receive copies of the "Old Farmer's Almanac" as parting gifts.
2:00 p.m.: Davidson better make a run, and fast. If not, though, that's OK; the upset gods are just holding down the fort, saving up until it's time for Oral Roberts to start.
1:57 p.m.: We'll be honest: We hum "Big Buckin' Chicken" to ourselves when the commercial isn't on. That's true.
1:51 p.m.: Iowa and Ohio State are close to pulling away; They're each up seven points, though Iowa still has 13 minutes left. Wisconsin? Down 21. Jeez.
1:45 p.m.: Best line we've heard yet about those Applebee's commercials: "Okay, so I've been trying to tune the Applebee's commercials out but I find that I have to keep paying attention, because my brain keeps going, in spite of all logic: Watch carefully! You don't want to miss this commercial, because THIS time, the lady's going to reach under the table, pull a shotgun, and blow those two douchebags away. And THAT's insidiously good marketing."
1:40 p.m.: You know, maybe we shouldn't have gotten so excited about Davidson; they're down seven right now, but Northwestern State and Iowa are tied with 18 minutes to go. One of those has to end up giving us that darned upset, right?
1:36 p.m.: Ohio State starting to remember they're a top 10 team; they just went up three on Davidson. They are apparently not Ben Franklin fans.
1:31 p.m.: Hey, Wisconsin snuck within 12 there by halftime. And we just saw a promo for "Two And A Half Men" that had Jon Cryer shirtless.
1:26 p.m.: Honestly, Davidson is pretty good. Ian Johnson, a bearded forward, is known as a "Ben Franklin fan." That's really fantastic. We have never, ever heard an athlete referred to as a "big Ben Franklin fan" before.
1:19 p.m.: Davidson, Iowa and Bucknell all go into halftime with four-point leads. Wisconsin is still toast however.
1:17 p.m.: OK, this is excellent. A profile of Davidson's Boris Meno, who is one smooth Frenchman. Another reason to root for these guys.
1:15 p.m.: From Rick Chandler again: "Note to all CBS guys: For the last time, the fact that a team is switching screens DOES NOT mean that they are playing good defense. It usually means the opposite. Good defensive players fight through screens and don't need to switch. You can learn more about defense watching two minutes of "Knight School" than you can watching two weeks of this tournament."
1:13 p.m.: Right now, all Big Ten teams are losing. (Wisconsin down by 18. What happened, guys?)
1:11 p.m.: You know what? Now that we know firemen eat Kentucky Fried Chicken, we're totally eating there.
1:09 p.m.: Bucknell's jerseys look like something designed by FloJo. (Minus the fingernails.) This Bison-Razorbacks game looks like it will be like the Tennessee-Winthrop game yesterday; within one or two points, all the way through.
1:05 p.m.: And back comes Northwestern State! They've "stormed" back — as much as a game that has only 36 points with three minutes left in the half can allow anyone to "storm" — to tied Iowa 18-18. Wisconsin, however, is down 17 to Arizona with seven minutes left in the half. We're having a very lousy pool year.
1:00 p.m.: Note from our Davidson friend, after asking him if the Wildcats had any black players. "This dude off the bench they already called him the team s 'most athletic player' right when he came in. He can be good but also is way crazy sometimes. There s another half-black backup shooting guard." Frankly, we kind of think Ohio State needs to lose this game. With Greg Oden and the other monster recruiting class coming in next year, it's very possible they could dominate the Big Ten for a while. We'd rather see them start that later rather than sooner.
12:58 p.m.: It's halftime in Dayton, and Davidson is up four on Ohio State. See, now that's a real upset possibility. We'll find out real quick if today's going to be a tease like yesterday.
12:54 p.m.: Some clarification on "OAKLAND UNIVERSITY!":
"Actually, it's not that confusing. Oakland University, formerly a satellite campus of Michigan State University in Oakland County, Michigan, is located in Rochester, Michigan, less than four exits away from Auburn Hills. So the Golden Grizz are getting some more facetime on the national scene, unlike last year when they were the speed bump on UNC's road to the National Title. Actors Robert Englund and David Hasselhoff both briefly attended Oakland, but neither graduated. Actor-Comedian Sinbad also attended Oakland."
We still think it's confusing that it says "OAKLAND UNIVERSITY!" on a tourney floor that isn't in the Oakland Regional ... but Freddy/Hasselhoff piece of trivia — along with Sinbad! — makes it all worthwhile.
12:49 p.m.: We've obviously watched the Big Ten more than any other league this year, and we can say that Wisconsin falling behind 22-8 to Arizona is bad, bad gnus for those guys. They're anything but a run-and-gun team.
By the way, from Deadspin associate editor Rick Chandler: "Belmont has to be the worst team ever allowed into the NCAA Tournament. If Cincinnati coach Andy Kennedy decides to sue the NCAA Selection Committee, all he would have to do is show video of Boomer Herndon's post play and he'd win millions."
12:46 p.m.: Davidson leads Ohio State by two with six minutes left in the first half. Lots of Big Ten teams playing right now; three, in fact. No matter what, the Big Ten has established so far that it is better than the Mountain West.
12:41 p.m.: Steven Hill, a big tall doofy guy for Arkansas, has four blocks already. We think it's probably his ridiculous headband. With his long hair, he looks suspiciously like '80s-era Jane Fonda. If only he had some Kobe leggings.
12:38 p.m.: Iowa jumps out to 11-point lead over Northwestern State. It's a shame that Iowa is an Illini rival, because we kind of worship "M*A*S*H*" and love the idea of Hawkeye Pierce being their mascot.
12:36 p.m.: Just like to note, by the way, that we're two hours and 10 minutes away from Oral Roberts. We're all a-twitter.
12:33 p.m.: Len Elmore just said Davidson does well because they, "play together and play with each other." Ah. A tradition unlike any other.
12:29 p.m.: That's also kind of confusing, that "OAKLAND UNIVERSITY," considering the game is not, in fact, in the Oakland Regional.
12:27 p.m.: The Iowa-Northwestern State game just tipped off. Iowa always has trouble with Northwestern — they've lost three straight in Evanston, which is difficult to do in front of 3,000 fans — so we'll see if it crosses over to their directional school. (Yes, we know that's not really a directional school, and we know they're neither related nor the same school. We went to Illinois. We obviously know this stuff.) We think the center court "OAKLAND UNIVERSITY" is a bit excessive for a rather tiny school.
12:20 p.m.: CBS just incorrectly identified one of Davidson's players, but we understand why that might have happened: They're all white. Every single one of them. It's like Glory Road!
12:17 p.m.: Ohio State-Davidson tips off. One of our best friends went to Davidson, and we have a feeling he's caked in apple butter right now. At small schools, this really is the highlight of the year. 4-2 Buckeyes, starting off.