Thursday, March 19, 2009

Living the Madness

All of us at Furious Wedge will be bringing you some live-blogging throughout March Madness; so just bring yourself here, if you are stuck at work or looking for some updates.

12:37 - Wedge: And there you have it Hilltoppers pull off our biggest upset of the day by seeding #12 over a #5. And with that I’m concluding my first day of covering ‘Madness.’ Lets hope tomorrow will give us as many if not more upsets or at least close finishes and some good mascots in the Flyers, Demon Deacons, Musketeers, Colonials, Lumberjacks & Saints.

12:35 - Furious: I really thought Illinois might do it, but the Hilltoppers held on. It's funny that most readers over the last few hours have come from racing referrals... yet I'll be back early talking about basketball! See you in a few hours.

12:22 -
Furious: Down to the comeback attempt by Illinois. I'm downloading all of the episodes from Kornheiser's sitcom, Listen Up, for possible hospital viewing. I'll be up early again, likely blogging.

12:20 -
Wedge: Dang, a disappointing end for the Rams; UCLA just played some really good defense on those final 13 seconds and VCU couldn’t get the ball down-court fast enough. So if WKU’s win holds up with 1:30 to go in that one we’ll have come out with 3 upsets. Not as much Madness as I like, but much better than 2008 which basically had no Madness at all.

12:15 - Furious: Highlights (for me) tomorrow...

USC and Tim Floyd. One of my favorite college coaches, plus Dwight Lewis, who I watched a bunch in high school. And don't forget Lil' Romeo! Maybe he'll get in?

North Dakota State and Coach Saul Phillips take on Kansas.

My new home state team, Tennessee.

And two of my Final Four teams, Louisville and Syracuse.

12:09 -
Wedge: Commonwealth of Rams in Virginia has it within 1; they’re getting crazy aggressive now, they can feel the momentum going their way. Bruins look like they are just trying to hold on and run out time at this point. I’m not so sure I’d be using that tactic, because that’s the tactic that got VCU its comeback.

12:08 -
Furious: Finally watching the UCLA/VCU game.

12:04 -
Wedge: VCU Rams (I don’t care what you say, Richmond Virginia is not known for its Rams) gets it to within 3, and UCLA follows it right up with another basket back to 5, then they trade turnovers and VCU is within 3 again. Still 2 minutes to go; will be very interesting to see if VCU can pull even.

11:59 - Wedge: It was simply some semi-barbaric stuff I assume. I’m busy watching VCU’s desperate attempt to come back on UCLA; except UCLA refuses to miss any shots. And I think Western Kentucky is going to start kneeling down to run out the clock soon if they could.

11:56 - Furious: Man, I missed some action in this Oklahoma game. Some kind of violence maybe? They're saying "there's no place in the game" for whatever happened. What did I miss??

11:52 -
Furious: I don't know if cage-fighting in school is "barbaric." But it's definitely at least semi-barbaric.

11:47 -
Furious: Why didn't I go here for high school? They win state basketball championships AND make students have cage fights!

11:42 -
Furious: Yes! They just announced the start time for LSU/NC. 5:45. Our daughter should be at least 5 hours old by then. I just may be able to watch!

11:41 -
Furious: Learning all kinds of stuff in this game. Kornheiser went to Big Hampton. Awesome.

11:34 -
Furious: Blue Jays preview added, below this post again. Done with the central divisions. Only the wests are left. Maybe I can knock out all of them tomorrow?

11:30: -
Wedge: VCU keeps trying to make a game of this but UCLA is doing just enough to stay safely ahead of the run. I’d put VCU’s effort away and call this game done but VCU just recently in a previous moment of ‘Madness’ upset Duke; so we know VCU has what it takes to catch the Madness.

