This is the only game of the first two days that is alone in its time slot. (Yay!) But it's likely to be pre-empted by local news wherever you are. (Boo!) So check out CBS' moneymaker or your favorite feed provider for your viewing pleasure. Your official Deadspin preview is here; your ESPN preview has an interesting headline.
My unofficial, lightly researched (I looked at the U-Dub and MSU rosters, so now I know how to spell Jacquiese Holcombe) preview: Washington's got a decent inside-outside game with big man Jon Brockman and a triumvirate of height-deficient guards, and Mississippi State plays four guards around their defensive terror, Jarvis Varnado. Varnado had his national coming-out party last year against Memphis in the second round of this tournament, swatting five shots as the Bulldogs nearly upset the Tigers.
MSU's been a trendy upset pick in this one, steaming into this game on a six-game winning streak, but it should be noted that only two of those wins came against tournament teams. The only common opponents these teams had were Florida and Washington State, but U-Dub lost to Florida and beat Wazzu twice, while MSU fell to the Cougars and beat the Gators. That muddies the water.
As always, no one knows anything. (For the record, I picked Washington, and my Final Four is the same as Nate Silver's, which means I'm probably horrifically wrong.)
If anyone can make bingo on Suss' card, horizontally, vertically, or diagonally, put it in a comment and I'll get you a prize. It's true that I will live blog nearly anything, and true that I'm serious about this little gimmick. I've done it before.
And I leave this question to you, commentariat: Should the updates ascend or descend?
5:04 PM: We're live from the Rose Garden. Mississippi State leads, 5-4.
5:06 PM: A Bulldog misses a breakaway dunk. SEC basketball: A legacy of almost being competent.
5:09 PM: Because when I think "printers," I think "desert island."
5:12 PM: Jon Brockman's soft hands and sharp passing get U-Dub two points inside.
5:13 PM: Kodi Augustus is probably not the best basketball player in his family; his older sister is the Minnesota Lynx' Seimone Augustus, who led LSU's women to a national title.
5:15 PM: It seems like every other possession devolves into Calvinball. "Tremendous intensity" looks to me to be sloppiness. 10-6, MSU, with 12:59 left in the first half.
5:16 PM: Have we mentioned that Washington is Krypto-Nate Robinson's alma mater? No?
5:18 PM: Considering Patrick Dempsey's recent brooding turn on Grey's Anatomy, I'm not so sure I want him selling me car insurance. That I watch Grey's and can live blog this just proves that I am in touch with my inner Sandra Oh.
5:21 PM: No, the highest per-second harassment average belongs to Eric Devendorf. Be honest.
5:22 PM: Brockman catches a rebound under the hoop and sinks a reverse under waving arms. He's been quite good early.
5:23 PM: I'm not usually one to care about names, but Ravern? What, were you deciding between Raver and Wyvern?
5:25 PM: I thought Pondexters were supposed to wear goggles and play Strat-o-Matic? Or does that rule not apply when you spell it without the i?
5:27 PM: Color me unimpressed by Dee Bost's stats. I'm the only sophomore in college averaging 32 Twitter updates and 11 live blogs a week. Washington 21, Mississippi State 16.
5:30 PM: Sonic, stomping Coke Zero in the commercial race.
5:33 PM: Speaking of Twitter, here's Jon Brockman's. The most recent pearl of wisdom? "CAN YOU DIG ITTTTT??? Lets go dawg fans hope your ready to cheer! Lets get this one done together!!!!!!!" No time for apostrophes, I see.
5:35 PM: If Isiah Thomas were still a GM, is there any way he wouldn't pick Isaiah Thomas?
5:37 PM: Verb of the Day: "Ramrodding." Thanks, Kevin Harlan! Washington 29, Mississippi State 19, 3:26 left in the first half.
5:42 PM: Not only is setting a screen through an elbow a foul, it is, if my interpretation of that official's gesticulations was correct, quite offensive in several Polynesian cultures.
5:43 PM: Actual Analysis Alert: Washington seems content to give up the baseline drives to MSU's guards, but the 'Dogs have no answer for U-Dub's transition shooting. Also, Quincy Pondexter's been excellent, especially with frontcourt mate Brockman in foul trouble.
