ESPN Marathon of Hoops Live Blog, Part II

Posted by jstevrtc on November 18th, 2008

10:02 am — OK, back for more.  A little Drexel-Penn for your Tuesday morning.  Come on, is ESPN serious about this this stuff?  They don’t even have a GameCast going for this one.  Amateurs!  OK, I’ll stop.  Right now I have to give props to the Drexel students, because they have stepped up, here.  They’re in full face/body paint, wigs, etc.  Even for the ones who are just in their “Fear the Fire” t-shirts, they’re there in force.  They’ve filled that arena.  It’s rare that ANY college student is gonna get up at 10am for anything, so to show up like they have for a game at this time of day — even if it is a Big Five game — has got to earn some props.  This looks just like a night game in terms of the crowd behavior.  What this really is, is a total bonanza for any professors at Drexel who might be the attendance-taking type.  They could literally just pause the broadcast periodically and check off truant students on their roll sheets by the dozen.  I hated those professors…

10:26am — Drexel is the better team so far.  They’re outhustling Penn, who actually does look tired.  Drexel is up 8 with 12 minutes to go in the first half and this could get out of hand for the Quakers in short order if they don’t get their heads in it.

10:30am — Drexel extends…up ten at the under-8 timeout.

10:35am — Drexel is doing this with defense and hustle.  They’re winning every loose ball.  This is a Penn squad who only lost to UNC by 15, and they’re already down 14 to the Dragons and we’re coming up on the under-4 timeout.

10:41am — The first hyping of UNC-Kentucky.  I’m reminded of the time in 1995 when CBS was broadcasting an elite eight game involving those two teams (the one where Rasheed Wallace got choked — I don’t mean he CHOKED, I mean he GOT choked by Kentucky’s Andre Riddick during a scuffle early on) and Verne Lundquist and Bill Raftery showed up in tuxedos, given the history of the two programs.  I think whoever’s calling tonight’s game should do the same, especially with the almost constant hype.

10:51am — Halftime…34-27, Drexel.  This could have been worse for Penn who are in full sleepwalking mode.  Drexel decided to chuck (and miss) some threes late in the half; they have the better athletes but a couple of ill-advised shots and a couple of hand-checking fouls let Penn back into this.  If Penn wakes up at halftime, things could get interesting.

Right now, I’m actually a little impressed with Drexel.  Bruiser Flint has got his team mentally ready, except for that hiccup at the end of the half, and I’m gonna repeat my props to the crowd.  Drexel doesn’t look like a team playing their first game of the season, they look like they’re on number five or six.

I’m not complaining (heh heh….) but I’m starting to realize that maybe grabbing a nap before starting this endeavor may have been a good call, instead of working a whole day.  Oh, I’m not goin’ anywhere…but the coffee machine is now operational.

11:16am — As the second half opens, through some high screens and by getting him the ball earlier, Penn has gotten their star Tyler Bernardini (the guy hung 25 against UNC a few days ago) more involved and looks like they’ve awakened just a little.  He hit a three (his second) and then made a nice dish to Brennan Votel in the paint which resulted in a score.  Bernardini just made a very sweet interior bounce pass to a cutting Kevin Egee for another basket…and now here’s Bernardini with an offensive rebound-tip in.  The lead is down to 4 (Drexel hit a three in between), 42-38.  Penn has to make sure Bernardini touches the ball as much as possible, it’s plain to see.  On the defensive side, they’re moving their feet more whereas in the first half they were merely reaching and poking for steals.  I expect Drexel will tighten up the D on Bernardini, but so far Kevin Egee has taken up the scoring slack with 15 for Penn.

11:35am — Both teams are in the double-bonus and there are ten minutes left.  Lots of reaching.  Drexel is showing a pattern of executing something perfectly on offense followed by a hand-check foul on defense.  This thing was tied moments ago, but Penn can’t capitalize on Drexel’s hand-checks.  Bernardini’s on the bench with three fouls and I can’t see them holding him out very long.  Drexel is asserting their quickness on offense and are now up 53-47.

11:40am — Bernardini checks in at the 8:59 mark, so we’ll see if things change for Penn, who have looked a little lost in the last few minutes.  Eggleston just hit a three for Penn.  Yep, Penn has an Egee and an Eggleston.

11:53am — Free throw percentages:  Penn 9/21 (42.9%), Drexel 13/24 (54.2%).  Not field goals…those are free throws.  It’s 62-57 Drexel with 3:07 left.  Bernardini hasn’t done much since re-entering but Votel and Egee have continued to play well to make up for it.  Drexel needs to make sure Tramayne Hawthorne handles the ball most of the way, if he can resist shooting the three (2/8 today, and totally unnecessary in this part of the game for Drexel).