11:11 - Wedge: I didn’t pick Western Kentucky for the same reason; but also because of this: A #12 over a #5 is the most common upset; and its usually because the #5 spot is the highest a mid-major gets in seeding; and that mid-major (e.g. usually Gonzaga) isn’t ready for the #12 which is usually a pissed off big conference school that just got beat in its conference tournament ruining its seeding. The crazy thing about WKU over the Illini is that it’s the exact opposite of what the normal upset generally is during the Madness. Also want to give both teams props for their unique mascots/names.

11:01 - Furious: I didn't pick Western Kentucky because everyone else did basically. But I'd be happy if they won. I'm an old school Sun Belt fan!

10:45 -
Furious: Haha! Big Red! Back when UNO and Western Kentucky had a BIG rivalry, that mascot was the object of ridicule for me as often as possible. I used to pride myself on my heckling abilities and would usually get some kind of reaction from my target, even if it was just a smile or an eye-roll. But Western Kentucky was really good and I couldn't really mess with their players. (Once, we had an 18-point lead with 2 minutes left and they cut it to 5. Scared the crap out of me.) But the Hilltopper guy was fair game. We would mess with him ALL game. He was usually pretty cool about it.

10:41 -
Furious: WHAT?? Rivera is Hank Gathers' nephew?? Holy crap! I can't believe I didn't know this. I was so into Loyola Marymount, man. Then when he died, I just couldn't believe it. I was shocked. I was just starting to really love basketball, then suddenly... death. That's tough for a kid to understand. I have books and the movie... I wrote reports about Gathers and Kimble. I can't believe I didn't know this.

10:35 -
Furious: Sign I'm getting old... I'm watching Duke and Big Hampton in March Madness... and eating Motts Natural Fruit Snacks.

10:24 -
Wedge: At least Duke put this to bed early with Big Hampton and won’t fool me like every other high seed fools me by going down to the double digit seed underdog and then pulls it out at the end when they remember how to play. Starting soon is the “experts” favorite bracket buster Western Kentucky… I’m not sure what their mascot is officially, but we all know the physical at game mascot: Big Red!

10:19 -
Furious: Duke is just handling this team on the offensive boards. It looks like they're playing a little league team. America East is not little league!

10:16 -
Wedge: And now Japan just lost one of their guys while running the bases. These seeding games are more pointless than the NCAA Play-In Game.

10:07 -
Furious: Rivera is SO fast. The problem here is that while Duke is missing shots, so is Big Hampton. But you know Duke will get it together, while Big Hampton can't afford to fall behind. But could you see Rivera on one of these big teams like Duke??

10:02 -
Wedge: And as we get underway with 3 more games we just witnessed another reason the "seeding" games of the World Baseball Classic shouldn't happen. Japan's pitcher lost control and hit the Korean batter in the back of his neck. He was down for a while but finally up now, pitch just got away. I'm not saying seeding caused the wild pitch, just saying he'd never been pitching if this pointless game isn't being played.

9:56 - Wedge: Quote of the night via Mrs. Wedge: “Duke is on now, they’re playing Big Hampton”

9:44 -
Furious: Finally, Duke/Binghamton. I really wish Binghamton were playing someone else so I could root for Rivera. You never know. But aside from LSU (and UNO, when I was growing up), Duke is my team.

9:31 -
Furious: Today's food... Besides the celebratory red beans, I also had a Freschetta PizzAmore. It was amazing and was on sale for $5. So much better than a $20 Pizza Hut piece of junk. I'm telling you, get one for tomorrow and you'll be happy. Second round food looks like it's leaning towards hospital food, though the hospital is right next to a couple of my favorite local restaurants, so we'll see...

9:20 -
Furious: Not only did Clemson have no answer for Harris, but they didn't even always TRY. They just left him open entirely too often tonight.

9:14 -
Furious: Man, I give two kids a bath and the Villains take over while I'm gone! Awesome. Now let's go Gonzaga. You know, I really need to find out if this whole "daughter-being-born" thing is going to interfere with the LSU/NC game.

9:03 -
Wedge: A stat I wish I knew before doing brackets. My wife tells me that BYU has not won a NCAA Tournament game in 15 years.

