Boom Goes The Dynamite: ESPN’s 24 Hours Of Hoops Marathon 2010Posted by jstevrtc on November 15th, 2010
PUT. THAT COFFEE. DOWN.
For the third year in a row, ESPN is bringing us what we consider one of the great television events on the sports television calendar, the 24 Hours of Hoops Marathon. That means that for the third year in a row, I’ll be live-blogging the whole thing from start to finish — and this year, we’re climbing this hoops blogger’s Everest without supplemental oxygen. That is to say…I’m going caffeine-free. More importantly, here is the schedule of games for this year’s marathon (all times Eastern):
- 12:00 midnight — Miami (FL) at Memphis (ESPN)
- 2:00 am — St. John’s at St. Mary’s (ESPN)
- 4:00 am — Central Michigan at Hawaii (ESPN)
- 6:00 am — Stony Brook at Monmouth (ESPN)
- 8:00 am — Robert Morris at Kent State (ESPN)
- 10:00 am — Northeastern at Southern Illinois (ESPN)
- 12 noon — Oral Roberts at Tulsa (ESPN)
- 2:00 pm — La Salle at Baylor (ESPN)
- 4:00 pm — Virginia Tech at Kansas State (ESPN)
- 5:30 pm — Marist at Villanova (ESPNU)
- 6:00 pm — Ohio State at Florida (ESPN)
- 7:30 pm — Miami (OH) at Duke (ESPNU)
- 8:00 pm — Butler at Louisville (ESPN)
- 9:30 pm — Belmont at Tennessee (ESPNU)
- 10:00 pm — South Carolina at Michigan State (ESPN)
- 11:00 pm — San Diego State at Gonzaga (ESPN2)
- 11:30 pm — Pacific at UCLA (ESPNU)
The first attempt at this resulted in some hallucinations and arrhythmias as the hour got late (I had been up for 16 hours before starting the live blog) and I required a few caffeine-laden beverages. Last year, we had a technical glitch that kept us on our toes, but the live blog survived. This time, to raise the standard yet again, I’ll be sans caffeine. I know that without a webcam (we’re not that kind of site) you have no reason to believe that I’m not pounding sodas and cappuccinos and Five Hour Energy drinks by the blender-full. Since I believe RTC is the only site that’s done this all three years, well…you’ll just have to trust me. After two years, I think our relationship is in that kind of place. I hope you’ll join us right here (the live blog will continue in this post) a few minutes before midnight. Now, for my pre-live-blog meal. How’s a little turkey and wine sound?
11:47 PM Monday — Here we go. The high-def at the RTC Southern Compound is rockin’. We’ve checked the router and the internet connection to the building (which bit us in zee buttocks last year), and it appears solid. The football game is all but over (as it has been since halftime). Let’s go.
11:50 PM — We begin with what is already a major development. It appears that ESPN isn’t going to make this any easier on us this year. Bill Raftery will be coloring the leadoff game of the marathon this year. This is key. If I recall — and there’s a DARN good chance I’m remembering this wrong, given the circumstances — Raftery called the midday game the last two years. This represented a very important moment in the live blog. If you could get to the Raftery game, then not only had you passed the halfway mark, but you could rely on Raf’s energy to get you through that game. You were home free then. By putting him on early, it means no energy jolt in the middle of the day.
12:oo midnight — There have been inquiries about why I’m doing this. I’ve heard questions like “Does RTC really need the gimmicks any more?” and “Why go without caffeine?” Fair questions. My answers are that RTC never needed the gimmicks, even back when the first 24-hour hoops blog happened during our second season. Admittedly, it got people to the site, but it was also fun. I guess that’s my/our real problem. I really do want to see all of these games. Some of these teams won’t be on TV again all year. Plus, it seems a few challengers have sprung up and are trying for a piece of us this year, and we have to defend our ground. As for the no-caffeine thing — well, that just makes it more interesting. I parallel it to climbing Everest without oxygen, like that asthmatic Danish guy did on that Discovery channel show. I don’t think he ended up dead, did he? Anyway, on to the hoops. Miami (FL) and Memphis are feeling each other out early, but Will Barton just checked in. And I think Josh Pastner just got two years younger, just because that’s what he does.
