You know what time it is, people: It's time for a little Oral Roberts madness. You've got the fever. You know you do.
You're all once again encouraged to email@example.com with your own thoughts, observations and gripes, of course.
Full live-blog is after the jump.
5:20 p.m.: And ... finals:
Villanova 58, Monmouth 45.
Memphis 84, Oral Roberts 78.
Thus concludes our broadcast day. Good night ... and good luck.
5:15: OK. Well. Tonight ... uh ... tonight it's Connecticut against Albany. GOOOOOOOO Great Danes! It can happen! It can really, someday happen ... aw ... forget it.
5:12: We're probably grasping at straws here, but Oral Roberts is down by 14 with three minutes left. But the score is 92-78. With that many points scored, it's like being down two to, say, Temple.
We're reaching. Monmouth is done, though.
5:07 p.m.: Monmouth down 10, 3:51 left. Jay Wright is playing this game close to the vest, as they say; he's coaching like it's the elimination game it is.
5:02 p.m.: West Virginia 64, Southern Illinois 46. That, like, wasn't close at all. Looks like we might see Pittsnogle and company in the Sweet 16 again. Oral Roberts down 14 with six minutes left ... Monmouth starting to fade.
4:59 p.m.: Monmouth is down by nine with 5:09 left. You'd say that's unlikely, but you'd say lots of things, and we'd call you cynics, dammit, cynics!
4:54: One last gasp here for Monmouth. Oral Roberts looks done.
From a reader: "Did I just read correctly that Bill Raftery is working a game today? On SAINT PATRICK'S DAY??? Is he remotely sober? Who was in charge of this? Usually they left Raft take the day before and after the 17th, which is better for everyone concerned: he's usually pumped up beyond recognition for the 30 hour bender that's imminent on the 16th, and hilariously hungover to the gills on the 18th. Somebody should be canned at CBS for this atrocity."
4:48 p.m.: You know, we're fooling ourselves. There's no way a No. 16 team is ever gonna beat a No. 1. Why do we even dream of it?
(That was some major psyche-out reverse mojo there. Let's see if it works.)
4:43 p.m.: More unhappy Iowa fans:
Have you seen the video of the Iowa game? I am no Billy packer (thank God) but I have the following observations:
Brunner is at the line and he has just hit 1 to put Iowa up by 2. What would you do with your defenders for the last free throw? Would you:
a) Put them on the lane as normal and hope for a rebound?
b) Play them all back so in the event of a miss you can set up a defense?
c) Just play 1 guy on the lane, where he has NO fucking chance of a rebound and in the event of a miss, will not be in position to play defense?
Alford chose C ... A more appropriate gift we could not give the Hoosiers.
Georgetown 54, Northern Iowa 49, by the way.
4:39 p.m.: Looks like the Big East is off the schnide. (Schneid? We can never spell that right.) Georgetown with six point lead with 20 seconds left. Missouri Valley is now 1-2, with Bradley playing Kansas tonight.
4:36 p.m.: And that changed extremely fast: Villanova is no up 16. Still hope for our Golden Eagles, but it's dwindling for SIU, which is down 13 to West Virginia. All those who had WVU in their Sweet 16 is feeling pleasant right now.
4:33 p.m.: Both No. 1 vs. No. 16 games are under 10 points right now. So you know.
4:31 p.m.: For the record, we were college newspaper people, not band people. That's why we think they're so dorky.
4:26 p.m.: For all our talk, once again, about Oral Roberts ... Monmouth is closer to pulling off the major upset. They're down eight to Villanova; ORU (which is somehow almost as dirty as "Oral") is down 13.
4:23 p.m.: Roy Hibbard should really be a gunslinger in the Old West.
4:22 p.m.: Here's a thought: Guys in bands vs. Guys who work for their student newspapers. Bigger dorks?
4:16 p.m.: Looks like we're gonna have a perfect setup to close out the afternoon games: This Georgetown-Northern Iowa game is close, and it'll be over a good half hour before the other games are over. Unfortunately, none of them are close. Until Oral Roberts' run, anyway.
4:09 p.m.: We like Bill Raftery, but we still understand this notion:
"In response to Pittsnogle getting a kind roll with his soft touch, Bill Raftery says that Pittsnogle has the touch of a guy that has a baby. He continues to say, and sound like the creepy uncle at the family reunion, 'Daddy's home, Daddy's home.' Please people, don't let your kids hang out with Bill Raftery alone."
4:06 p.m.: A silly run by Memphis takes some fun out; they're up by 12 on Oral Roberts at the half. West Virginia's up by 12, also at halftime, and Georgetown's got a slight lead. We really shouldn't push it, after that Northwestern State game, but we still think Oral Roberts has a run in them.
