March Madness Live Blog

03.20.08 10 years ago 7 Comments
IMAGE DESCRIPTIONMike Beasley (photo. KSU)

Welcome to Dime’s NCAA Tournament live blog. For those of you out there who are stuck at work and can’t watch the games, keep coming back on the regular for as-it-happens updates…

12:15 p.m. EST

First game: #3-seed Xavier versus #14-seed Georgia. The announcers inform us that the Bulldogs are the lowest-ever seed to come out of the SEC. That’s what happens when you’re only one game over .500 but you win the conference tourney. I still say it’s messed up that UGA has to play on Thursday after they’ve played more games in the past week than the Harlem Globetrotters … Xavier gets out to a quick 5-0 lead after a putback dunk and a three. Overheard in the room: “[Georgia coach] Dennis Felton just asked why are some shots worth three and some are worth two.” … Georgia’s Sundiata Gaines looks like he’s 28 years old with that receding hairline. He’s got Michael Redd potential there … Not a lot of people at this game; understandable when you’re on the Georgetown campus and you’ve got two teams no one in the area cares about … A few minutes in, we switch to #5-seed Michigan State versus #12-seed Temple. Editorial Assistant Andrew Katz: “Raymar Morgan is gonna MURDER Mark Tyndale.” First play of the game: Morgan murders Tyndale for two … Five minutes in, Editorial Director and irrational everything-Philly fan Pat Cassidy has dubbed Temple center Sergio Olmos “The Inquisition.” He’s not that good, but Pat insists, “Every time I see him play he gets a little better. He’s learning how to move his feet and stuff.” Sounds like the future starting center of the Knicks. Olmos has a huge head and needs to put on weight … MSU point guard Kalin Lucas, one of my “Players 2 Watch” for the tourney, was benched pretty quickly for sophomore Travis Walton. And the MSU offense is looking real stagnant right now. No one’s moving around and they’re bricking everything … Wow. The Dime DirectTV signal just cut out. Waiting. Waiting. WAITING … OK, we’re back. Spartans star Drew Neitzel is 0-for-4, while Temple’s Dionte Christmas and Tyndale are a combined 0-for-3. The scoreboard says it’s 0-0 for a second, before correcting itself: 11-9, Michigan State. Scoreboard check: Kansas is up 24-17 on Portland State; Georgia is up 23-17 on Xavier … With 7:55 left in the half, a game summary tells us that MSU is 7-for-19 from the field while Temple is 4-for-16. Yeah, that’s about what I expected going in … Christmas comes off a screen, fires an airball from deep and tries an uninspired version of the Kobe Flop. It doesn’t work …

1 p.m. EST

Neitzel puts a sick move on his defender, draws the D and kick it to Walton on the elbow. Walton’s jumper almost puts a dent in the rim. This game is so brutal … Why was 5-8 Chris Clark just guarding Morgan? That had to have been a defensive breakdown. Morgan naturally gives him a jumper immediately. We go into a break with MSU up 28-17 … Call the cops: Temple hits two jumpers in a row. I know it’s a 1-versus-16 game, but would it kill them to give us a look at Kansas/Portland State before it becomes too much of a drubbing? … Just under a minute left in the half, Neitzel sticks a three (his first basket of the game) to put MSU up by 10. Then he gets called for a bad foul with 0.8 on the clock. Spartans go into the locker room up 35-26 … Scoreboard check: Kansas is up 49-26 on Portland State, Georgia’s up 35-26 on Xavier … I’m back from lunch to find out that Michigan State is blowing Temple out, so we’ve switched over to Xavier/Georgia. Gaines sets the school record for steals when he picks Drew Lavender‘s pocket (Lavender is like Spud Webb without the athleticism) and takes it to the rack. With 11:45 left it’s 46-42, Georgia …

2 p.m. EST

Every time Georgia big man Dave Bliss does something, Lifestyle Editor Christian Grant-Fields asks if he’s related to that Dave Bliss. I doubt it, but how weird would it be if Bliss’ relative goes to Georgia, former home of the Harrick family. That’s like an overload of shadiness … Xavier ties it up with a three; we’re at 49-all with 7:30 left. Next possession, Stanley Burrell sticks another three to put the Musketeers up, capping a 10-0 run … An and-one from Xavier’s Derrick Brown gives his team 59-51 lead. Brown screams “That’s my s#&%!” before going to the line … Lavender gets a floater on the next possession, and the Dogs are just fighting to survive. Terrence Woodbury hits a NASTY step-back three, then draws a foul on a pull-up J. They’re not going away … Scoreboard check tells us Kansas has advanced … Two minutes to go, Xavier is up 63-59. Gaines is willing his team to stay in this game. The Other Dave Bliss crams on somebody’s head to make it a three-point contest … Announcers just said that Xavier has shot 23 free throws, compared to 4 for Georgia. Xavier’s in the bonus the rest of the way, making it tough for UGA to come back. After two more FT’s, Woodbury has a three go halfway down before popping out … As Xavier puts the finishing touches on the win, I realize that Dennis Felton never brought Zac Swansey (the kid who hit the game-winning three against Kentucky in the SEC tourney) off the bench. That’s unacceptable. They could have used him when they were bricking threes all during the last part of the game … On to Kentucky versus Marquette. The Wildcats are up 10-8. I had Oregon’s Malik Hairston as one of the P2W guys on the site; his high school teammate (Renaissance H.S., Detroit) Joe Crawford is Kentucky’s best one-on-one scorer but has also been something of a disappointment since being a McDonald’s All-American … Crawford and Ramel Bradley have all of Kentucky’s points, and they haven’t scored in the last 4-5 minutes. I think I picked Marquette to win this game. UK just isn’t that good …