12:01pm — We are HALFWAY THROUGH the 24 hours of hoops.  Like Vince Vaughn doing the gymnastics rings near the end of Old School….I am….STILL HOLDING!

12:04pm –The Drexel lead is 4 with 58.2 seconds, 64-60.  Drexel checked out of this game a little early, but neither team has been able to throw it in the ocean from anywhere on the court today (Penn 38.6% FG, Drexel 37.9% FG — and see FT percentages above).

12:09pm — Bernardini comes down for Penn, misses a 3 while trying to draw a foul (they’re not gonna call that), hustles to get his own board, then tries to get fouled again with a double-clutch layup attempt in the lane, but misses.  Commits a foul in frustration, his 5th.  Drexel could have put this game away by hitting the subsequent two FTs.  BRICKS by Evan Neisler who’s otherwise had a quietly solid game.  Kevin Egee comes down and dials in a three from the far corner and now it’s only a two point game (65-63) with 14.7 seconds.  Penn fouls Scott Rodgers who had hit 4/4 but ONLY GETS 1 of 2 here…

12:14pm — …and Penn’s Zack Rosen is FOULED while shooting a three by Tramayne Hawthorne!!!  Inexcusable.  Now, Rosen can tie the game with three FTs.

12:16pm — Holy crap.  Rosen only made one of his first two to cut it to 66-64, intentionally missed the third FT…Penn managed to get the rebound but Votel rushed and air-balled his attempt in the lane, and that’s how it ends.

As I said, Drexel was impressive early in this game but for almost the whole second half they played like, to employ a very old cliche, a team trying not to lose rather than a team trying to win.  Still, the Dragons start their season with a win and you have to relish every W in the erratic early-season games.  So get a shower and get to class, boys.  We’ll see you all in the gym at 6 for free throw practice.  Actually, I shouldn’t be too hard on these teams since it turned out to be another pretty exciting game.

I think it’s shower time here in the RTC Eastern Compound, as well.  This recliner is starting to reek.  Hello, Mr. Febreeze.  I’m gonna pat myself on the back a little since I’m only one coronary-artery-spasm-inducing energy drink and one coffee into this and no signs of fading yet.  I might be singing a different tune at 9pm by the time UNC-UK starts, but all systems are still nominal at this point.  RTMSF would be a shell of a man by now, if he had the stones to try this.  If he doesn’t get his 18 hours a day, he can get pretty crabby.

We’ll be back at 2pm ET for Liberty-UNC Asheville.

2:00pm — Back in the saddle for Liberty vs UNC-Asheville.  Nothing like a nice 38-minute shower to recharge the batteries.

Did anyone hear that unbelievable sound prevalent throughout the Iowa-Kansas women’s game?  I checked in on this thing from time to time, and every time I did, I noticed a bone marrow-rattling scree…a high-pitched, howler-monkey-esque wail that made me nostalgic over the time that I almost took my thumb off while slicing a bagel.  Turns out there was a huge throng of 3rd and 4th graders at the game (In-Service Day, I guess?  Early Thanksgiving break?) who actually produced this chilling sound every time the ball came to their end of the court.  EVERY TIME.  They were actually more consistent than any student section I’ve ever seen.  ESPN’s play-by-play announcer (Beth Mullins) had a great line:  “It sounds like a Jonas Brothers concert in here.”  I think all coaches should make their teams practice with that sound in the background, or at least practice free throws.  If you can shoot through that, you can shoot through anything.

UNC-Asheville has a 7-2 lead at the under-16 timeout in a game that has so far followed the trend of the other games in the last 14 hours — Y-ball.  ESPN’s color commentator for this one (Bob Wenzel) has bags under his eyes that he will have to pay extra for, if he’s flying today.  But he seems genuinely fired up for this, which is cool.

I miss Kenny George in the middle for UNC-Asheville.  What disturbs me is that he’s supposed to be out with a “foot injury,” but yet it’s bad enough to keep him from enrolling at school.  I hope everything’s all right with the guy, because that just seems strange.  Forget hoops.  He’s young and deserves as normal a life as he can have.

2:16pm — The announcers are actually talking about this very subject.  Maybe they’re reading the live blog, heh heh…

2:24pm — There is a sign in the student section that says, “WE MISS YOU KENNY.”  Strong work.  UNC-Asheville has jumped out to a 20-10 lead on a three by Jason Ridenhour and a pretty tasty two-hand slam in the open court by John Williams.  UNC-A has settled down and is moving the ball well on the perimeter against Liberty’s 1-3-1 zone.  You can tell UNC-A was ready for this.  They’re moving the ball until a seam opens and then the player with the ball will penetrate the zone, while the other guys are flashing into the open spots as the help defense rotates.  Perfect execution of an offense against the zone.

