March Madness Erupts; The Blazers Deliver the Beating of a Lifetime

There are a bunch of special dates circled on the Dime calendar – NBA Opening Night, the NBA Draft, All-Star Saturday Night. For us though, none of those dates compare to the first day of the NCAA Tournament. It’s one of those days where we can’t believe how lucky we are that our jobs entail leaving the office to go to a sports bar to watch great college games for hours on end. So yesterday at noon, we hit Wildwood BBQ in the Union Square area for (green) beer, food and madness that included a slew of last-second shots to decide games … The big story from Day 1 of the Tourney is undoubtedly the massive 13-seed Morehead State upset of No.4 Louisville, 62-61. So much for this. You knew something was brewing right from the jump as State raced out to the early lead and then hung with the ‘Ville the entire way. Then with a little more than four seconds to go in the game, down two with the ball, Morehead State’s Demonte Harper raised up in Peyton Siva‘s face and drilled a long three from the top of the key. Then Louisville’s Mike Marra had a look from the wing to win the game but had his shot blocked on an incredible defensive play State’s Kenneth Faried, aka “The Next Dennis Rodman” … Butler beat Old Dominion on a Matt Howard tip-in at the buzzer. Howard is one of those guys who always seems to be in the right place at the right time. He has that Chandler Parsons Gene … Jimmer Fredette‘s crew beat a tough Wofford squad to advance to play Gonzaga in the next round. We’d be shocked if the Cougars advance beyond that, because no matter how many times announcers give you the “BYU is more than Jimmer Fredette” nonsense, it’s just not true. It’s a fact that was on full display last night. Jimmer (32 points) doesn’t shoot 25-30 times a game because he’s a ball hog, he shoots that many times because that’s the only way his team is going to win. They’re going to be in real trouble against a good defensive team like the Zags … Interesting tweet from Darren Rovell during the Zags beating of St. John‘s: “Gonzaga can’t be called the little guy. Their men’s teams spent $11,216 MORE than St. John’s did for recruiting last year.” … We gotta say, we did our making fun of NCAA games being on TruTV, but having instant access to every game that is being played is such a better experience than being at the mercy of CBS’ regional coverage … There were three games on the NBA docket last night and none of them were particularly good. In fact, two of them were pretty severe beatings … The Knicks handled the Grizzlies at MSG, 120-99, on the strength of 20 threes. Nine of those triples came from Toney Douglas, who was raining murder the entire game. He finished with 29 … With the Knicks up double figures in the third, Carmelo Anthony stood and watched as the guy he was “guarding,” Sam Young, drilled an uncontested three. Clyde Frazier and Mike Breen were disgusted by the lack of effort. “We sound like a broken record,” said Breen. “But Melo and Amar’e, as leaders of this team, have to do a better job on defense.” … Derrick Rose crossed another top NBA PG off his list last night in New Jersey, working over Deron Williams and the Nets as the Bulls coasted to another win, 84-73 … Deron’s line was pretty hideous: 1-12 from the field for five points, four rebounds and 11 assists. Since the trade, Deron’s only shooting 33% from the floor. Is it that he’s still getting adjusted? Is he struggling because the defenses can focus on him more because he has less weapons in New Jersey? … Speaking of hideous, Byron Scott would probably welcome a pink slip at this point. The Cavs got straight decimated in Portland last night, 111-70. For the few minutes that we watched, the Blazers were just running layup lines … We’re out like Lavin.