March Madness by Abe Asher

After spending the first Thursday of the NCAA Tournament frantically refreshing the SportsCenter app in the Houston airport and begging the shambolic March Madness Live to do its job, I am keeping a diary of Friday of the tournament – basking in the glory of some 12 straight hours of buzzer-beaters, shredded brackets, cheering for guys named Shelly and Frank from schools like Nebraska and New Mexico, and generally licking my wounds.

8:31 AM – Thursday was tough. No, brutal. I lost five games: NC State choked against St. Louis, Arizona State gave up a game-winner on a loose-ball offensive rebound, I accidentally picked Cincinnati and not Harvard in my real bracket pool, my school St. Joe’s lost in overtime, and the official March Madness app told me that Ohio State beat Dayton 59-58 when in fact they lost 60-59.

Now, I’m not going to complain. I had an awesome Winterim, so awesome I can’t do it justice by summarizing it here. But I had to watch Mark Gottfried call two timeouts with three minutes left in overtime sitting on the tarmac at Bush International Airport with 3% battery on my phone. I am currently in last place in my bracket pool, and I’m a little upset about it.

8:48 AM – Matt Weiner just said, “With the exception of Warren Buffet, Doug McDermott has to be the most popular man in Creighton.” I don’t think that’s quite right.

8:51 AM – In every feature I’ve ever seen about the McDermotts, Doug mentions that he has his dad in his phone as “Coach Mac”. Awesome. I get chills every time.

8:52 AM – I know I’m late to the party, but I want to belatedly welcome people to the Only Four Days A Year That People Watch TruTV Party!

8:54 AM – First game up today is Duke against Mercer. Clark Kellogg likes Mercer, who has compared to another team that he was out in front of – Florida Gulf Coast.

8:55 AM – Clark Kellogg may also have been removed from CBS’ lead announcing team for bizarre references to pumpkins and Dunkin’ Donuts.

9:01 AM – Someone in the Atlanta studio just called Coach K the “Tom Izzo of the ACC.” Everyone cracked up.

9:03 AM – It’s never a good time to revisit the NC State debacle, but the Wolfpack blew a 16-point lead with five minutes left, missed 15 second-half free throws, and gave Rob Lowe his best gig since The West Wing.

9:05 AM – Coverage of the Duke-Mercer game just stealthily changed from TruTV to CBS. Thanks for letting everyone know!

9:08 AM – Can we have a small box in the corner of the screen replaying the Jim Boehiem physco moment from the ‘Cuse-Duke game on a loop?

9:09 AM – Charles Barkley just described Duke’s three-point shooting as “Great – inconsistent, but sometimes great.”

9:10 AM – Early leader in the clubhouse for the Dumbest Commercial of the Tournament! Jay Wright’s Dove Men’s Plus Care ad!

9:12 AM – Early shock in the Mercer – Duke game. Mercer is in Georgia!

9:13 AM – No! It couldn’t be! Jordan just threw a shirt-tag into a Cola drink in a Haines ad! Does Jay Wright have company?

9:14 AM – On the call for Mercer – Duke: Kevin Harlan. Rejoice.

9:15 AM – Mercer’s coach looks like Derrell K. Royal and is wearing a black blazer and a black turtleneck. Meanwhile, the Blue Devils are sporting some sweet throwbacks.

9:17 AM – Fast game early. Both teams have hit threes.

9:18 AM – Reggie Miller chimes in: “Duke is a mainstay because they keep reloading with players you haven’t really heard of.” Jabari Parker, anyone?

9:23 AM – Len Elmore is also here. He says, “Mercer has to recognize that every pass has to be completed.”

9:25 AM – Audi has a commercial set – I believe – to a black a capella group singing We Are The Champions.

9:26 AM – The headline today in Dayton’s paper reads: THE University of Dayton. Awesome. Eat your heart out, Aaron Craft.

9:28 AM – Tie game at 9. Meanwhile, everyone on the broadcast sans Harlan enthusiastically agrees that once a freshman plays 36 games, he is no longer a freshman.

9:31 AM – The pace has slowed for Duke and Mercer. Nebraska – Baylor tips in ten minutes.

9:33 AM – Miller says, “let’s take a look at Duke’s last two buckets” as we see a replay of a Rodney Hood steal.