2:39pm — Sean Smith for UNC-A has decided to mark his territory in the corners by draining a couple of high-arcing threes.  Liberty has kept up, but UNC-A has found a rhythm.  Liberty welcomes the under-4 timeout.

2:50pm — Halftime. 49-30, UNC-Asheville.  They have shown better patience in shot selection and are shooting 50%, which is a rare thing in an early-season game.  Liberty has stayed content to pump threes and they sit at an overall 9/31 (29%) from the field.  There’s your difference.

3:10pm — The Sean-John show continues for UNC-A.  Sean Smith (a tall Swedish 3-point shooting kid at college in the American South…not a bad gig, eh?) hits his fifth 3-pointer and John Williams gets his third block followed by a nice pass underneath that results in two FTs.  Seems like a lot is being expected of Seth Curry right now, as if he’s able to channel his brother at will.

3:23pm — UNC-A has stayed disciplined and are taking good shots.  Liberty still hovering around 27% shooting, still chucking threes.  64-40, UNC-A.

3:31pm — J.P. Primm for UNC-Asheville has decided to make his presence known, as well, on 5 for 9 shooting and a perfect 6/6 from the line.  He’s also got 7 points and 7 boards, and this is all in his third collegiate game.  Pretty solid young player for the Bulldogs.

3:32pm — Since this one’s way out of hand, let me just tell you…I’m loving this.  I’ve been up for 33 hours, and I’m totally into this.  The early- and mid-afternoon games make it feel like the first round of the NCAA Tournament, and despite a few cups of coffee and a single energy drink, that provides its own adrenaline.  There are some fine players I would not have known about until much later in the year, if at all.  Now I’ll be watching them all year long.  And as I’ve mentioned…I love my job, but do you know what time I have to be up tomorrow?  Yeah, that’s right.  Monday.

What I’m worried about is that…well, when the crash comes…it will come with a vengeance.

3:53pm — It’s over.  84-56, Asheville.  They’ve got a painful schedule coming up (at UNC, at Tennessee, at Duke, at Ohio State) in the coming weeks, so if they have any Top-25 votes upcoming next week, they should enjoy them while they can.  But it will be interesting to see how that schedule prepares them for the Big South conference schedule, the Big South tournament, and possibly the NCAA.

4:13pm –Now, Baylor is one hell of an interesting story, as most of you know.  I won’t go through the whole thing since the way Scott Drew has rebuilt — well, CONJURED — this program back from some of the lowest depths ever achieved by a collegiate sports program is too positive of a story, but you recall the cast of characters — the strange sequence of events surrounding Patrick Dennehy’s report of feeling “scared” and then his disappearance, and subsequent death; the laundry list of Dave Bliss violations; the first-ever “half-season” they had to play in 2005-06 (non-conference games were prohibited), etc.  I mean, we’re not saying that these things are related, but at the same time that the coaches seemingly have NO CONTROL over their basketball program, we’ve got other things going on where…well, we’re not talking about text-messaging recruits or copying term papers, here.  We’re talking about one team member whacking another one Tommy-from-Goodfellas style and then hiding the body for a few weeks.  And where did Baylor find itself just a few years later?  Fourth 20-win season ever.  National ranking.  NCAA Tournament bid.  The guys who declined to take advantage of the full and immediate release from their scholarships — the guys who stayed — should be venerated on that campus as long as there’s a basketball program there.  But that’s enough about the past.

4:30pm — By the looks of it, Baylor’s future is pretty freakin’ bright, and they have come out and put the wood to Centenary with a 33-14 start.  “Quincy Acy” just SOUNDS like a guy with serious hops and make no mistake — kid’s a baller.  LaceDarius Dunn — do you want to play a guy with a kick-ass name like LaceDarius Dunn??!? — just hit a spinning fade-away jumper from about ten feet, VERY softly off glass, that actually got me off the recliner for a second.  Nasty.

4:48pm — It’s 39-18 and Henry Dugat just hit a ball-cradling air-hanging spinner off the glass.  Baylor is as athletic is Memphis — maybe LAST year’s Memphis.  This is just sick.

