NCAA Tournament Thoughts: Day One, Early Session

March 19, 2009 – 11:35 am by Ryan Phillips

I guess you could call this a running diary, but it’s really more just my thoughts as the games progress. There will be very little rhyme or reason to the updates, they’ll just arrive as things come into the cosmic skull jelly that rests between my ears. Enjoy.

Games on right now are: Butler/LSU, Memphis/Cal State Northridge, BYU/Texas A&M

12:36 P.M. – Someone in the bar I’m at just asked if it bothered me that 2/3rds of Butler’s roster should probably be playing at Indiana. *Sigh* No, not in the least bit. I love our scrappy players and our newly clean program and love watching coach Crean build it from the ground up *double sigh*. I mean we won a whole six games this year!

12:41 – So if you go to Cal State Northridge, do you just walk around waiting for the next earthquake to hit? I grew up in California, I’m pretty accustomed to acts of God, but even I wouldn’t spend four minutes in Northridge. Do you think the residents just walk around in a constant state of flinch?

12:49 – Anyone else think Jim Nantz just feels lost without Billy Packer?

12:52 – Texas A&M is currently up 26-8 on BYU. Off the top of my head I can’t think of a college basketball game I’d enjoy watching less than that one other than any Indiana game this year.

12:54 – I’d just like to add that BYU got in over San Diego State after the Aztecs beat them in the Mountain West tournament. Nope, not bitter at all. Enjoy the NIT Aztecs fans!

1:04 – Watching the LSU game reminded me that last year the Tigers’ coach, Trent Johnson was at Stanford and pulled one of the rarest moves in NCAA Tournament history. Johnson got ejected with 3:36 left in the first half of Stanford’s second round game against Marquette. I can’t remember another coach ever getting ejected during the tournament. I’m sure it’s happened but it’s gotta be one of the rarest things in sports, right?

1:10 – During Matt Howard’s senior year of high school The Baker had occasion to cover one of his games. After I told him I was bummed Howard had selected Butler over Indiana, he proceeded to tell me that Howard was only alright and would suck in college. Howard averaged 14.6 points and 6.7 rebounds this year as a sophomore. The Baker’s analysis = Fail.

Speaking of which, LSU enters the half with a 35-29 lead over the Bulldogs.

1:20 – Texas A&M leads BYU at the half 42-30. Even typing that sentence made me yawn.

1:21 – Cal State Northridge is hanging around with Memphis, they’re down just 34-31 at the half. Memphis is playing undisciplined, fouling a lot, turning the ball over and not guarding particularly well. Shocking.

A Northridge win would certainly shake up the tournament and bring a lot of people’s brackets tumbling down. Personally mine would be a huge pile of rubble.

Am I a horrible person because I’m making earthquake jokes or am I a horrible person who happens to be making earthquake jokes?

1:30 – Anyone else get really into the games when they’re on, then when they all go to the half at the same time you get the feeling like you’re starting to sober up in the middle of a night out? Rallying from that is always tough, you decide to down like 3 drinks in succession, end up really drunk really fast. Then the next thing you know you’re waking up in a dumpster in Hoboken. I know I’m not the only one that’s happened to, right?

1:37 – Somebody woke up the Butler. The Bulldogs are down just 1 right now. Their comeback was led by Matt Howard … FUCK! good for him.

1:39 – Wow, I was burned out on those John Mellencamp “This Is Our Country” Chevy commercials two years ago. Now I’m openly hostile towards them.


1:44 – Butler just went ahead 42-41 on a backdoor alley-oop. Athleticism at Butler? Next you’re going to tell me the Hoosiers are the sixth best basketball team in Indiana.

1:48 – Christ, Howard is an academic All-American too. Does he dress up in costume by nightfall and fight for truth, justice and the American way?

1:51 – Northridge actually tied Memphis at 40, but before I could do an update they were down 3 again.

1:52 – After and ill-advised 3-pointer from Memphis missed, Northridge answered with an ill-advised 3 that went in. 44-43 Northridge leads. For the first time in his life the look on John Calipari’s face is less than confident. I love March.


1:57 – Butler back in front of LSU 54-53 on a layup from someone other than Matt Howard.

