Friday, March 13, 2009


I've been waiting for the start of the NCAA Basketball Tournament since the end of the Carolina-Duke game last Sunday.
the conference tournaments are fine and all, but my team is a lock for a number one seed and I will neither live nor die (though I would live to see Auburn make it and I watched with interest as my alma mater turned in an extremely sloppy game against Western Kentucky in the conference (if you can call the Sun Belt a conference) championship, but really they shouldn't even have been there) because of bubble teams bursting.

and simply put, the three days of the year it doesn't suck to be unemployed or a freelancer (six of one, half dozen of the other) are the first two days of the NCAA Basketball Tournament (next Thursday and Friday beginning at noon Eastern) and Opening Day of baseball season.
it's like built-in hooky.
like you're getting away with something.

and so I tried not to stress too much that no one (not ESPN or any of the six or so regional Fox Sports channels I can get on cable thanks to an extra $3.95 a month) chose to show Depaul's first conference win of the year on Tuesday.

and I tried not to be disappointed that yesterday's games were so, well, awful (your honor, I enter into evidence St. John's 10-point first half at home in the Garden against Marquette).
you know it's a weak day for conference tournaments when Robert Morris' last second win is the runaway champ for game of the day.

but Thursday.
oh, man.
not that I sat around all day watching basketball.
oh, no.
I left the house for the first time in three days. took a lengthy nap (that was still not enough). and tuned into Jon Stewart's verbal spanking of Jim Cramer on the Daily Show (to be fair, Cramer was taking one for the team. his only possible rebuttal - "I'm not a journalist" - was not a place he could really go (though he came close) when he said he was "a commentator" who hosted "an entertaining program on business. instead he just reiterated that he couldn't have been in cahoots with these fat cat Wall Streeters (I'm using the lingo here) because so many of them lied to him.
and "I'm a victim, too" just really isn't going to work here.
it'll be interesting to see what position CNBC takes as a network when they go back to broadcasting tomorrow morning, because they can't just not mention Cramer's appearance and his many mea culpas and promises to do better.

but back to basketball.
Baylor beats Kansas and Oklahoma State beats Oklahoma (in Oklahoma City) so the top two seeds in the Big 12 are gone.
Georgia Tech took out Clemson in the ACC, but the real games were in the Big East.
West Virginia beat Pittsburgh (who I think have as good a shot as anyone to win it all) and the conclusion of Marquette-Villanova (despite 'Nova leading by 16 at the half) was a shocking classic as Marquette's Jerel McNeal fell asleep while watching the ball and allowed Dwayne Anderson to sneak behind him for a last-second layup win.

and that would've been enough for the day, but after the Daily Show ended I switched over to check out the last four or so minutes of Syracuse-UConn (neither of which are my favorite programs).
and the thing goes on for another hour or so.
six overtimes.
longest Big East game in history.
first six-overtime game in either program's history.
second longest NCAA Division I game ever.
almost 100 free throws.
nearly four hours to play (which is almost as long as I was in the Garden for Neil Young).
seven guys foul out.
they're playing walk-ons with less than 60 minutes of court time for the entire season.
and the walk-ons hold their own.
UConn slips the noose when, upon further review, Devendorf's three-point jumper at the end of regulation is still on his fingertips when the end game light comes on.
then Syracuse avoids death repeatedly through the first five overtimes.
the Orangemen never gain a lead until the sixth when they score the first 8 points. at which point UConn's remaining players deflated like Macy's ballons on Thanksgiving night. I mean, the air just went out.
but who can blame them.
Syracuse point guard Jonny Flynn should win tournament MVP for just this one night. 34 points, 11 assists and 16 for 16 from the foul line, with most of those coming in the never-ending, hyper-intensive extra periods.

hell of a game.

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