4:52pm — 42-20 Baylor at the half on a last-second three by LaceDarius (it’s fun to say AND type).  Curtis Jarrells has 9p 4a in only 19 minutes on 3/4 shooting (3/5 from the FT line).  Baylor is calm, cool, takes good shots and is creative on offense.  They’re holding Centenary to 7/24 shooting (29.2%) while shooting 16/26 (61.5%) themselves.  I’m aware that they’re playing…Centenary.  But Baylor is not a team you want to see in your sub-bracket in March.  Right now they look like they’re playing their tenth game of the year, not their second.

5:20pm — 58-31 Baylor with 14:30.  Baylor got cute for the first couple of minutes but have settled down now and extended the lead.  I can’t believe Centenary is playing their first FIFTEEN GAMES on the road.  But there is no nickname that compares in all of college basketall.  The Gentlemen.

5:28pm — Big two-hand jam by Quincy Acy after a steal by Dugat.  Baylor has four players in double-figures.  Get used to this, Big 12.  Oh, by the way, they’re also shooting 24/35 for 68.6% from the field.  64-33 Bears.

5:38pm — 71-38.  LaceDarius Dunn just — HAHHAHAHA — fouled out.  I’m betting he’ll be doing some defensive drills at tomorrow’s practice.  Baylor now with FIVE players in double-figures.  Curtis Jarrells has 20p 6a and ZERO turnovers.

5:46pm — Fatigue sets in.  I can’t deny it at this point.  I just went outside to get something out of the car and when I came back in, as I realized 20 minutes later, I left the back door wide open.  Sure, come on in, everyone.  Come on in and kill me.

5:50pm — Energy drink.

5:57pm — Energy drink.

5:59pm — It’s over.  90-55, Baylor.

6:01pm — Coffee.

6:07pm — Atrial fibrillation.

6:09pm — So now we jump into Richmond-Syracuse.  This is an early-season discipline test for Syracuse because Richmond is coached by Chris Mooney, who in turn played for Pete Carril at Princeton.  Richmond will attempt to lower the number of possessions — not to the degree of Carril’s old Tigers teams, but let’s just say they’re patient.  Syracuse doesn’t seem too disturbed, as it’s 19-14 early.

6:19pm — Just in case, I’m looking for the automatic defibrillator here at the RTC Eastern Compound.  Calls and texts with this question are going unanswered.  I’m starting to feel like Michael Clayton about the time his GPS goes out in his car.

6:25pm — Remember the scene in The Princess Bride where Andre the Giant tells Billy Crystal, “I’m on the brut squad,” and Crystal looks at him and replies, “You ARE THE BRUT SQUAD.”  That is Syracuse’s Arinze Onuaku.  A massive human.  He doesn’t play IN the lane.  HE IS the lane.  He’s also 4/4 with 8 points.  I think he could probably just tell the ball to go in the basket and it would.  Or else he’ll eat it.

6:31pm — Doris Burke is toeing the company line and, at the same time she is providing color commentary for this game, she is promoting the upcoming Kentucky-UNC game like mad.  She mentions that Kentucky’s lead in the all-time wins category has been dwindling, and implies that Kentucky could lose that lead “at some point.”  To which RTMSF and I say…yeah, like THIS year.  If you are a Kentucky fan you need to be worried about that THIS season.  UNC won 36 games last year.  They’re better this year.  If Kentucky is truly as down as some are speculating, 20 or 21 wins may be a best-case scenario.  The lead changing hands or at least being tied is a very real possibility this season.

6:42pm — Memories of 1991 are creeping back for Syracuse fans right now.  Richmond actually went over five minutes without scoring but find themselves leading by 7 with a minute left on 7/11 3-pt shooting.  Richmond is also winning the loose-ball battle and outhustling the Orangemen (which they always will be — don’t take me on on this right now…I’ve been up for over 36 hours) overall.

6:51pm — Halftime.  38-31 Spiders.  It’s not really that Syracuse is playing TERRIBLY (41.9% FG, 25% from 3-pt range), but that Richmond is playing with particular efficiency (50% FG, and 58% from 3-pt range, hello).

7:08pm — Eric Devendorf has decided to show up for the Cuse and now has 15p on 5/8 shooting.  He’s doing a lot of chirping at the Richmond players, but he hasn’t let up since opening his second-half account.  He’s made three 3’s and a deuce in less than two minutes, and Richmond has relinquished their halftime lead PLUS four points and we just barely got to the under-16 timeout.  44-40 Syracuse.

