OK, so, maybe we didn't have the most ecstatic day of NCAA basketball yesterday — other than Duke, of course — but we have big hopes for today. (Besides, the most fun we had yesterday afternoon was reading Shanoff's live blog and your comments.) So, we rev it up yet again today. Here are the early games:
You're in for a treat today, because today's live blogger is the absolute best in the business, the great The Mighty MJD. (Seriously: The guy's making it an art form. Though no pressure!) Enjoy the first setup of games here ... and go Great Danes!
After the jump, the live blog begins.
2:45: Alright, we're closing the book on the first batch of games, and we're labeling it another disappointment. We'll see you in the other thread, momentarily.
2:43: Meanwhile, with 1:50 to play, Memphis is going to the line with an 11-point lead. I think we can safely chalk that one up, too.
2:42: Just to put the exclamation point on their outstandingly poor effort today, Georgia Tech turns it over on the ensuing inbounds pass. UNLV is your winner, 67-63. That game was an eyesore.
2:39: Tech gets a quick two, and they're now in foul-mode. They put an 83% shooter on the line, and he makes both. Crittenton penetrates, shot is blocked, and he loses it out of bounds. 4-point lead, 12.2 seconds, good free throw shooter on the line... I'm chalking it up.
2:37: UNLV leads by four now with 36.6 to play. North Texas, meanwhile, had closed the lead back to within 10, but Memphis pushed it back to 11. 3:32 to play in that one. Notre Dame and Memphis has just tipped, too.
2:33: The free throw is bricked, though, and Georgia Tech does manage to get a rebound ... HOWEVA. Wink Adams on the defense for UNLV forces a 5-second call on Georgia Tech, just by harassing his man all over the court. You don't see that call very often. Georgia Tech has much to be embarrassed about today.
2:32: And now Georiga Tech gives the and-one. Ouch. Kind of a weak call on Aminu there.
2:30: Huuuuge offensive rebound for UNLV... and another one. And another one, with a guy throwing the ball of a Georgia Tech player as he falls out of bounds. Incredible sequence there for the Runnin' Rebs, and pretty embarrassing for Georgia Tech. 59 all, 1:13 to play.
2:27: This game is close, but ... I don't know, it's not that good. It's been ugly, it's been sloppy, and it's not like it's going to be much of an upset if Tech wins. Memphis' lead remains 15, by the way.
2:26: A Georgia Tech guy stands on the perimeter, clapping and demanding the ball. He gets it, and he airballs a three. UNLV takes the lead with a solid drive on the other end, and it's 59-58. 2:19 to play.
2:22: The Mean Green isn't getting any closer, either. It's 55-40 with 8:44 to play. North Texas has a guy in a mask, too, but he's probably not as heroic or as tough (or as PSYCHO!) as Tyler Hansbrough.
2:20: Javaris Crittenton is keeping Georgia Tech alive here... they trail by three, Crittenton leads a break, tosses an over-the-shoulder pass to a teammate, and it's a 1-point game. It's an amazing turnaround from Crittenton, who spent the first half of this game playing like he was on quaaludes. Under 4:00 to play.
2:17: The UVA/Albany game has gone final ... 84-57 was the final count. Thanks for coming, Great Danes.
2:12: Hey, Michael Jordan's in the house for the Georgia Tech/UNLV game. If he's scouting, he's finding a lot of players who would fit in well with the 24-41 Bobcats.
2:09: And at the same time, Memphis has extended their lead to 13 over North Texas. The Mean Green's fought hard and played well, but... Memphis's athleticism is just too much. They can keep pace in stretches, but they can't stop Memphis from going on these runs every so often. Thanks for trying, though, Mean Green. I appreciate it. No one else is interested in entertaining us today.
2:08: It really is a shame that someone has to win this Georgia Tech/UNLV game. UNLV has opened up a 6-point lead with 7:59 to play.
2:02: North Texas continues to hang around... trailing by 6, they get a fast break, and a guy blows a dunk because he tired to tomahawk the shit out of it. Ouch. Costly.
2:01: John Cougar Mellencamp killed Anna Nicole Smith.
1:58: Wink Adams throws an elbow during a tie-up for the ball ... that's what this tournament needs, a giant, fist-swinging, blood-soaked brawl. We're tied at 44.