9:35 AM – Duke lives and dies by the three, and they’re cold right now as Mercer leads. Perhaps that’s why Duke has been a legitimately terrible team (with the exception of their championship year) in the last decade.

9:39 AM – I’ll tell you what I’m excited for: The Reese’s College All-Star Game presented by Walmart.

9:40 AM – Nebraska – Baylor getting underway. Big game for me – I have Nebraska in a mostly muted upset pick.

9:40 AM – Game announcers: Marv Albert and Steve Kerr. Albert’s most memorable tournament moment thus far was in the Norfolk State – Missouri upset when he called Tigers star Phil Pressey “Pressley” for the entire game.

9:42 AM – Baylor wanted to wear tournament uniforms that said “Sic ‘Em Bears” on them, but the NCAA ruled that they can’t do that because it compromises the integrity of student athletes.

9:43 AM – Nebraska has a great story this year. One of the biggest turnarounds in the game under Tim Miles, whose tie goes down to his knees today.

9:44 AM – I’m going to breakfast – which, for the first time in a week – will involve fresh produce.

12:12 PM – So, anything happen while I was away?

12:15 PM – Remember when I called Duke a legitimately terrible tournament team? They lost to Mercer.

12:16 PM – Also, Nebraska never showed up against Baylor in a loss that drops me to last place in my bracket pool.

12:18 PM – On now: Tennessee up early on UMass, and New Mexico losing late in a close game against Stanford.

12:19 PM – Jim Nantz is on the call for New Mexico – Stanford, and he sounds a little awkward. I think this is the first basketball game he’s called all year.

12:19 PM – New Mexico have three white guys with ginger beards and have a uniform that came out of a 2005 LL Bean catalogue. Needless to say, I have them in the Elite Eight.

12:22 PM – !!!!!!!!!!! The new New Mexico coach has a silver mane and looks European. Why hasn’t anyone told me about this guy!?

12:25 PM – After a big Stanford three, a Lobos player took a contested 22-footer and hit the side of the backboard.

12:26 PM – New Mexico have one steal and are 3-15 from three. It’s the little things, you know?

12:28 PM – CBS just showed the UMass coach’s pregame speech. He pointed at the whiteboard and said, “I drew a little plane here in the corner because someone’s going home on this plane.” Goosebumps.

12:30 PM – I think I should mention that UMass is losing 23-12 after ten minutes.

12:33 PM – “New Mexico has gone four minutes without a field goal!”

12:35 PM – Stanford by seven…………..

12:36 PM – After the Lobos throw the ball away, gets it back, and fire off the underside of the rim, Nantz throws this gem our way: “New Mexico has lost their rhythm.”

12:40 PM – New Mexico hasn’t scored for seven minutes and their offensive possessions are making a mockery of the game of basketball.

12:41 PM – The Lobos’ new strategy is throwing the ball off Stanford’s shins. It’s working. Back-to-back kick-balls.

12:46 PM – The referees in this game have been horrible. Not as bad as New Mexico, but bad.

12:47 PM – New Mexico are playing the worst ten minutes of tournament basketball I can remember. But Stanford still hasn’t killed it off. 54-50, a minute left.

12:50 PM – Guess what!? I just noticed that Stanford is terrible too! No field goals in four minutes, and another turnover from the Lobo trap.

12:51 PM – New Mexico at the line, down four with 30 seconds left.

12:53 PM – It just took Greg Anthony 30 seconds to figure out that Kirk has two free-throws for New Mexico, not a one and one. He finally concluded that it was a shooting foul – no mention of the fact that New Mexico is in the double bonus.

12:55 PM – One and one for Stanford with 23.8 seconds to go.

12:56 PM – Made a pair.

1:03 PM – Goodbye, New Mexico.

1:04 PM – Oh, and the silver-haired European coach for the Lobos is named Greg Neal, not Florenzi Bocaccini. This day just gets worse and worse.

1:07 PM – Arizona are apparently trying to “hang on down the stretch” against Weber State. They’re up by 12. Creighton by four over ULL, and Tennessee up on UMass at the half.

1:10 PM – I hope the Buffalo Wild Wings guy chokes on a chicken wing.

1:11 PM – Down by 19, Rachael Nichols just asked the UMass coach what he told his team at halftime. I can’t be sure, but I think he said, “Someone is going home on that plane I drew, and it’s going to be us.”