4:01 p.m.: Reader: "It is just me, or are there an inordinant amount of insane screamers at these games? I mean, we had the banshee at the BC game, and now there seems to be one at the Memphis-ORU game. I can understand trying to distract the other team, but it sounds like these people are being brutally murdered."
This is absolutely true. We have watched an inordinate amount of college basketball games this year, and this is symptomatic only of the NCAA tournament. Who are these people? We're guessing kids forced to sit and watch eight hours of basketball with their father — who has them for the weekend — who has his face painted and is calling J.J. Redick a "pussy."
3:57 p.m.: We are most pleased to report: The New York City affiliate has switched over to the Oral Roberts game, and it's still the first half. Catch the fever!
3:53 p.m.: You know, this tournament has been too darned sedate. We need some good old-fashioned fury.
"I have a one-hour lunch break. All I want during that one-hour lunchbreak is to watch my regional game, and be taken to close games as they come down the stretch. I realize that the system isn't perfect, but one would believe a rational human being with 2 ounces of testosterone in his/her body would be able to understand that college basketball fans like watching great finishes to college basketball games.
I realize, now, that I am asking too much from those fucking douchebags at CBS who are hell-bent on making me miss every important live event the tournament has to offer.
Northwestern State just won a remarkable game, and I saw, like, two fucking seconds of it. Why? Because we absolutely had to watch the last five minutes of Arizona make Wisconsin look like an intramural team. They actually clicked over right as the winning shot fell through the net. Then they immediately switched back to a shot of Bo Ryan smoothing out his tie while calling for the four corners. My head almost exploded.
I'm so enraged right now, I can barely write. I would eviscerate Greg Gumbel right now if I had the opportunity, even though I know it's not his fault that all of CBS's good producers are working on N.I.C.S., or whatever it's called."
Ah. It felt good just reading that.
3:48 p.m.: West Virginia is freaking hot right now; it's Pittsnogle mania right now. They're up 16 on SIU.
And ... OH ... YES ... Oral Roberts is UP BY ONE OVER MEMPHIS.
3:45 p.m.: OK, this is really not a terrible idea.
3:40 p.m.: After a big upset like the Northwestern State game, we always find it intriguing to watch the teams who play them next battle for that right. They always seem a little too overeager, like winning this game alone will put them in the Sweet 16. West Virginia is up six, by the way, on Southern Illinois, which wins points for being the chosen college of about 65 percent of our high school.
3:37 p.m.: The No. 16 seed hanging the best right now is not Oral Roberts; it's Monmouth. Villanova is playing extremely sloppy in a game that's so low scoring it's almost dumb: With seven minutes left, it's Villanova 10, Monmouth 6.
Our Golden Eagles are only down by six, though. Northern Iowa and Georgetown are at halftime; Big East team down by 4.
3:29 p.m.: Is it possible for a No. 1 seed to play like it's disrespected? Because that's what Memphis is doing right now. They're up 10 right now on our sweet Golden Eagles.
By the way, CBS did something ESPN would not: Reshow the Allan Ray eye injury. They're not as queasy as you people!
3:22 p.m.: Northern Iowa is beating Georgetown, scaring the crap out of the Big East commissioner, and Oral Roberts is only down three. (We're grasping at straws everywhere.)
Back to an early game. From a reader: "An extremely annoying co-worker was "working from home" today. As he is a rabid Iowa fan, it didn't take us long to deduce why.
You would think you stumbled into the Northwestern gym, how loud it was in here as we heard the end of that game. We were thinking of calling the co-worker and asking a stupid work-related question after the 3-pointer, but we figured we'd let him bask in his misery."
That was probably wise.
3:20 p.m.: OK, you wimps: We took out the picture of the bugged-out eyes. We registered and heard all your complaints. You people are weak!
By the way, Oral Roberts just tipped off!
3:12 p.m.: "The Principal Financial Group: We can help you get to retirement, but you'd better pedal like a motherfucker or you're DEAD. Just saying."
3:08 p.m.: By the way, for those asking, the picture above, with the buggin' eyes, is suppose to represent Villanova and Allan Ray. But if people are too disturbed ... well, your eyes are supposed to be here on the live blog anyway.
3:00 p.m.: Good to know, by the way, that Vic the Demon, the mascot for Northwestern State, has overcome adversity and cheering his team to victory.
2:57 p.m.: So Georgetown is playing Northern Iowa right now. If the Big East loses again — to a Missouri Valley team, no less — will we ever see a conference get eight bids again?
2:54 p.m.: OK, we're recovered. You see, this is why we are pleased that Illinois played last night rather than this afternoon. If Illinois had lost like Iowa just lost? There is no way we're doing this live blog right now. We're more likely carving drawings into our arms.
2:48 p.m.: Sorry. We can't talk about the late games yet. We're still jaw-dropped about that Northwestern State game.