The third No. 1 seed (narrowly) made it through in the today’s afternoon session of Day Two of the Big Dance; the No. 1 overall seed Louisville plays its first game this evening, along with Xavier, Arizona, Utah, USC and Boston College.
* Arizona/Utah is underway. Utah has “Runnin’ Utes” on the first of their jerseys, with “Runnin” above the numbers and “Utes” below. It makes them look 15% cooler than they normally would.
* The big head-to-head matchup here is AZ’s 6-10 Jordan Hill, a projected Top-5 to Top-10 pick depending on who you ask, against Utah’s 7-2 Luke Nevill. So far neither has done much, but we’re only three or so minutes in. Nevill then picks up his second foul at the 16:22 mark and has to sit down.
* It’s going to bug me all night if I don’t figure out who Nevill looks like. He’s like a young Drew Bledsoe with a much larger head.
* Alright, I don’t need the dude behind the counter at the teriyaki joint looking at me like I’m a pussy because I asked him to make the General’s chicken “not as spicy as usual.”
* Damn … CBS left the Arizona game for Xavier/Portland State. I kind of figured they’d do it for the Seattle viewers since Portland is so close and the game’s being played in Boise, Idaho. I like PSU’s Jeremiah Dominguez and everything, but Arizona is still more relevant to a Pac-10 city.
* The “Notable Alumni” entry for Portland State: Courtney Love. That’s it?
* Xavier leads 22-18 midway through the first half. Dominguez and Jamie Jones have 15 of those points for Portland State, while the rest of the team is 1-for-8. Scoreboard check: Louisville 30-24 over Morehead State, Arizona 29-20 over Utah, and Boston College 23-18 over USC.
* PSU takes the lead on a three by Andre Murray, but Xavier’s Derrick Brown comes right back to put the Musketeers back up. “These guys know they can play,” one of the announcers says about Portland State.
* Brad Redford is in and immediately drains a three. Last year, one afternoon at the Dime office somebody came across a YouTube mix of Redford’s high school highlights. None of us had heard of him, and we had to look it up to see he was going to Xavier. Within maybe a minute, we all were huge fans. Redford was an ANIMAL, throwing up shots from 30-plus feet and sticking them like it was nothing. He would pull up with two defenders on him from 35 feet away and you knew it was money. He’s still coming off the bench for Xavier, but we’ve been following his box scores all season.
* Quick run puts Xavier up by 10, as PSU can’t stop turning it over. (I just flipped over to Pacers/Mavs on League Pass; Danny Granger looks significantly older now that he’s cut his hair. Granger story: I was in the barbershop the other day during that national TV Heat/Celtics game. During one of the 172 segments they had talking about D-Wade‘s MVP chances, they showed a graphic of the NBA’s leading fourth-quarter scorers: Wade, Granger, LeBron and Kobe. The whole time I was there this one dude kept talking about the Wade/LeBron/Kobe argument like he was the expert on everything NBA — then when Granger’s face pops up he casually says, “I don’t know who that is.”)
* As expected, the announcers love Dominguez, all 5-foot-7 of him. After he hits a driving layup plus the foul, they break out the incredulous laughter and have started calling him, “The Little Man.” Xavier goes into the locker room ahead by seven.
* Hold on … potentially big development … After sitting on the couch since 9:30 a.m. yesterday, I just remembered that my cable package includes this “other” CBS network that’s all sports. I’m checking, and it looks like I’ll be able to watch Louisville/Morehead State right now. NICE.
* Louisville is up two as the second half starts. Not looking like the national championship squad I picked.
* Unless you’re playing close to home and can get a lot of your fans to travel, isn’t the first-round game for every No. 1 and No. 2 seed almost like a road game? Anyone who’s neutral in the crowd is probably rooting for you to lose just so they can see an upset.
* One of Morehead State’s guys shoots a 10-foot jumper that travels seven feet, followed by Samardo Samuels beasting his way for a bucket inside and Jerry Smith getting a layup off a turnover. Now the Cardinals are starting to roll.
* UL stretches the lead to 10 as the announcers talk about Morehead State’s coach and his little daughter, who’s one of his “assistants” on the bench. “Daddy, do something!” Bill Raftery laughs. Terrence Williams hits a three, and now it’s a 13-point advantage.
* Morehead State throws the ball over the heads of their bench, and Samardo scores about 2.5 seconds later. Then Earl Clark gets a steal in the backcourt, but he steps out of bounds on his way in for what would have been a score.
* Walter McCarty sighting on the Louisville bench. He looks disturbingly A LOT like Greg Oden.
* This time Morehead turns it over on an inbound pass that pitifully bounces twice and doesn’t come close to one of their guys before Clark swipes it and hits Preston Knowles for a three. The announcers are struggling to not kill the 16-seed: “This is a REALLY good Morehead State band,” one of them says.
* Morehead State’s PG just made a pass where he started to drive, 100% looked like he was going to kick it out to the wing with his right hand, but switched to his left and the last second and gave it to a guy in the paint. I can’t even really describe it because he totally fooled me and I was watching for the ball that never came out of his right hand. The announcers were shocked, too.
* Over to USC/Boston College, where the Trojans are up 52-47 and GUS JOHNSON is on the call. USC’s Leonard Washington is beasting people in the paint; he’s a two-sport athlete who is being compared to Julius Peppers.
* Raftery on Earl Clark’s long arms: “He’d be great in church handling the collection plate. He could cover the whole pew.”
* Scoreboard check: Xavier is up 19 on Portland State, Arizona is up eight on Utah, and USC is up 10 on Boston College, all late in the second half. Louisville leads by 17 with three minutes left.
* As Arizona puts the finishing touches on Utah, Jamelle Horne flies in for a two-handed dunk but somehow the balls pops out of the net; either it hit his head, or he pulled the net and caused it to come back out. Weird play.
* The final numbers, with all four games decided by double digits: Samardo Samuels posted 15 points in Louisville’s 20-piecing; Chase Budinger had 20 points and eight boards, and Jordan Hill added 17 and 13 boards for Arizona; Taj Gibson scored 24, and DeMar DeRozan had 18 points and 10 rebounds for USC; and C.J. Anderson scored 14 to lead Xavier.