1:15 PM – I have started a day 0-3 for the first time ever.

1:17 PM – After an unbelievable chase-down block by Gordon of Tennessee, Reggie Miller says “Don’t feel bad my friend, shades of Tayshawn Prince, my friend.”

1:20 PM – In honor of Otto Lamsam, I’m writing this sentence: Weber State has been eliminated from the NCAA tournament.

1:25 PM – Apparently Tim Miles was ejected from the Nebraska horror show today. He was arguing about the shot clock and left the coach’s box. Fitting.

1:31 PM – I should be clear: Yesterday hurt, but today has been crippling. Otherwise, everything is good.

1:32 PM – Harlan just read a Coke Zero ad this way: “Coke Zero wants you to know: Are you a real fan? Prove it.”

1:33 PM – Vols holding steady with a 15-point lead. Creighton up six at halftime.

1:41 PM – Slow times right now. Tennessee cruising against #20 #6 seed Massachusetts, while Kansas and Eastern Kentucky have tipped.

1:42 PM – Kansas are on their sixth uniform this year. Meanwhile, Eastern Kentucky are the Colonels. Early 10-4 lead for the #15 seed.

1:43 PM – I wish they had sent Nantz to Spokane. He could have used catchphrases like, “Higher than the Space Needle!” “You can sleep in Seattle, but it’s super in Spokane!”

1:49 PM – Only one team gets upset more on opening weekend than Duke: Kansas – who has already turned the ball over six times in the first six minutes.

1:53 PM – I’m giving my phone a day off today after a rough time yesterday. I don’t think iOS can handle March.

1:56 PM – Major upset brewing: Louisiana Lafayette is tied with Creighton.

1:57 PM – The Blue Jays are wearing the worst uniforms of the tournament so far and are 1 for 7 from the line. Rajin’ Cajuns lead.

2:04 PM – Gonzaga are out to a 9-0 lead on Oklahoma State…………………..

2:06 PM – “Luthar Luggey for… THREE!” Creighton back up by four.

2:07 PM – Lafayette’s center is a man named Davenport who may have swallowed a Brinks Truck before the game.

2:09 PM – Meanwhile, Eastern Kentucky are beating Kansas 23-14 and Bill Self just sprayed hair gel into his eyes.

2:10 PM – Has UMass fired their coach yet, or will they let him finish the game?

2:12 PM – Monster alleyoop thrown down by Wiggins. Five point game, and Nantz sounds like someone just told him he won a lifetime supply of organic chocolate.

2:14 PM – The Colonel (Eastern Kentucky’s coach) looks like John Goodman. God bless him.

2:15 PM – OSU coming back on Gonzaga, a team that stopped being cool in 2003.

2:16 PM – Conan “Dallas Week” starts soon on TBS. I wonder how Conan is enjoying The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon?

2:20 PM – Creighton has stretched their lead to eight. I wonder if other people have the coach in their phone as “Coach Mac” too?

2:21 PM –Enterprise Rent-A-Car likes to talk about how they hire more new college graduates than anyone else. Is that supposed to be a good thing?

2:24 PM – Eastern Kentucky’s lead has evaporated. Oklahoma State is down seven. I hate the tournament.

2:27 PM – Tie game at the half between the Colonels and Jayhawks. But Tracy Wolfson doesn’t seem to know that – she just ask Bill Self what adjustments his team made to take the lead going into the break.

2:28 PM – Is it possible that Michelle Obama made a cameo in the Geico basketball ad?

2:30 PM – Creighton killing the Ragin’ Cajuns off. McDermott with 28 points and a cool contacts list on his phone.

2:34 PM – They just showed John Stockton at the Gonzaga game – he’s wearing a Bulldogs pullover that he bought for $5 at Fred Meyer.

2:35 PM – “Mason Cox played SOCCER for all four years in college.”

2:40 PM – I think Gonzaga has a player named “Drankguiness”.

2:41 PM – Welcome to Let’s Take Turns Beating Marcus Smart, brought to you by Mark Few and the Gonzaga basketball team!

2:44 PM – “Oklahoma State works in spurts, and they’re on one right now, down five.” – Andrew Catalon

2:52 PM – I can’t handle this. I’m have PTSD from the New Mexico – Stanford game. I’m going outside.

