Yesterday proceeded in almost ritualistic fashion here in the satellite office of Curmudgeon Central. A little before noon, I turned on the television but not to hear any of the studio chatter about the tournament or the games of the day. What I needed to do was to find the channel numbers for TNT, TBS and truTV. I already know the CBS channel number because that is where I watch NFL games and college football games when I am here in Central PA. It took about 5 minutes to find all four channels and to get used to rotating among them as preparation for what was to come.
Then the games began and other than a short interlude for dinner, I was in front of that TV set until a bit after midnight when all the games had been decided. [Aside: Since yesterday was St. Patrick’s Day, my long-suffering wife prepared a corned beef and we dined on corned beef sandwiches on Jewish rye bread with coleslaw and Thousand Island dressing. YUM! ]
The early games were OK but nothing better than that; the late games were much more interesting/entertaining. I had a note pad with me and made some comments about the games as they were in progress; today’s rant will consist of me trying to make sense of my handwriting from yesterday.
Michigan/Colorado St.: David Roddy of CSU is a wide-body who is also agile with a soft shot. Charles Barkley ought to love this guy. Colorado St. was hot from 3-point range early but cooled off significantly. Michigan’s size advantage was too much.
Providence/S. Dak. St: Baylor Scheierman does about everything you would ask of a player; he led team in scoring, rebounds and assists over the season. The Providence defense is the difference here; it is just too good; S. Dak. St. finally wore down.
Memphis/Boise St.: If anyone ever asks for the definition of “helter-skelter” all you have to do is find a You Tube link for one of the Memphis games. For a while in the second half, Memphis changed styles and decided to stand around and merely observe the game. Memphis had a 19-point lead in the first half and then the game got close. Strange game…
- Program Note: There was an ad for Reese’s University involving studies of chocolate and peanut butter. People who thought that ad was “interesting” or “entertaining” have the intellectual capacity of garden tools.
Baylor/Norfolk St.: Ten years ago, Norfolk St. won a game as a 15-seed. They have represented the MEAC in the tournament in the last two years and have lost by 35 points or more both times. Baylor was bigger, quicker and had better shooters; other than that, this could have been a close game.
- Program Note: PowerAde has told me myriad times already that “Pause is Power”. What, pray tell, might that mean?
Tennessee/Longwood: At the 10:22 mark in the first half, I made this note. “Hard to imagine Tennessee finding a way to lose this one.”
Richmond/Iowa: Finally, a good game to watch… In the first half I noted this was clearly the best game of the day so far. Both teams play well at both ends of the floor. Richmond defense is tenacious; at one point, they forced two shot clock violations on two consecutive possessions. You don’t see that often. Once again, la 12-seed upsets a 5-seed!
Gonzaga/Georgia St.: Georgia St. sure looks like a more potent team as a 16-seed than Norfolk St. did. This was a 1-point game at the half and was close (Zags by 4 with 10:30 to go in the second half) until the Zags went on a 21-0 run. Zags’ center Chet Holmgren had a double-double and threatened a strange triple double because he had 7 blocked shots. However, at 7’1” and a listed weight of 189 lbs., my note on seeing him on the floor was:
“Someone get this man a sandwich; he looks like a famine victim.”
UNC/Marquette: The Tar Heels sure looked better than an 8-seed in this game and Marquette was simply outclassed.
- Random Observation: Have they repealed the 3-second rule in college basketball?
Kentucky/St. Peter’s: St. Peter’s made this into a physical, defense-oriented game and did not let Kentucky run much at all. The game was tied at the half and then it went to OT – – and St. Peter’s won as a 15-seed. That has happened before, but it has not happened to Kentucky before. This was an “OMG Game”.
New Mexico St./UConn: Late in the first half, I made this “mathematical” note:
- 2 good defensive teams + 2 mediocre offensive teams = close game
That turned out to be the case with the game tied with only 5 minutes to play. In the end, another 12-seed eliminated a 5-seed as the Aggies advanced.
Indiana/St. Mary’s: St. Mary’s led at the half and then just poured it on in the second half. The most interesting event in the game involved two Indiana cheerleaders; if you have not seen the video of that, please take a moment and check it out here.
Creighton/San Diego St.: This was an 8-seed/9-seed game, and it was close – – the way such a game should be and not at all like the UNC/Marquette game earlier. San Diego State ran out to a big lead, but Creighton closed to 7-points at the half and then sent the game to OT. My note at the end of the game was:
“Creighton pulls a rabbit out of the hat.”
Arkansas/Vermont: Arkansas has better athletes; Vermont is more fundamentally sound. This game was close all the way and fun to watch. In the end the better athletes prevailed by 4 points.
Akron/UCLA: In the first half, my note says, “It looks like UCLA just expects Akron to give up and go home.” Akron led at the half and even though UCLA won the game it was an UGLY win indeed.
San Francisco/Murray St.: I was looking forward to this game because a former colleague wrote me prior to the tournament saying that San Francisco was “really good” and could make the Sweet Sixteen. I had not seen San Francisco play, so I was intrigued. Murray St. came to the game having won 30 games in the season but was only seeded at #7 so I thought this would be an interesting game. I was right; it was close all along and then went to OT. Murray St. won the game, but San Francisco provided plenty of entertainment.
Kansas/Texas Southern: With about 12 minutes left in the first half, I wrote:
“No mystery here; game is not in doubt.”
Like the song says, “Tomorrow starts the same old thing again.” I shall be at the TV with note pad at the ready looking for more close and exciting games. Yesterday provided 5 or 6 good games to watch. Yesterday, Kentucky lost as a 2-seed; today the other three teams seeded at #2 in their bracket take the floor – – hoping not to suffer a similar fate. Those three teams are:
- Auburn – – playing Jacksonville St.
- Duke – – playing Cal St. – Fullerton
- Villanova – – playing Delaware
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………
One thought on “March Madness – Day One”
You should wrap a Rueben sandwich and FedEx it to Chet Holmgren.
And send me one, too.
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