5:46 PM: There's the three. Phil Turner bombs away.
5:47 PM: Ravern Johnson will probably hear some "AIR-BALL" chants from the partisan Portland crowd. Washington 35, Mississippi State 27, with 32.0 seconds left in the first half.
5:50 PM: It is important to note that neither of those women was actually touching Tony Stewart.
5:51 PM: Quincy Pondexter, still doing exactly what you wouldn't expect him to based on name alone. He scores and converts the and-one, has 15 points, and leads Washington into halftime with a 38-27 lead over Mississippi State.
5:55 PM: With the demise of Raycom Sports, it's good to see fine sports outfits like CBS' March Madness On Demand halftime crew upholding the mantle of awkward sports coverage. Apparently, Matt Painter is a Gene Keady "deciful." Someone look that up.
6:00 PM: You know, I don't think Mississippi State will be all that shattered if they lose this one. They're in Portland, after all, and that's about infinity times the culture that exists in Starkville, if this documentary footage is correct:
6:08 PM: Why is Jarvis Varnado's name pronounced "Var-NAR-do?" One, that doesn't even make phonetic sense, and two, it eliminates the easy promotion for the Starkville Smoothie King's "Varnado Tornado." (One part Hasheem Thabeet, one part Stromile Swift, if you want the recipe.)
6:11 PM: Pondexter and Brockman are just too much down low. U-Dub is pulling away, leading Mississippi State 44-27 with 17:29 left in the second half.
6:15 PM: "They just can't get anything open." On cue, the Bulldogs knock down an open three.
6:18 PM: Hey, look, a Windows advertising campaign with the same title as another one of my forty blogs on the web of Internet tubes!
6:20 PM: Brockman was a "load" earlier. Now he's "clearing out." You may make the joke.
6:22 PM: Brockman is fouled, and it's Varnado's fourth. He'll sit.
6:23 PM: Venoy Overton believes he can be Tyus Edney. Baseline to baseline, weaving through defenders, and twisting for the leaping lay-in, his coast-to-coast conversion may be the prettiest play of this game.
6:26 PM: Remind me, how did Florida beat Washington and lose to MSU this season?
6:29 PM: I'm supposed to want Star Points?
6:30 PM: The Bulldogs require three tries to put the ball in the basket on a trip, which actually helps their dismal 25% shooting. Prior to that possession, they were 10-of-40 from the field. No wonder Washington leads, 52-35.
6:33 PM: "OVERTON! His NINTH...THREE...of the season."
6:36 PM: Varnado slithers around Brockman and lays one in, pushing his point total to four, which, finally, equals his tally of fouls.
6:41 PM: Brockman looks like John Krasinski was thrown in a blender with Derek Vinyard.
6:43 PM: We just dipped under the five-minute mark. U-Dub is up big, 61-46, on Mississippi State.
6:45 PM: Varnado just notched his fifth block, but, unless his vanguard of gunners starts smoking some threes, it will be for naught.
6:49 PM: See, Axe, Sonic shows that you can do weird without having geyser of armpit sweat.
6:52 PM: "It's hard to shoot when all the ammunition is gone." (Sorry for getting topical humor in your Deadspin.)
6:54 PM: The comments inform me that Raycom is only done with SEC telecasts, and still has a while left on its ACC contract. This should be used in all SEC recruiting pitches.
6:55 PM: Isaiah Thomas' Chris Paul impression is convincing. Washington leads, 68-54, with just under two minutes remaining.
6:58 PM: Washington triumphs, 71-58, sending the SEC Tournament champion Mississippi State Bulldogs home. Huskies Quincy Pondexter and Jon Brockman dominated the vaunted Jarvis Varnado inside, and Washington's little men hassled the Maroon and White snipers all day. Washington will play Purdue Saturday for a Sweet Sixteen berth, and Mississippi State loses its best chance this year to escape from the crushing boredom of Starkville. I feel sorry for them.
I feel sorry for you, too; you commenters had to make up for my funny deficit. But you did so admirably, and I appreciate that. I had fun being a part of this ambitious expedition into Blogfrica (thanks to Suss for organizing this and doing the heavy lifting with the bingo cards), and I hope you did, too. Thanks for being part of it.