4:16 PM – I really enjoyed watching Eastern Kentucky run out of steam against Kansas and the referees call 3243525435 fouls in the Oklahoma State – Gonzaga game. What’s next?

4:17 PM – Yes, Reggie Miller just compared Memphis’ offense to that of the Philadelphia Eagles.

4:18 PM – I would switch back to the OSU – Zags game, but the game is stopped because the referees wore through their whistles and are trying to procure new ones.

4:19 PM – Always amazed when watching the tournament how many free throws are missed in college.

4:20 PM – Catalon furiously backtracking from his earlier “Hack-A-Polak” comment. That might cost him.

4:21 PM – Marcus Smart is done as a college basketball player. He was a huge talent who underachieved for Oklahoma State.

4:22 PM – Catalon apologizes again for “Hack-A-Polak”. His partner, Mike Giminski, says “It’s okay, I’ll protect you.” Does Giminski know we can hear him?

4:23 PM – Pokes – Zags had 61 fouls and one “Hack-A-Polak”.

4:25 PM – I’m still watching this OK State game. Does anyone have some Clorox I can drink?

4:26 PM – I have been burned by Ohio State, NC State, Duke, Oklahoma State, St. Joe’s, Arizona State… Ah I give up.

4:30 PM – Catalon says that the UNC – Providence game will be on TNT once the current game is over, and Giminski replies, “That might be in the next half-hour.”

4:32 PM – This game holds the record for the most fouls in a non-overtime tournament game since 1975.

4:33 PM – Another game, another loss. Thank you, Oklahoma State.

4:34 PM – Kerr says he’s taking it “one comment at a time” for the UNC-Providence game. He thinks he’s funny.

4:36 PM – Memphis up ten early on a little school they call George Washington. The Tigers are doing it for King George III.

4:42 PM – “Dixon!… Jackson!… Johnson!” Long live Kevin Harlan.

7:09 PM – 4 for 4 in the late games! I’d especially like to say thank you to Memphis for only choking themselves into the hospital and not to death.

7:10 PM – I have to say I felt pangs of sorrow for the poor Providence coach with no hair when a couple of foul calls went against his team late and he was frantically making the traveling motion with his hands.

7:11 PM – As Stephan F. Austin and VCU come down to the wire, I’m reminded that Andrew Catalon said “Hack-A-Polak” on air earlier.

7:13 PM – I really enjoy fouls. I wish there were more of them in basketball.

7:15 PM – I really enjoy it when star players foul out late in games. I wish that happened more.

7:18 PM – Is Stephan F. Austin’s coach Stephan F. Austin?

7:20 PM – Meanwhile, Shaka Smart is still at VCU. He’s the last of the young wizard coaches at their original school after Brad Stevens left for the Boston Celtics.

7:21 PM – 29-21 Costal Carolina!

7:24 PM – Every time the announcers read the ad for the bracket game on CBS and start with, “I bet your bracket is busted already”, I feel a little bit offended.

7:26 PM – Unbelievable: VCU misses two free throws up by four, Stephan F. Austin comes down the floor, hits a contested three and is fouled. Game riding on the upcoming free throw.

7:27 PM – Made it. Overtime.

7:29 PM – So, Daniel Webster… How do you feel about this Stephan F. Austin thing?

7:30 PM – Giminski says that SFA is “reenergized”. The OT marks the first time since the comment that Catalon isn’t thinking about the comment.

7:32 PM – Meanwhile, #16 Costal Carolina is up 31-21 on #1 Virginia…

7:36 PM – This VCU – SFA game is great. Best game of the tournament so far.

7:38 PM – 14.0 seconds left. Two-point SFA lead. VCU ball, timeout. #notthinkingaboutthecommment

7:39 PM – And when you eat wild berries, you chase butterflies into something highly illegal. Don’t chase butterflies into something highly illegal.

7:40 PM – Every kind of fan loves half-priced apps.

7:41 PM – Stephan F. Austin wins their 29th in a row, their first tournament game, and Otis Livingston is at midcourt. Great game.

7:48 PM – I think Marv Albert just said “Iowa State has come on to North Carolina Central.”

7:50 PM – Every time I see Roy Williams I think of this quote: “I’m tired of talking about free throws. You have to be tough enough to step up and make the daggone thing or go play soccer.”