9:00 -
Wedge: Madness for sure! one of the Akron Zips loses his contact.. but lucky enough finds it on the floor somehow. If that were any of us that contact would be stuck on the bottom of someone’s shoe or something. Hope he gets it back in because Akron needs to keep this momentum and give us another double digit seed upset.

- Furious: Holy guacamole, settling back in to watch these games. We had the Michigan game on, and I have Michigan in that one, so I'm looking good. I had Miss. State in my Sweet 16, so I screwed up there. Other than that, BYU is my only other loss so far. I need the Villains and Gonzaga to pull these out. Too much semi-madness!

8:51 - Wedge: Michigan and Texas look like they are in cruise control now; and might as well be while be. So much for the Big 10 dropping all its team in the first round like every "expert" claimed. Goob helps the Villains pull within 6. I think its time the American Eagles bring in their secret weapon:

8:42 - Wedge: Villanova should really consider becoming the Villainous Villains, I mean look at the height on the Bowler Hat Guy. I bet that dude is a rebounding machine.

8:34 -
Wedge: Back from the half and American continues piling it on the Villains. Akron looks quite sharp against Gonzaga, but is this just Gonzaga’s yearly break-down? Gonzaga surely looks like they can do good when they want to; Akron isn’t doing anything too spectacular. And in the other 2 games Texas and Michigan are starting to pull away to a safe distance; so we’re still looking at 3 possible upsets, two of them would be huge (of course assuming they held up).

8:19 -
Wedge: OK, I like that CBS is taking us from game to game… but taking us to the Akron-Gonzaga game for 1 minute and then switching again and again while the game with the local team is at halftime is a bit crazy. Good thing we can watch all these games online. It’ll kill my brackets and likely most anyone’s but I’m loving 3 games being led by the underdogs at the moment.

8:12 -
Wedge: Boy, who expected a 14 seed to be up by 10 points at halftime to a #3, even if that #3 is full of guys with pointy mustaches and bowler hats. And while it is off topic to basketball. The report that just came out about the Helio Castroneves trial going on break until Monday lets us know 2 things. 1 that jurors are falling asleep tells you the kind of details and things that are being debated here and 2: how many jurors and people associated are March Madness fans?

8:00 -
Wedge: It’s early enough so let’s go ahead and jinx them. Has a 14 seed ever beat a 3? I would say American over Villainous Villains of Villanova would be one of the biggest in quite some time and looking better now with a 6 point lead; and I have to say a story any red blooded citizen should enjoy, the good overcoming evil.

7:53 -
Wedge: Make that 4 of 4 underdogs leading now. Well Akron was leading when I typed the first sentence; they’re tied now. American Eagles have hit a wall here, still lead but haven’t made a shot in quite a while. Hope this isn’t the start of a momentum change… can’t let Villains win… unless this is part 1 of a sequel.? And just like that bam American's dude drains another 3, up by 4.

7:46 - Wedge: In the words of a Brewers fan: Wow, just wow. Its total overload right now, the total opposite of the afternoon games; we have 4 games, all within 3 points and in 3 of them the underdog is ahead. I don’t know this dude’s name on American, but he’s on fire right now. Villainous Villains of Villanova are on fire if they can’t stop him from draining these 3s.

7:36 - Wedge: I guess # 10 seed is the place to be today. Maryland already took down Cal today as a #10 and now #10 Minnesota leads Texas and #10 Michigan is starting to pull away from Clemson. And going back to our mascot talk earlier, I have to say American Eagles has to be one of the most appropriate and certainly the only team worthy of non specific Eagles; and as such they are keeping up only 1 behind Villanova. Villanova is fun to type because auto-correct keeps telling me that I must have meant Villains... but that's the thing; why aren't they the Villanova Villainous Villains?

7:30 -
Wedge: Ok I’m back from the hiatus known as dinner for a surprisingly close American-Villanova and Michigan-Clemson & Minnesota-Texas… all 3 games are within 2 points at the moment. All 3 looking competitive so far.