7:15pm — I just asked an Orthopedic Surgery friend about the term “stress reaction,” as it applies to Tyler Hansbrough’s leg.  The only reason I asked him is that we as hoops fans are led to believe that “Psycho T” is a tough guy of NHL proportions, but the more people I talk to, it seems like there is a growing contingent that thinks he’s one of those guys who’s good at making it look like he’s getting just totally mauled and dismembered when he takes normal contact or is battling for position in the paint.  My Ortho Surgeon friend says:  “As far as level of injury to bone, it goes 1) bony injury/contusion, 2) stress reaction, and 3) stress fracture, going from not-so-bad to worse/worst as we move along that continuum.   The category you fall into is a decision made primarily by the area’s appearance on an MRI.”  My friend, who went to Miami (FL), says that it isn’t a matter of “toughness” because stress reactions can be totally silent or they can hurt like hell, and adds, “As far as Tyler Hansbrough, whether it hurts, is just ‘bothersome’ or is totally silent, just ask yourself — in his situation…what would you do?”  Right now, I have no answer.  On one hand, I feel as awake as I’ve ever been, but yet I’m hallucinating small animals running across the floor.

7:35pm — The Spiders keep hanging around.  The 3s are not falling at ALL (0/7) for them this half, but still they’re only down 5 (63-58) with 6 to play.  Richmond is actually able to keep up by continuing to get the loose balls and even occasionally get inside and shoot the layup or 5-7 fot jumper.  Still…I’m starting to sense some panic in Richmond.

7:52pm — I’m ridiculously awake.  I may have to buy stock in the energy drink company.

Look at these lines for Syracuse:  Jonny Flynn = 23p on 7/14.  Eric Devendorf = 22p on 8/12.  Arinze Onuaku = 17p on 8/11.  And yet Richmond is within 4 with less than a minute, 71-67.

7:56pm — I’m ridiculously tired.

There it is.  THE WALL.

The energy drinks have worn off — QUICK.  It feels like a bear has wrapped itself around my neck and will not let go.  The bear doesn’t want to eat me.  He wants me to lay down and watch the TV for about 6 nanoseconds until I fall asleep.  I must run from him.  Syracuse held on 76-71, by the way.

At this moment, one of two things must happen.  I am not going to be deterred.  There’s no quitting now.  Either I am going to have to go out into the yard and sit in the cold to wake up, or there’s going to have to be an Erin Andrews sighting, or both.

As Rusty Ryan (Brad Pitt’s character) said in Ocean’s 13, “I’ve looked at so many blueprints I can taste the ink through my fingertips.”  That’s how I feel about this computer keyboard.  As good as it is to see these guys on the hoops version of College GameDay, I need a short change of scenery.

Be back in a bit.

8:47pm — OK.  Here’s what we’ve done.  Lights on bright.  Doors open, and the heat is off.  It’s freezing in here.  I’ve been outside.  Volume ridiculously loud on the TVs.  Energy drink and coffee.  Erin Andrews sighting.  I’m convinced Erin is in love with me but just doesn’t know it yet — even though I’ve always been more of a Bonnie Bernstein guy.  That’s blasphemy around here, I know.

I feel great again.  The animals scurrying along the floor haven’t left, and it feels like there’s always someone watching over my shoulder even though I know that’s not true (then again, I DID leave that door open earlier…).  I’m not afraid of anything — except Bob Knight’s eyebrows, Tyler Zeller’s chips (ears), and Patrick Patterson’s afro.

Why do I feel great?  Because I made it to this game.  This is the big one.  No matter that Kentucky is down and that there’s no Hansbrough — it’s always special when these teams get together.  You can’t call yourself a college basketball fan if you can’t wake up for North Carolina versus Kentucky.  We’ve gone 21 hours now just to get here…and HERE WE ARE!

I thought the pre-game with the 5-man set was excellent.  Bob Knight is actually funny although I didn’t get the Yokohama Sea Lions thing, or whatever.  I’ll have to look that one up.  I especially liked the “On the Floor” segment, going player-to-player and giving facts and figures and how they fit into the matchup.

Personally, I don’t see how this can be close, even though UNC doesn’t have Hansbrough or Ginyard.  The only way it’s close is if Kentucky gets it to Patterson every time and he has a good game, Kentucky gets some semblance of reliable point guard play from Porter and DeAndre Liggins (a freshman), and Lawson and Ellington somehow aren’t mentally ready (not likely).

9:09pm — Ten seconds away from a TV timeout, Billy Gillispie has to use one to stop the bleeding.  Kentucky is content to shoot threes, which will get them nowhere.  Patterson is not posting strong down low — he is not battling down low like he did last year.  In addition to that, UNC is doing a great job of pressuring the Kentucky guards so that they can’t even start the offense.  Kentucky looks like they’ve barely practiced this year and haven’t watched a second of game film.  UNC looks like a focused team with a definite game plan.