3 p.m. EST

Thankfully we get switched over to Pitt versus Oral Roberts. I couldn’t even pay attention to Kentucky; they borderline shouldn’t even be in the Dance without Patrick Patterson. ORU draws first blood, sticking a three from straightaway. Pitt is a big office favorite around here. One, because they have a lot of New York-bred players, and second because a lot of us recently saw them in person at the Big East Tournament. Personally I don’t like ’em, but that’s only because they knocked off my Hoyas in the conference tourney … A discussion starts in the room about who is everyone’s favorite NBA player. Christian says Stephon Marbury, to which Operations Manager Clare Waldron says, “Eww, really?!?” … Look-in on Baylor/Purdue, and Baylor big man (#50) unleashes the ugliest, most clumsy post move ever. He might’ve taken 6 steps and wasn’t called for a travel … Pitt’s overall talent is starting to take over. They’re up 21-13 and every time you look up they’re dunking … Scoreboard check: UNLV is destroying Kent State, 29-8 … This is getting ugly for Oral Roberts. Fields is hitting crazy fadeaway jumpers and the Panthers are catching dunks all over the place. They’re an 18-0 run … Since that game’s pretty much over, we go back to Kentucky/Marquette. The Golden Eagles are up 33-32 a minute into the second half. Marquette’s backcourt is good enough to win them a few games in the tournament, but they have a habit of not coming through when you really need them to … Crawford is rolling; he’s got 19 of UK’s 36 points, hitting jumpers and knifing through the lane, playing a lot like Memphis’ Chris Douglas-Roberts. He could get himself drafted if he keeps this up. A box score check tells us that only four players have scored for Kentucky … After some outstanding Marquette defense causes a turnover, Lazar Hayward catches a nasty dunk on UK’s Derrick Jasper. MU’s up 43-38 with 14 minutes left …

4 p.m. EST

This is maybe the best I’ve seen Marquette play all year; they’re beating UK up and down the floor and Dominic James is playing under control. The lead is up to 11 with about 9:45 to go, and Kentucky is still operating as a one-man show. If that one man is Michael Beasley, cool. If it’s Joe Crawford, you’re in trouble … Jay Bilas on Crawford: “His first two years he had a reputation for the ball dying in his hands on offense.” He’s got 28 of UK’s 46 points, by the way … Marquette big man Ousmane Barro drops the ball about three times on the same possession. He’s having some Kwame Brown issues … Crawford is single-handedly keeping Kentucky alive. I’m becoming a bigger fan of his with every hoop. He just made an amazing spin move to get an and-one. After a Bradley three, the ‘Cats are down by five. They really have no business being in this game … Apparently Kentucky hasn’t been beaten in the first round since 1987. That’s kind of crazy, especially when you consider schools like Indiana and Arizona have been knocked out early several times … Crawford hits a ridiculous off-balance three to make it 66-63 with 38 seconds left. After a couple Marquette free throws, Bradley hits a Bruce Bowen three (dumb move by Dominic James to gamble on the steal) to make it 68-66 with 20 ticks remaining. After two more free throws for the Golden Eagles, Jasper actually throws the ball off Bradley’s face, leading to a turnover that pretty much seals it. Although I had Marquette advancing, I kind of wanted UK to win just because Crawford played so well and he deserved it … This was apparently Marquette’s first tournament win since 2003 — in other words, Tom Crean has made a entire career off of Dwyane Wade

5 p.m. EST

Next we go to the second half of Purdue vs. Baylor, and it’s not looking good for the Bears (my pick). I honestly haven’t seen one second of a Purdue game all year, which is one reason why I didn’t pick them, but they’re solid. They don’t turn the ball over, they make open shots (including free throws), they spread the ball around; they’re just a good, well-coached team. Baylor’s Curtis Jerrells puts his team on his back and tries to mount a comeback, but it’s not happening … We’re off until the evening session at 7 p.m. …

Around The Web