6:30 -
Furious: OK, I'm going to eat some red beans to celebrate the LSU victory. I'll be back later to watch the Duke game and the Western Kentucky game.

6:25 -
Furious: Surprise, surprise. Donte Stallworth was drunk when he hit and killed a pedestrian at 7:00am.

6:21 -
Furious: Did a Rays preview and put it in for 12:31, just before this current live-blog post. State is not looking good.

5:51 -
Furious: Well, Washington has not done enough to take advantage of Varnado's foul trouble. This game could be very different in the 2nd half. Too bad it's basically a home game for Washington.

5:25 -
Furious: Ouch! Varnado's 2nd foul, less than 10 minutes into the game. He may be done for the half! If you haven't seen Mississippi State play, he was basically their key force throughout their big run to make it into the tournament. I don't know if State can win now. It'll be really tough.

5:22 -
Furious: OK, I just posted my Orioles preview but stamped it at 12:30, just before this live-blog post, so that I wouldn't interrupt the madness of March.

5:14 -
Wedge: And we have Madness! Our first official upset #10 Maryland takes down #7 Cal; though yes, I know its not much of a “surprise” per say, its still an upset and Madness I tell you. What is madness of another kind is both UConn & UNC beating their opponents by one billion. Let’s hope LSU and Texas A&M give them at least some kind of competition.

4:40 - Furious: Yeah, LSU/Butler was about as close as we've gotten to Madness. In my "Go SEC" mode, I picked Miss. State coming up here. Maybe things will get mad. Time for some baseball previews...

4:31 -
Wedge: So Purdue holds off the Corn Growing Purple Panthers of Iowa's Northern Region. That game turned out to be much better at the end than expected but alas; our tournament is still without an upset so far... no 'Madness' yet.

4:23 -
Furious: Back from the bank. Man, that UConn game got out of hand! And I agree about the mascots. Some of these are terrible. Look at Northern Iowa!

4:23 -
Wedge: and the North Iowa Purple Panthers pull within 5 points of Purdue (not enough "p" words in that sentence). Only 46 seconds... do we in fact have out 12 over 5 seed upset? I'm still thinking no but anything can happen sure.

4:18 -
Wedge: Finally Cal and Maryland are back; and two unique mascots at that! I don't believe there are Golden Bears or Terrapins anywhere else in sports are there?

4:08 - Wedge: Here's a new rule. College's need to learn how to better pick their mascots. I've forever been in favor of a tournament between all the "Tigers" with only the winner retaining the name. But beyond that: Northern Iowa Panthers!? I'm no expert but is Iowa really known for its panthers? This is almost as bad as the Tulsa Golden Hurricane. At least Tulsa gets a pass in my book for incredible uniqueness there.

4:00 -
Wedge: Sorry I'm not chiming in as much now but with Cal & Maryland at halftime there isn't much to say. Umm Chattanooga is now down by 30. Northern Iowa is trying to change that with a quick steal to pull within 6 of Purdue.

3:48 -
Wedge: Cal and Maryland 30 seconds away from halftime Terps up by 2. Its a great back n forth game, and good thing too because all 3 of the other games are double digit blowouts at this point.

3:31 -
Wedge: 7 minutes to the half and Cal has brought themselves back to within 3 of Maryland. This one is shaping up to be a good one. While Chattanooga-UConn is shaping up to repeat this mornings Memphis game with Chattanooga only down 2.

3:22 -
Wedge: Ok this has nothing to do with sports, but Mrs. Wedge just brought a news story to my attention. The CEO of United Technologies Corp is getting a divorce. According to their prenup, his ex-wife would get $43 million. You guessed it, she's suing saying he forced her to sign it cause she wants more. How much more you ask? She's bringing in proof that she needs $53,800 a WEEK. A WEEK!!!! Good gosh someone shoot this lady and just give the money to all the many needing unemployed of the country, you spend $53K in a week!?