7:52 PM – The Mayor, Fred Hoiberg takes timeout as NC Central has cut ISU’s lead to one. NC Central’s coach is 39 year old LeVelle Moton, whose young son was hospitalized last night.

7:56 PM – John Calipari vs. Bruce Weber may be the most lopsided coaching matchup in tournament history – but at least K-State is in the tournament. Frank Martin, how are you doing?

7:59 PM – Wait – I forgot about the Mark Gottfried against anyone.

8:00 PM – No, I’m not bitter. Not at all.

8:01 PM – I know the first three things I’d do if I was watching a game and saw Chris Webber.

1: Say, “Chris Webber, we’re trying to watch the game!”

2. Scream, “Chris Webberrrrr!!!!” like a 12 year old girl.

3. Hold up my Burger King bag and tell him about the five for two deal.

8:03 PM – Banter from the Atlanta studio as we see UCLA take the court: “Didn’t John Wooden used to coach there?” “Yes, I believe he did.”

8:05 PM – If I was Kevin Harlan and had to work with Miller, Elmore, and Nichols for twelve hours straight, I’d start drinking during games.

8:07 PM – But at least Miller and Elmore aren’t acting like they want to kill each other this year.

8:08 PM – I love Costal Carolina. They’re running the havoc offense.

8:09 PM – Miller says that, “Costal Carolina are putting all the pressure on Virginia right now” after two fouls on Costal and in the midst of Virginia’s run to take the lead.

8:14 PM – Virginia killing it now. I wonder if they might blow a 16-point lead in the last five minutes? Or is it just NC State that does that?

8:18 PM – Roy Williams just called Bryce Cotton a “sneaky little rascal” in his post-game presser.

8:20 PM – By the way, if you didn’t call Stephan F. Austin over VCU, go play soccer.

8:24 PM – If you didn’t call Mercer over Duke, go play indoor soccer.

8:25 PM – Kentucky looking solid. On Sunday, they knock off Wichita State.

8:26 PM – From afar, Bruce Weber looks like a leprechaun version of Jay Leno.

8:29 PM – Costal Carolina’s shade of aqua-meridian is exquisite.

8:32 PM – I’ve missed Tim Brando announcing the tournament this year. He loves college sports, and doesn’t have a job right now.

8:37 PM – Bruce Weber looks like he’s working out to a Jane Fonda video on the Wildcats’ sideline.

8:40 PM – Costal Carolina are melting away. One of these days we’ll get a 16 over a 1.

8:45 PM – Tweet from Andrew Catalon, who had a nightmare day: “I am truly sorry and I have personally spoken and apologized to Przemek Karnowski, who was very gracious in accepting my apology.”

8:46 PM – This was the best opening round of the tournament I can remember. Too bad it’s about to be over.

8:50 PM – In college hoops, there is an officials timeout at eight minutes left in the second half. Jim Nantz loves this time. He talks about “the under eight timeout” whenever he gets the chance.

8:58 PM – Actually, Jim, the possession can’t stay with a team. It doesn’t have a mind of its own.

9:04 PM – I remember UCLA playing in a late game on Friday last year with Ben coaching his last game for the Bruins. Far cry from that now – UCLA up at the half over Steve Alford, who somehow escaped his old job at New Mexico with his hair intact.

9:06 PM – BREAKING: Andrew Catalon has not been fired. #thecomment

9:08 PM – After the games are over, we have Inside March Madness with the Atlanta studio. No thank you.

9:10 PM – Despite a gruesome morning where there was blood and gore, I went 7 for 8 in the late games and will live to fight another day. See you tomorrow.


4:52 PM – Now that the Timbers have capitulated in Colorado, I can begin in earnest my Saturday NCAA Tournament diary.

4:53 PM – Earlier today, three walkovers for heavy favorites Florida, Louisville, and Michigan.

4:56 PM – Best local newspaper headline from day two of the tourney: “Stephan F. Awesome!”

5:04 PM – Doug Gottlieb is the color guy for the North Dakota State – San Diego State game. He had two memorable moments last year. “How was the play Mrs. Lincoln?” and “I’m here to provide a white guy’s perspective.”

5:06 PM – Every time I see Dana Altman, he strikes me as a very cool guy. Go Ducks.

5:07 PM – Fireworks earlier today in the New York studio when Barkley started screaming, “I hate strenc of schedule!” at Kenny Smith and Clark Kellogg.