9:17pm — Patterson with his first touch in the lane.  Dunk.  Everyone in the country is wondering why this isn’t happening more, since it is what “saved” Kentucky’s season last year.  Deon Thompson is already having a great game with 10p on 5/7.  UNC has taken 22 shots, and only 2 of them have been threes.  Both went down.  There’s no better demonstrator of shot-selection discipline than that.

9:29pm — A small comeback from Kentucky to “close” it to 14 at the under-8 timeout.  Patterson just picked up foul number 2, though.  31-17 with 6 left.

9:38pm — There isn’t much to say regarding the reasons for UNC’s superiority right now.  1) Carolina’s defense all over the floor is twice as intense as Kentucky’s, which leads to UK turnovers; 2) UNC has shooters, while Kentucky has trouble putting the ball in the hole even when they’re open; 3) Kentucky can’t get the ball to Patterson — but this is for two reasons, in my opinion.  As Vitale noted, UK can’t get the ball to that 45-degree angle part of the court where you can make the most efficient entry pass, AND, the fact is, Patterson isn’t battling hard for the ball.  Not like he did last year.  He has to make himself available, and EARLY in the UK offense — what there is of it.

9:50pm — This is interesting.  Giilispie honestly looks…flummoxed.  There is minimal instruction to his players when they come over to the bench.  A couple of times during timeouts, he has just looked at his team and laughed at them, as if out of frustration, saying nothing.  Except for some questionable shot selection near the end of the half, Roy Williams has to be totally pleased.  The defense from the beginning has been amazing by the Tarheels.

9:56pm — Halftime.  41-25 Heels.  It could have been much worse for Kentucky, something the GameDay crew has just echoed.  It’s amazing how little offensive movement Kentucky exhibits in that end of the court, a problem Kentucky fans often pointed out even when Tubby Smith was running things.  Carolina’s offense is dynamic and everyone’s moving all the time.

Now, this is based on NOTHING, just my own eyeballing.  But let me propose this, and if there’s anyone out there who has information about this, I’d love to hear from you.  I wonder if Patrick Patterson is at 100%.  There’s something about the way he’s carrying himself on the court and the reduction of his away-from-the-ball movement as compared to last year that makes me wonder if he’s really not totally recovered from his injury at the end of last year.  I’m not saying this to start rumors, but it’s something that crossed my energy-drink-addled and frozen mind as I watch this game.

10:18pm –The under-16.  UNC still up by 14.  I’m still impressed with UNC’s discipline in terms of shot selection; they’ve taken 50 shots and only 8 of them have been threes, four of which went down.  They only take good ones.  UNC has attempted 15 more shots than Kentucky, but Kentucky has ONLY TAKEN 11 shots.  A telling stat.

10:25pm — Deon Thompson with a very smooth turn around jumper.  NBA-worthy.  16p on 8/12.

10:31pm — jtemplon states:  “Patterson looks fine when he goes vertically, so I don’t know if it’s a physical problem…”

Seeing that last distant turnaround jumper, I agree.  But then he can’t get that dunk down cleanly?  Last year he would have destroyed the rim.  The games I saw him in last year, he just seemed more aggressive without the ball.  And I agree with your earlier comment about Curry.  Keep ’em coming.

10:42pm — Patterson with a nice turnaround jumper, and he’s got 16p on 8/8.  That cuts it to 64-51 with 5:31.  Probably a good timeout by Gillispie here, because he knows it’s been at 14-18 for a while and to score out of this timeout would get Kentucky over a mental hurdle.  Strangely, UNC’s defense has not been as smothering this half, on the whole.

10:50pm — At the under-4, Tarheels by 17.  Jodie Meeks is having an odd game for Kentucky.  He’s got 19p, but it’s on shooting that breaks down as 3/9 from 3-pt range and 2/11 from two-point range.  He appears out of control on many of his drives to the basket and has hit the deck on numerous occasions while on his way to the hoop.

10:57pm — Deon Thompson fouls out with 18 and 8 on 9/15 shooting.  Great game.

11:02pm — Tyler Zeller falls awkwardly on his wrist after going to the hole hard.  Kentucky’s Ramon Harris challenged him going up and the crowd is booing Harris and asking for a flagrant foul…but I have to say, on the multiple replays it doesn’t look like Harris actually touched him up top or with the body.  The crowd sees the replay too, but is not convinced.  Hopefully no seriousness to the injury.