1:56: A Georgia Tech player (sorry, they don't have names on the back of their jerseys, and I don't watch a lot of Georgia Tech basketball, thank Christ) blows an uncontested lay-up, and someone in the CBS truck was asleep when he yelled "fuck."
1:51: And Georgia Tech's battled back to tie things up at 40. I'm being switched to that game.
1:50: Quick spin move, and a twisting lay-up high off the glass for Memphis... nasty. I'm guessing that no one on the North Texas roster can do that.
1:48: Memphis vs. Mean Green is back from the half. CBS came back with a shot of the pep band, and I thought for a second that today was St. Patrick's Day.
1:45: You know, in all the time I spend watching sports on CBS... NFL regular season, college basketball on the weekends, and now the tournament all day long... I don't think I've ever seen a promo for a CBS sitcom that ever made me laugh. Not once.
1:42: Unbelievable stat: UVA and Albany have the same mount of field goal attempts. Someone should tell Albany they're allowed to shoot with their eyes open.
1:38: I know I'm not seeing Albany's best effort here, and I'm sure they played a lot of fine ball during the regular season, but ... I'm 100% certain that I could find more athletic-looking intramural teams at most universities in the country right now. I'm not kidding. They look more like a really tall Quiz Bowl team than a college basketball team. I'm not quite sure how they weren't a 16-seed.
1:33: Albany's head coach is apparently going to watch most of this game from a squatting position. It's probably a good thing they won't be advancing; he'd have the knees of Jake Taylor before the weekend was out. The poor man looks like he's about to cry. 58-30, Virginia.
1:31: If you had any illusions about a Great Dane comeback, the Virginia Cavaliers would like to destroy those for you. They open up the second half with a 5-0 run.
1:26: And that's how we'll go to the half... 37-28 Memphis. No game is all that close, and the closest one has been Popeye Jones ugly. The highlight of the day so far has been this Masters commercial, reliving the legendarily awkward high-five between Tiger Woods and caddy Steve Williams on the 16th green.
1:24: Two turnovers, a three-ball, some penetration, an alley-oop on the run out, and Memphis leads by 9. And an unforced traveling violation on a North Texas guy committed while no one was touching him. Things are unraveling.
1:22: God dammit, Memphis has opened up a five point lead here. Time out, Mean Green.
1:21: Just to keep you posted, Albany is down 45-25 at the half, and Georgia Tech's gotten it together a little bit, and amazingly, they're going into the half down just seven. That's not good for UNLV. Tech can't possibly be that bad again in the 2nd half.
1:16: Yikes... Memphis is 324th in the NCAA in free-throw shooting? Did I hear that correctly, Verne Lundquist? That's embarrassing, Calipari. 28-all, 4:00 to play in the half.
1:13: And finally, the switch to North Texas/Memphis... and bonus, it's being called by Bill Raftery.
1:11: North Texas leads by three, with 5:25 left to play in the first half. Meanwhile, I'm stuck watching an 14-point game featuring at least one team that is as competent and well-organized as Dunder Mifflin.
1:07: Packer again on Tech: "Every pass is like an experience, and in many cases, negative."
1:05: Billy Packer says Georgia Tech has "no direction offensively." That's being pretty generous ... another way to say it would be that they look like Stanford, only it's not as funny. They've got 12 points, with 5:00 to play in the first half. I don't know that they've taken a good shot yet.
1:02: 22-10, UNLV. Jason Terry's brother plays for UNLV. I was not aware of this. He wears the #31, and the knee socks, just like his big brother. It's very sweet.
12:58: Dick Vitale Hooters commercial... I was discussing this yesterday, when a friend suggested that Dick was paid for this not in cash, but in breast-fondling gift certificates from the Hooters girls. I told him that Vitale got $500,000 for the V Foundation for doing that (which is true), but I suppose that one does not preclude the other.
12:55: Georgia Tech trails by 11, Albany continues to behave like Albany, and right now, it's all about the Mean Green. Many of you apparently feel the same way, as I can't get that game to load on the MMOD. Albany/UVA plays as smooth as silk, though. I pleasured Gregg Doyel for nothing, apparently.