5:08 PM – Altman rips off his jacket. The game hasn’t even started yet.

5:09 PM – I have a feeling that Jamie Dixon will look exactly like Bo Ryan does now in 20 years.

5:11 PM – I check back in every year, and no, Wisconsin still doesn’t have any black guys.

5:13 PM – I’ve heard a lot about the Badgers being soft inside. Their power forward just dunked a ball off the back of the rim.

5:14 PM – I love that play from Ben Brust where he slowly pump fakes, steps behind the three point line, and misses. It’s a focal point of Wisconsin’s attack.

5:15 PM – As an Oregon fan, I’m really glad that this game is being played at a neutral court in Milwaukie.

5:16 PM – Ernie Johnson just said to Buzz Williams, “congratulations on your new job with Virginia Tech!” with as much enthusiasm as humanly possible.

5:18 PM – Wait… Buzz Williams left Marquette for Virginia Tech!?

5:18 PM – I also just learned that Bo Ryan has only been at Wisconsin for 13 years. Very surprising.

5:21 PM – Jason Calliste of Oregon is wearing a long-sleeve black undershirt. You don’t see that every day.

5:23 PM – For the first time in the tournament, I’m listening to Vern Lundquist and Bill Raftery. It’s a beautiful thing.

5:24 PM – Here’s Raftery: “Feisty play, and THE BIG GUY, hanging around!”

5:25 PM – I’d like to mention here that my dad picked American in this Oregon-Wisconsin game.

5:26 PM – Hey! Bo Ryan has that look like he’s going to hurt your family again!

5:28 PM – The referees have spent the last three minutes in the Dayton – ‘Cuse game reviewing something, but no one knows what.

5:29 PM – Ah! It’s an elbow from a Syracuse player! A loss for them would be huge for me here; I had Ohio State in this game.

5:33 PM – Bo Ryan is making scary windmills with his arms and shoulders. He wins the Jerry Tarkanian Coach Most Likely To Run The New York Mob award.

5:35 PM – Thanks to this incessantly played Samsung ad, I’m now convinced that the first item in the commercial is a laptop.

5:37 PM – While Jim Boehiem holds his nose on the Syracuse bench, I’m reminded of the time his wife said in an interview that he freaks out if she hasn’t laid his suit out four hours before a game.

5:38 PM – Gold from Raftery: “You have to get down, play dirty – I know they’ve never had lunch buckets, but…”

5:40 PM – Speaking of Boeheim’s suits: I hate that the color of his blazers never matches the color of his pants.

5:41 PM – Absolute slugfest between Dayton and Syracuse. Flyers by three.

5:44 PM – “The GOOD ONES find somebody, SEND IT IN Gbinjie, with the kiss!” – Raftery

5:48 PM – I think commercials have gotten worse in my lifetime. Is that possible?

5:50 PM – After a loose-ball goes out of bounds, the referee points to the spot where it was last touched for five seconds, then throws his shoulder out giving it to Syracuse. Raftery: “Indecisive, or dramatical?”

5:54 PM – I’ve actually been to Buffalo Wild Wings, and it’s good. Really. I know you never want to go there after seeing their commercials, but trust me.

5:56 PM – Dayton on the verge of a total collapse against Syracuse. And my day had been going so well.

6:00 PM – Time for dinner.

6:15 PM – Dayton by three with 40.5 seconds. Great game.

6:16 PM – Dayton player calls timeout as he is falling out of bounds. Lundquist describes it this way: “A little Fred Austere.” One more of those and Boeheim rips his jacket off.

6:19 PM – ‘Cuse at the line after a drive by Ennis, down three with 24 seconds left. Dayton out of timeouts.

6:21 PM – 52-51. Dayton has a one and one. They’ve been terrible from the line all night.

6:22 PM – Made two. 22.4 seconds left, Syracuse timeout.

6:24 PM – Quick two for the Orange. One point game again.

6:26 PM – Dayton steps out of bounds. ‘Cuse ball.

6:27 PM – Ennis misses! Dayton, in the double bonus, fouled with 6.5 seconds to go.

6:27 PM – Ennis misses a three for the game at the buzzer! Dayton wins!

6:28 PM – Raftery: “The Flyers! No capes, but they are on fire.” The guy who is feeling worst is the ‘Cuse coach who wiped out on the bench as the last three was in the air.