11:09pm — It’s a final, 77-58.  Carolina’s defense in the first half was unreal and exploited Kentucky’s lack of point guard experience.  UNC also showed fantastic discipline in terms of shot selection and offensive efficiency.  Kentucky looks like a team with no sense of itself, yet.  But I’ll speculate that as the season continues, as their players each learn their specific roles, Kentucky will be a different team in a couple of months.  If they don’t fall into those roles (like Liggins running the point, Meeks cutting down the 3-pt attempts, Patterson asking for the ball for an ENTIRE game, etc), Kentucky will not improve on last year’s showing.  This, to me, is the biggest difference between these two squads — UNC’s players know exactly what their roles are and know exactly where they should be and what they should be doing.  Kentucky, by comparison, looks like a grease fire.

So, overall…pretty much the game everyone expected.  On to the remainder of Davidson-Oklahoma.

11:24pm — We’re well into hour #24.  I’ve been up since 6am on Monday morning.  I just went to the gentlemen’s lounge here at the RTC Eastern Compound and I cannot feel the ground under my feet.

They just put up Blake Griffin’s line for this game.  24p 19r on 7/11 FG and 10/11 FT.  Good.  Lord.

Am I hallucinating that?  By the way, Stephen Curry’s got 37 but only 5 threes.  Not a great shooting night so far, c/w his usual self.  But who won’t take 37…now 39?

11:36pm — A stupidly long 3 by Will Archambault cuts it to 7.  77-70.  2:22 left.

11:40pm — Curry with a step-back jack from the corner with Blake Griffin in his mug.  Bang.  Griffin is dumbfounded.  So am I, because that was nasty.  I never saw the ball leave his hand.  79-76 with under a minute left.

11:45pm — A Cade Davis FT for Oklahoma makes it a 4-point lead with less than ten seconds.  That’s like Obama winning Ohio.  Ballgame.

82-78, Sooners.  But I promise you that I’ll be watching every Davidson game that I can find, this year.

OK……on to the last one, Arizona-UAB from the McKale center…

11:55pm — They just showed the Arizona Dance Team or Pom Squad or whatever you call them.  I now realize that I want to go back to college.

Seriously.  There was one particular blonde they showed for whom I would gladly move to Arizona, pay my own way at UA, and voluntarily double major in Organic Chemistry and Macroeconomics if I knew it would help me run into her.  Holy Lord.

It’s the Budinger vs Vaden show, so far, as you’d expect.  Budinger drained two threes and a deuce and is on a 40-pt pace.  18-16 UAB halfway through the first half.


12:00am — 24 HOURS COMPLETE.

12:05am — I’ve begun the process of re-heating the Compound.  My gums and throat are sore, but I’m still awake.  I think.

12:14am — The UAB Mike Davises are up by 6 at the under-4.  They’ve hit five threes but more importantly are 14/28 from the field overall.

12:22am — Terrence Roderick drills a three for UAB with 18 seconds left in the half to extend the lead to 10, 41-31.  Except for Budinger and Nic Wise, ‘Zona still looks shell-shocked about life in general.

Some thoughts on the last 24 hours.  Carolina is in mid-to-late-season form and that’s without two of their big guns.  If they define themselves by defense like they showed us in the first half against Kentucky tonight, it’s going to take a very good and patient ball-handling team just to stay competitive with them.  You better play some tight defense of your own against them because they do not take bad shots.  As far as Kentucky goes, they have talent at multiple positions and pretty fair role players, but there is a total vacuum at the most important position in the college game — point guard.  To me, Patrick Patterson doesn’t look like himself and it’s not just the hair.  Is their poor start a product of not executing Gillispie’s wishes, or Gillispie being unable to actually formulate a game plan?  He was hired at Kentucky as a specialist in recruiting and game preparation.  In Kentucky’s first two games, the Wildcats have not looked like they had any semblance of a game plan.  You have to wonder if that ultimate team-killer has somehow crept into the Kentucky camp — chemistry problems.

Baylor is not just a good story, that’s a good team.  Unbelievably athletic and very fun to watch.  Stephen Curry is just otherworldly.  There’s nothing more that can be said about him.  He’s not like us.  Oklahoma has a bounce in their step that we haven’t seen from them in some time, and Blake Griffin is a freakin’ beast.  What a great thing to have a matchup like that early in the season.  Patty Mills and St. Mary’s are a level below those squads but aren’t to be ignored if you happen to catch them in your bracket come March.  Memphis has some wrinkles to iron out but on pure talent alone they’re up there with the best in the nation.

12:49am — Back to the game…UAB had extended the lead a little but UA’s starting to mount a little bit of a comeback, as it’s 53-46 approaching the under-12.  Budinger has 19p on 6/12 and Vaden has 17 on 7/13.

