Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Running Diary - Day 1 of the NCAA Tournament

It was a long day, but I'm glad I gave it a shot. Here is my running diary - starting at 10am and ending around 11:30pm today.

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The games have begun! I hope to watch every single game today - it’s been a few years since I’ve been able to do that. Back in 2009 my Dad and I got Subway footlongs, sat on the couch, and watched tons of Thursday basketball. This year I have stuff to do, but I can keep the TV on all day!


10:15am Ohio State and Dayton kick off. I already wish they would shut up about Aaron Craft.


10:36am Dayton is leading by 4. I think Dayton is more excited about this matchup than OSU, considering a few of those Dayton players might have wanted to be recruited by Ohio State.


10:39am Trying to get my Kindle Fire back up and running after the magazine apps decided to crash on me. Amazon was pretty much no help and just told me to do a factory reset.


10:40am OSU has taken the lead. American and Wisconsin are tipping off...in Milwaukee! I would totally be there if I was still in Wisconsin. Especially because the game after this one is Michigan vs. Wofford.


10:47am American is holding its own in the first five minutes of the game, even in a sea of red-shirted fans.


10:53am American and Dayton doing great. Amazon still not.


11:00am Dayton-OSU at halftime, with Dayton leading! Wisconsin hasn’t scored in a while.


11:02am Never mind - just hit a three.


11:10am Bo Ryan always looks angry.


11:13am I am now chatting with my seventh Amazon representative.


11:16am You know what stinks? Wisconsin travels an hour and plays in a very pro-WIsconsin crowd in Milwaukee. Meanwhile, UW-Milwaukee makes the tournament by winning their conference, and they have to play in Buffalo.


11:19am Wisconsin now has a four-point lead. OSU is returning from halftime. My big dilemma… root for the underdog or root for the Big Ten? My Dad would say there is no question: Big Ten. It’s a little harder for me.


11:26am The Badgers are now up by ten at halftime.


11:27am I wonder what the kids do in their time off of basketball while they are in a host city? Do they go out and celebrate? Do they have to stay shut up in their hotels? Are they more excited to hear they’re going to Orlando than the fact that they are actually IN the tournament?


11:35am Grant Hill is doing analysis! He needs to wear more teal.


11:36am CBS is interviewing Dayton player’s sister, who has Down Syndrome. She seems pretty great! Now she’ll be on all the morning shows.


11:46am OSU has taken the lead. Dayton’s run might be at an end.


11:48am Fun fact: I picked Pittsburgh.


11:54am Five minutes gone and Colorado STILL hasn’t scored.


11:57am Time for breakfast! I decided on Cheerios: my Breakfast of Champions.


12:05pm Ouch - Craft gets an intentional foul for OSU and Dayton gets two free shots and the ball. Now Dayton is up by 3.


12:08pm I’ve been working with the same Amazon rep for an hour now. We seemed to have found the problem. Thank goodness! My Kindle hasn’t been updated. Working on it now.


12:09pm Dayton’s Devin Oliver gets “fouled” and gets 2 shots in the double bonus. Misses them both.


12:12pm Pittsburgh is up 33-9 with 4 minutes left. I can’t remember a more lopsided 8/9 game!


12:13pm OSU’s Shannon Scott just fouled Dayton’s DyShawn Pierre as he shot a 3-pointer.  By the way - I spelled “DyShawn” really badly the first time around. Glad I checked it.


12:15pm Pierre is perfect from the line. OSU gets the last shot.


12:17pm Craft hits a layup, but gives Dayton 15 seconds to work with.


12:19pm Oh! Oh! Oh! Dayton wins! Apparently there are no other OSU players besides Aaron Craft, because Craft had to go up against Vee Sanford, who hit the layup, and then Craft tried to get the layup but was triple-teamed to prevent him from getting close to the basket. His layup rolled off the rim. I’m okay with this loss. Goodbye Aaron Craft.


12:41pm Not much going on right now - two blowouts and Harvard/Cincinnati.