6:31 PM – What else is going on? Wisconsin fans are becoming unhinged with the officiating as Oregon has a double-digit lead. Michigan State is up 14 on an overmatched Harvard.

6:33 PM – Jason “Long Sleeves” Calliste has 16 points – he’s 3-3 from the field and 9-9 from the line.

6:34 PM – Wisconsin pulling back in. Things are getting a little feisty. Like they say, it’s always hard playing on the road in the NCAA Tournament.

6:36 PM – Huge Badger run. Altman should have called timeout about three possessions ago. Eagle takes it break this way: “A Badger bellage!”

6:37 PM – No, bellage is not a word.

6:40 PM – At the end of the half in the Michigan State – Harvard game, an MSU basket was questionably ruled out. As the sideline reporter pulled Tom Izzo over while he was screaming expletives at the referee, he was asked about the call. His response: “I’m fine.” Classic.

6:43 PM – Coming up next on TNT, it’s Inside March Madness with the Atlanta studio. Nope!

6:46 PM – Wisconsin takes the lead. It’s their first since it was 10-9.

6:49 PM – Oregon falling apart. Crowd in a frenzy.

6:50 PM – Dear AT&T, I’m with Verizon. And that won’t be changing anytime soon based on your tournament commercials.

6:51 PM – Can’t get enough of the Masters ads though.

6:55 PM – I think we should make it clear that the Final Four this year is in North Texas, not Dallas.

7:00 PM – He’s a 6’8 forward from your alma mater.

7:01 PM – Oregon – Wisconsin is shaping up to be another thriller. 67-65 Badgers with under eight minutes to go.

7:06 PM – Still a two-point game. Nail-biter.

7:10 PM – Ducks get fouled three times on one possession, get into the bonus, bit two free-throws, and retake the lead.

7:22 PM – This Ducks game has taken my diary out of circulation, but I will say that after giving Wisconsin four shots on a single possession that was split up by a timeout that resulted in a three for Ben Brust, I’m not sure they deserve to win.

7:23 PM – However, Wisconsin definitely deserves to lose because Bo Ryan is wearing a tie with the team logo on it.

7:32 PM – Oregon’s collapse is complete. They were catastrophically bad early and late in the second half. Wisconsin moves on. Final score: 85-77.

7:34 PM – Meanwhile, Michigan State is having a minor meltdown against Harvard. It’s a one-point game.

7:36 PM – Harvard leads for the first time.

7:37 PM – I hate this tournament.

7:39 PM – I also hate Doug Gottlieb.

7:40 PM – And Mark Gottfried.

7:40 PM – I should go play soccer… Unless Kentucky beats Wichita State for me tomorrow… A few results and I’m right back in heavy contention.

7:42 PM – Dear Tommy Ameker, You have to wear a tie. All serious coaches wear ties. The only serious coach who didn’t wear a tie was Rick Majerus, and if you just want to wear a sweater on the sideline, then that works too.

7:44 PM – Jake from State Farm? At 2:00 in the morning? What are you wearing, “Jake from State Farm!?”

7:48 PM – Michigan State have recovered nicely, but are still laboring against Harvard. It’s a five-point game with under three to go.

7:52 PM – It looks like the Spartans will hang on. Last game of the night is a competitive one in Buffalo between old Big East rivals UConn and Villanova.

7:59 PM – MSU has closed it out. I flipped to halftime of ‘Nova-UConn to find the Atlanta studio showing photo-shopped pictures.

8:00 PM – Grant Hill on Dayton: “They have a lot of heart. They compete. They’re competitors.” That’s why we call him an analyst.

8:01 PM – He also said, “A nice little turnover by your guy Scoochi.” Okay.

8:13 PM – I went into a quasi-coma during the halftime show. Ok now, and listening to Lundquist say “Archidiacano” is television gold.

8:14 PM – After a Raftery Ramble that didn’t make much sense, Lundquist says, “I understood everything you just said,” to which Raftery replied, “Well then Vern, you’re a changed man. Not an educated one, mind you…” I love these people.

8:15 PM – This is about Raftery’s average comment: “I just like the read… SOLID OUT OF THE GATE!”

8:16 PM – This could be another great game. Teams going back and forth as the Huskies lead by three. That’s it for the diary. I leave you with this from Raftery: “English! Willy Mosconi at his best!”

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