1:14am — At the under-4 it’s 71-65.  I can’t get used to this.  Arizona is happy to be within 5-8 of UAB on Lute Olson court.  Seems strange.

1:27am — Budinger has pulled away a little in the battle of stars; he’s got 27 on 9/16, 4/8, and 4/4.  Vaden has 20 on 8/15, 4/9, and 0/0.  71-66 with 1:11 left.

1:32am — 71-68.  One possession game but UAB has the rock and UA has to foul.  UA had a three in the air to tie, but it didn’t go down and Budinger got tied up on the rebound…arrow to UAB.  UAB missed their FT, so now UA’s got it with a 3-point deficit and they’re going to the line…

1:35am — Unreal!!  UA hits one of two FTs, gets the offensive rebound and puts it in to tie…but then one of their players fouled a UAB player, thinking his team was still trailing!  I think it was Kyle Fogg, a freshman.  To his credit, both his coach and his teammates rallied to his side as he came to the bench, and I bet he feels like crawling UNDER the Lute Olson court right now.

1:39am — EVEN MORE UNREAL!  UA wasn’t hurt by the mistake, since UAB didn’t convert at the FT line.  Missed a shot with the score TIED at 71 still.  UAB grabbed the rebound and were about to hurl a full-court desparation shot when Jamelle Horne inexplicably FOULS Paul DeLaney 75 feet from the basket — INTENTIONALLY.  He hits one of two, UAB manages not to give the ball back to UA on the in-bounds after the intentional foul, and the game ends 72-71.  And this is how the ESPN hoops marathon comes to a close.

The time is 1:45am on 11/19/08.

I can’t believe it.  We did it.  I’ve got to tell you, as of right now my eyes are blurred and drooping, and I’m still hallucinating objects running along the floor.  My throat is sore.  My head is pounding, and more than a few of my muscles are aching.  I have to type most of these sentences 2-3 times and spell-check them closely so you’ll be able to understand what I’m writing.  A new cough has appeared.  I’ve watched 25 hours and 45 minutes of basketball, and I’ve been awake for 44 hours having, like an idiot, worked a full day before I started this.  Honestly, I’ve rarely felt worse.

And was it worth it?  There is no doubt about it.

I’d do it again in a heartbeat.  It’s college basketball.  In fact, what the hell….anyone feel like going out for a few toasts to celebrate our favorite game?!?

I’m just kidding.  Please call a doctor.

Just kidding again, of course.  Thanks for reading.  Thanks to RTMSF for letting me do this.

See you on the blog.

jstevrtc (547 Posts)

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9 responses to “ESPN Marathon of Hoops Live Blog, Part II”

  1. MinnyTarHeelFan says:

    Nice job recapping. I thought it was a well-played game so early in the year, with the exception of the FTs. Great shot of the Penn players walking the four blocks to the Drexel campus, though ESPN could have used a Google-maps type of graphic to show where in Philly the two schools are located (and all the other schools in the area).

    Also, no Iowa-Kansas women’s blog;)

  2. jtemplon says:

    There was an Erin Andrews sighting! Good stuff here.

  3. jack says:

    just in case anyone was curious about this kenny george foot injury, he has had a series of surgeries and actually had part of his foot amputated.

  4. jtemplon says:

    Stephen Curry is awesome to watch in the Davidson game on ESPN2. He’s a one-man offense.

  5. jtemplon says:

    Patterson looks fine when he goes vertically, so I don’t know if it’s a physical problem, but if its a motor thing that’s probably worse.

  6. David says:

    That’s what I call dedication. Good job sir, and you enjoyed a pretty good day overall. UAB-Zona was unreal, welcome to the Lute Olsen-less Era. He was the program, just look how three de-committed left when he retired.

    Baylor is one team I root for. Dunn is a monster, breakout candidate for sure.

    And Syracuse fans complain when their team gets snubbed, they can barely beat middle-of-the-pack A-10 teams at home. They lost to UMass and URI last year, and almost lost to Richmond. They’ll need to play better if they want to compete for the Big East… and for a NCAA bid.

  7. rtmsf says:

    I’d like to follow up on David’s comment. John Stevens stepped up his game big-time for this experiment, and I spoke to him earlier tonight and it sounds like he came through it ok. RTC is very excited to have his columns coming our way throughout the season on Tuesdays.

  8. John Stevens says:

    Hey, to you folks who left them above, thanks for leaving the comments and info. It was good to get them while doing the live blog. I didn’t necessarily do a great job responding to all of them, but I read them as soon as you left them. Good stuff. All much appreciated. Keep ’em coming, and thanks for reading. Hope you all enjoyed the games. The past 24h have been great for all college basketball fans.

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