2:04 – I can’t keep up with this Northridge/Memphis game. It’s 56-56 but it seems like they’re both just scoring at will. By the way, friend of the site Thporth is at the game. He claims everyone there not from Memphis is rooting hard for Northridge. 62-56 CSN with just over 10 minutes left.

2:11 – LSU is getting rescued by some timely 3-pointers. 63-58 LSU with just about four minutes left.

2:14 – For those who like average basketball, Texas A&M is up 72-57 on BYU with five minutes remaining.

2:17 – LSU and Memphis are starting to look like they’re settling into solid leads. Memphis up by 6 with four minutes left, LSU up 6 with 1:45 left.

2:21 – Howard just fouled out for Butler. Game over. 68-63 with 35 seconds left.

2:42 – Just left the bar and headed home for the later games. Good early round action so far. Memphis, Texas A&M and LSU Advance.

Coming up now: Purdue/Northern Iowa, Maryland/California, Connecticut/Chattanooga and North Carolina/Radford.

2:48 – I’m going to avoid the Purdue game as much as possible but because I live in Indiana that will be nearly impossible. Ugh.

2:59 – I can’t get over how much Purdue coach Matt Painter looks like Shane McMahon. It’s uncanny.

3:14 – Purdue up 32-20 at the half. Way to show up Northern Iowa. UConn and North Carolina are playing close with the 16 seeds, because that’s what 1 seeds do.

3:28 – Cal vs. Maryland is on here. How is this game supposed to be more compelling than watching the first half of either of the 1 seeds?

3:45 – Northern Iowa has closed to within 10 of Purdue. Yippie. These second session games have been the definition of disappointing.

3:56 – UConn 42, Chattanooga 17 with 2:40 to go in the 1st. Ouch.

4:10 – Northern Iowa still hanging around with Purdue. 50-44 with 4:46 left.

4:22 – I’m thoroughly enjoying the thought of Purdue fans squirming right now. Northern Iowa has cut it to 55-51 with 1:07 to go.

4:27 – 56-54 Purdue after a HUGE 3-pointer from the corner by UNI. 16.7 to go. Getting nervous Boilers?

4:29 – Annnnd that’ll do it. UNI made it interesting but Purdue advances 61-56 in a very lackluster performance.

4:40 – That’s going to wrap up my updates for the early games, as it’s time for me to head to the gym. Enjoy the rest of the afternoon and thanks for tuning in.

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  1. 11 Responses to “NCAA Tournament Thoughts: Day One, Early Session”

  2. Butler is once again proving that unathletic white guys can still play ball.

    By TheRiot on Mar 19, 2009

  3. Unathletic white guys AND former Freeport Pretzel Willie Veasley.

    By Hick Flick on Mar 19, 2009

  4. This Cal-State Northridge game is scary. They look pretty good and Memphis is settling for jumpers — not good.

    By TheRiot on Mar 19, 2009

  5. Careful Phillips. You’re beginning to develop a Madden-esque Favre obsession for Matt Howard.

    By MJenks on Mar 19, 2009

  6. You talk about a great player and you have to talk about Matt Howard. As a coach, you really wish you could just have 11 Matt Howards on your team…

    By Phillips on Mar 19, 2009

  7. I’m not denying it. It just seemed like every comment you made had Matt Howard’s name in it.

    On a side note, some asshole doesn’t know how to operate the NMR here at work and I had to find the person to take care of asshole’s fuck up, so I missed the endings of the early games. Thanks, douchebag.

    By MJenks on Mar 19, 2009

  8. Haha, MJ I was doing my best Madden impression for you in that comment. Apparently I need to work on it to make that more apparent next time.

    By Phillips on Mar 19, 2009

  9. Ah, Jesus. Now I see it. Sorry, went completely over my head. Guess I was still pissed about the machine going kaput on me and the general dumbassery that pops up from time to time in the workplace.

    By MJenks on Mar 19, 2009

  10. Haha, no worries. The endings were all disappointing anyway.

    By Phillips on Mar 19, 2009

  11. Is Northern Iowa really outplaying Purdue as much as the second-half score seems to reflect?

    By MJenks on Mar 19, 2009

  12. Goddamn Mormons.

    By Red on Mar 20, 2009

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