12:49pm Harvard was the underdog picked most by bracket people. And by “bracket people” I mean anyone who filled out a bracket. Which was pretty much everyone.


1:16pm Rooting for Western Michigan against Syracuse, though it’s unlikely they’ll win.


1:17pm Time for a workout!


1:32pm So the BYU/Oregon game is taking place in Milwaukee, where 80% of the fans are Badgers, and 19% are Wolverines, leaving 1% for everyone else. So how does it feel for those BYU and Oregon players when they are essentially playing in an arena where no one is rooting for either team? That’s gotta be weird.


1:43pm Ugh...Pitt/Colorado is FINALLY over. It took long enough for that mercy killing.


2:22pm Workout complete. Watched BYU/Oregon (where that guy was NOT out of bounds when he threw the ball in), Harvard/Cincinnati, and Western Michigan/Syracuse.


2:23pm I don’t know whether to root for or against Tommy Amaker, former coach of Michigan and current coach of Harvard. He wasn’t that great with Michigan, but he wasn’t half as horrible as Brian Ellerbe (remember him?). I guess I’m glad he found a place where his system thrives, and I’m elated to have John Beilein.


2:25pm Lunchtime! Snacking on carrots, an apple, and a banana. I’ll probably throw in some cottage cheese as a treat.


2:30pm Nice job, Harvard. Way to make people go, “I picked Harvard!” and everyone else go, “So what? I did too!”


2:32pm Hey - I picked Harvard!


2:33pm I also picked Ohio State to go to the Elite Eight.


2:43pm Florida and Albany are tied at 26 with 6 minutes to play. Hmm…


2:44pm Albany’s yellow-butt jerseys are UGLY. Who thought that was a good choice of uniform? Really!


2:54pm Speaking of butts, (just go with me here) when I taught kindergartners, I would have them come up to my desk and I would give them the two choices of teams, and they’d tell me which one I should write down. Some were repeated back to me in humorous ways (“Motor Dame”), but there was one team they always said right: Butler. And many of them picked Butler...because it has the word “but” in it. And it made them laugh.
What made me laugh was that was the year Butler made the championship game. So I had a lot of 5- and 6-year-old brackets that were way better than mine.


2:57pm BYU hits a three to come within three of Oregon. This game has been all over the place - sometimes it’s close, sometimes it’s a 12-point gap.


2:58pm Does Billy Donovan own any suit jackets or blazers? (That’s like asking if Jim Tressel owns any sweaters with sleeves.)


3:00pm Florida up by only 6 at the half. Will this turn into BYU/Oregon? Or American/Wisconsin?


3:02pm Need to run an errand. Back in a bit!


4:46pm And I’m back! Let’s see what’s been happening...MSU is taking care of Delaware, Syracuse took care of Western Michigan...Florida did pull it out over Albany...and my BYU upset of Oregon didn’t happen. Oh well.


5:12pm Aaaaaaand the Michigan game is on!


5:24pm Michigan does so much passing outside the three-point line because they’re so predictable. Jordan Morgan does his best (and he’s way better than he was two years ago) but Michigan needs some more Big Man presence!


5:31pm I usually designate Michigan game time as “cleaning, cooking, or baking time.” This allows me to stay busy and not freak out over minor hiccups or complete stupidity by my favorite team. Today I’m cleaning.


5:36pm I’d just like to mention that after watching their championship game on Sunday, I did pick St. Joseph’s over UConn.


6:04pm Michigan is up by 14 at the half, but still not throttling Wofford. That’s probably why I don’t have Michigan getting past the Sweet Sixteen this year.


6:10pm NC State is leading Saint Louis (St. Louis?) at the half, which isn’t good for me. North Dakota State is leading Oklahoma early on, which is good for me!


6:11pm Just saw the new E*Trade commercial where they give the baby a sidekick - a singing cat named Beanie! Two reactions: “What the heck?!” and “A singing cat?! Awesome!!!”