It includes maintaining her Park Ave. apartment, 3 homes in Sweden, $700 a week for a limo service, $1,00 a week for hair and skin treatments, 1,500 a week for restaurants and entertainment, $8,000 a week for travel, $2,200 for a personal assistant, $650 for dry cleaning, $250 for a trainer, $1,570 for a horse care, $1,480 for domestic help, 600 for flowers, aaaand.... $4,500 a week for clothes....

At this rate she would go through $43 million in just 16 years; and apparently she can't compromise on anything.

I really hate people sometimes...what a waste of oxygen.

3:17 -
Wedge: Higlanders!? Is their mascot Adrian Paul with a sword and he keeps yelling "there can only be one!" Purdue has won their game, I know its only halftime but they're up by 10; that game will not play to the token #12 over #5 upset. In fact Chattanoga behind UConn by 2 is the only real close game we got now that UNC has pulled out to a 10 point lead.

3:14 -
Furious: They're the Highlanders. The Radford Fightin' Highlanders. OK, I need to run to the bank... I'll be back!

3:11 -
Furious: 2-point game here. The Radford Fightin' __________s made it 11-9. Mascot hunt...

3:08 -
Wedge: Have Maryland opening up a 7 point lead on Cal here and wondering if any of the 4 games currently going will even be close? 10 point lead, 6 point lead and one that just started along with this one at a 5 point lead.

3:03 - Furious: Watching NC/Radford and it doesn't look good at all. I was hoping for the 1st #16 win ever cause we all know what Hansbrough is going to do to LSU.

2:51 -
Furious: So much for live-blogging all day... the doctor says our baby must come out soon, this Saturday to be precise! Talk about messing up my March Madness! I wonder if I can see the LSU/NC game somehow? Hmmm....

Well, anyway, what a win for LSU! I was watching on a TV in the hospital, but then they put Memphis on. So it was cell phone updates from there. Then I got the second half on the radio on the way home and caught the last 10:00 or so online when I got home.

Now I have a day and a half to get everything together so that we can have a new baby. I'll be on as much as I can...

2:47 -
Wedge: Now we turn our attention to a game that is likely already over. Northern Iowa (who along with out beloved Vermont Catamounts are getting rid of baseball this year) actually led 6-4 at one point. a 12 point run later and Purdue has almost already put this in the bag now ahead 16-6.

2:34 -
Wedge: and we have our first 3 winners. Memphis fans have to feel better that the Tigers calmed down and remember that they are better slowing down and staying less frantic. LSU Tiger fans have to be happy their team proved dominant under the boards but I'm not sure how the physical play and many fouls will go over against #1 UNC. Texas A&M... what do you even say; if they maintain that shot percentage no one beats them. BYU never had a chance, and BYU is a good team, that was supposed to be a shootout.

2:22 -
Wedge: and that really seems to be the key for Memphis. Clearly Northridge is rattled now being behind and just trying to score quickly instead of safely. Memphis taking their time and no longer missing wild shots have stopped the Matadors and are sudenly up by 10 after being down by 6 only 7 minutes ago. LSU is ahead by 4 in Greensboro but with only 20 seconds left and being fouled by Butler, it looks like this one may be done.

2:17 -
Wedge: Memphis may have found the answer to Northridge... slow the game down. They've taken their time to develop a couple plays in a row and now find themselves back up by 3 with some clear easy jump shots.

2:12 -
Wedge: LSU starts hitting their shots in the field and have at least pulled Butler out of the 1-possession range. Northridge and Memphis are both having moment of brilliance Memphis through some steals and Northridge through one of the sweetest layups you'll ever see under 2 different defenders.

2:05 -
Wedge: Northridge up by 6!!!! 10 minutes but you gotta start thinking about possibly the biggest upset in March Madness history right!? Memphis was a legitimate #1 seed and they're panicking right now, calling a much needed timeout to hopefully stop the Matadors' run.