6:29pm St. Joe’s commits a faux pas as a St. Joe’s player tries to pass across to the guard...except the guard didn’t get past half court in time. They were only down one at the time - not good.


6:30pm Pizza time! Cleaning is done - the place looks far better than it did before.


6:45pm I said Jordan Morgan was better than last year...I didn’t say that I liked him. He still bugs me. One defensive play, his way of helping out a driving Wofford player was squatting down and reaching out his arm. Just MOVE already! (And that goes for all Wolverine players on offense too!)


6:50pm A Wofford shot gets stuck in the top of the backboard. Which is pretty much impossible. Which is why it’s so hilarious. They had to get a ladder to get it down! (Cut down the nets!)


7:04pm Got to watch the last few seconds of St. Joe’s/UConn regulation, where UConn lucked out with an And-1 with five seconds left. St. Joe’s and UConn both had chances to hit final shots, but neither were good. OT, folks!


7:06pm Michigan didn’t make this easy, but it’s a 17-point win. For a finesse team who excels at shooting long range, they better get those shots from the start of the next game.


7:09pm Meanwhile, North Dakota State is still beating Oklahoma. Of course, there’s still seventeen minutes left. A lot can happen!


7:30pm Aw, St. Joe’s blew it. There was no going back after regulation ended.


7:34pm Saint Louis has tied it up!!!! Way to just race to the basket and not set anything up.


7:35pm But make your free throws! Geez!


7:37pm More overtime!


7:44pm Saint Louis player named Jordair Jett raced down the court, but lost the ball. The announcer goes, “He has turned on the jets, no pun intended.” Um, of course it was intended! Don’t fool yourself.


7:57pm Ack! I keep forgetting about North Dakota State/Oklahoma. Looks like Oklahoma has pulled ahead. I’m still focused on this NC State/Saint Louis game.


8:00pm They were losing by 16, but Saint Louis pulled it off in OT. It almost is like they were the underdog - they’re the 5 seed!


8:18pm More overtime!!


8:24pm Oh man this North Dakota State team is fun to watch!


8:35pm Milwaukee leading Villanova. This won’t last very long.


9:20pm Manhattan/Louisville has to be the most boring game of the day. Neither team has broke 30 points and it’s almost halftime.


9:23pm Texas is doing exactly what it should be doing: winning!


9:54pm Uh-oh.


10:00pm Oh man!! A game that didn’t seem like it could even become competitive turns into the game with the last second bunny shot! Way to go Texas!


10:03pm I am now entering my twelfth hour of basketball viewing. I have been watching basketball from four different locations featuring sixteen different teams. I understand why the arenas now seem strangely quiet while these last games are being played. People are tired.


10:16pm Heh...if Louisville wins, they will play Saint Louis. It will be the Battle of the Louises!


10:22pm New Mexico State has Goliath on their team. He’s three times the size of a normal man.


10:29pm I’m glad I stuck with these last two games - I could have gone to bed, but these games have gotten really exciting!


10:53pm Just realized I have Louisville going pretty far. I should probably start rooting for them.


11:02pm Louisville is pulling away. Glad to see it! At least it’ll make up for New Mexico State unable to get a head of San Diego State.


11:20pm And that’s it! The games are over for the day! I hope you enjoyed whatever games you were able to watch today. Hopefully they were as good as Dayton/Ohio State or Arizona State/Texas!

11:14pm Okay, that last entry was fake. I was trying to wrap it up so I could quickly post it and go to bed sooner. Then SDSU botched the entry pass and turned it right back over to New Mexico State, and their best 3-point shooter got two chances to tie, which he did the second time around!
11:16pm I can't remember another Tournament Day where there were more overtime games. There've been five in one day!
11:34pm Okay, NOW that's the end! And some of you might inquire, "You watched hours and hours of Olympic coverage - why are you so tired from one day of the Tournament?" Well, today was the equivalent of watching fourteen straight hours of cross-country skiing. That's why it's different! Good night, everyone!

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