1:59 - Wedge: And just like that I think everyone is realizing time is running out, Memphis ties it twice but Northridge stays up by 2... wait Memphis hits a 3 now up by 1.... And Butler and LSU are tied again in a very physical sort of sloppy game now. Rebounds are clearly the important part of this game now.

1:56 -
Wedge: And Northridge is UP BY 3! All it took was a few Memphis missed shots and some calm clear shot-taking from the Matadors.

1:52 -
Wedge: Northridge pulls within 2 of Memphis while LSU traded for a while and is now up by 4 on Butler. That game is becoming very physical in the past 5 minutes and fouling coming as well; time ticking down starting to sink in maybe?

1:45 -
Wedge: Things just get worse in Philadelphia for BYU now down 13; A&M just not missing their shots; the few times they do BYU gets the rebounds. In Greensboro Butler has come roaring back into this and now has a 1 point lead. And then of course there's Memphis who still can't shake Northridge who is running up and down the court right along with the Tigers 39-35.

1:34 -
Wedge: and we're back in Greensboro with LSU and Butler trading scores LSU up by 4 then 6 then 4 then 6.

1:18 - Wedge: So all 3 games are at halftime now. LSU up 6 on Butler; A&M up 12 on BYU and the Matadors of Northridge only trail Memphis by 3; and I have to say its not luck, they're playing at Memphis' level so far... can they hold that up for a 2nd half also?

1:12 - Wedge: Butler cuts LSU's lead to 6 just at halftime, but I have to say; LSU still looks like they're in control of this game. BYU back down by 13 as A&M goes back to their non-missing shot ways. and Memphis pulls their lead to 5 but still can't seem to shake Northridge... yet.

1:03 - Wedge: All of the games taking a different look now. Since A&M started missing shots BYU rebounding has taken over, BYU has cut that lead all the way down to 6. LSU on the other hand has opened up their lead to 11 now while Memphis simply cannot shake Northridge but is still up by 4.

12:54 - Wedge: They're human! Texas A&M missed a shot!

12:50 - Wedge: Ouch for BYU, down 26-8. Will Texas A&M ever miss a shot? Poor BYU, can't get a rebound if there is none to get. Butler on the other hand has found their 3-point shooting and are now only down 4 to LSU 15-11. Memphis and Northridge proving to be our back-n-forther of the morning swapping the lead every score just about.

12:45 - Wedge: Mark my first incorrect prediction. Northride has just taken back a 1 point 17-16 lead. And BYU can't catch any break now down 20-7. Texas A&M is 8 for 8 from the field at this point.

12:41 -
Wedge: Butler has to be feeling some serious jitters. They just passed the ball through 3 guys who had wide open 3-point shots only to miss the closer 2 point jumper.

12:37 - Wedge: and just like that Memphis ties it up. Northridge has likely seen the last of their leading in this tournament.

12:33 - Wedge: So far LSU looks like they are playing mad and motivated by their low seeding while Butler just looks sloppy; LSU up 11-3. Cal St. Northridge is giving us our first upset that isn't going to happen currently taking a 11-8 lead, but Memphis is already starting to wake up. I say that lead is gone by halftime. BYU and Texas A&M just got underway, haven't flipped over there yet.


Anonymous said...

GODDAMN BUTLER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(What are your rules regarding f-bombs here? Yea? Nay? Your house, so I will abide accordingly.)

Allen Wedge said...

Not sure we really have rules here. Though staying away from the f-bomb lends itself to many more entertaining word fabrications.

I'm not sure if LSU really overpowers Butler or if Butler just never got it together... With how UNC is playing right now I think its moot anyways; but still that was a pretty inordinate amount of fouls at the end of the game.

Mike said...

I'm telling you when I watched Butler play last week, I just didn't think they were a great college basketball team. They certainly took advantage of LSU's weak inside defense and made it a closer game than I thought it'd be. But they just aren't as good as some of the other teams.

Anonymous said...

Once my BAC hits quadruple digits, I might ring in on this Michigan/Clemson clusterfuck. I'm not quite angry enough right now.

/orders another Carbomb