12:17 AM — Wow, this is a legit question, but…does Angel Garcia have acromegaly? Not an insult, just wondering.
12:19 AM — Antonio Barton with a STRONG take to the hoop. Raftery gives us a “lingerie” and a “to the tin!” on that double-pump by A. Barton. Raftery is by far the most huggable of ESPN’s employees. Well, except for Jenn Brown.
12:24 AM — Memphis evidently only needs to guard two Miami players, namely Malcolm Grant and Durand Scott, since they’re the only ones who have scored for the ‘Canes. Actually, Reggie Johnson just contributed. But we’re over halfway through the first half and two guys have all but two of the points.
12:34 AM — Hemogoblin, nice comment, re: the Bartons. That’s what we look for. So, Miami is spreading the scoring around a little but doesn’t have a single assist so far. They are 9-9 from the line, though. Pretty poor shooting in this one to this point — the teams are a combined 11-36.
12:39 AM — Miami (FL) has a little layup disease right now. They’ve missed a lot of 1-2 footers. Those two Julian Gamble misses are the team’s first from the line.
12:42 AM — Things are getting physical inside. Lots of hard fouls in the paint, especially on the Memphis end. Memphis looks confused by the Miami (FL) zone until someone just decides to penetrate against it, then good things have happened. Miami needs to as how effective a zone it is if Tigers are still getting into the lane.
12:47 AM — Well, that Miami (FL) four point lead vanished in a hurry. By the way, what’s everyone think of these intros/outros to commercials involving the family and the 24-hour marathon? Kids eating cookies, heading to bed, then the adults staying up late and watching basketball. I want to see where this goes. It reminds me of the video shown during a Pink Floyd show. You watch it wondering if it’s actually from a full movie instead of it being footage that was shot specifically for this purpose. I guess that’s a good thing.
12:56 AM — Holy cow, Miami’s made a nice comeback here at the end of the half to tie it, and what a nice unselfish display of basketball by the Tigers to end the half — three passes to a cutter in the lane leads to a buzzer-beating layup, and Memphis has a one-point lead at the half. Miami has one assist (Grant) compared to Memphis’ six.
1:03 AM — Still can’t believe the Kennesaw State/Georgia Tech score. What a GREAT win for the Fighting Owls.
1:04 AM — We’re going all RTC Live on you a little later tonight for St. John’s at St. Mary’s for the return of Steve Lavin. REALLY looking forward to that one. And incidentally, couldn’t agree more with Jay Bilas’ assessment that the Big Ten is the top conference this year, and it’s not really that close. I’m still shaky on Northwestern, even though a lot of people are saying that this is the year they finally get into the Tournament.
1:11 AM — Steve: yeah, I saw that earlier, so props to Mr. Stone. That’s like Phil Collins doing the London performance –> Concorde jet –> Philadelphia performance during Live Aid. I respect the commitment.
1:14 AM — Memphis columnist Dan Wolken tweets out a great question — looking at the stats, how are the Tigers winning this game? They’re shooting 2-12 from three and shooting 37.5% from the field. One reason is turnovers. Miami (FL) didn’t take care of the ball at all, fumbling 12 in the first half. Like we said, they also had but one assist. Memphis only turned it over five times in the half and had six steals. True, the Tigers are gettin’ whooped on the boards, but Miami’s missed a lot offensive putbacks.
1:21 AM — Hemogoblin: Kennesaw State will be (by our predictions, if I recall correctly) just a middle-of-the-pack A-Sun team, so it’s definitely a huge win, but the Gardner-Webb win happened in Rupp Arena, making it even more inexcusable.
1:23 AM — Joe Jackson is now steppin’ out with a team-leading 15 points and a couple of nice moves to fuel a 10-2 Tiger run. Now I think we’re seeing a little more of the real Memphis. It’s like they’ve just now awakened. I should mention that Antonio has been the better of the Bartons by far. Antonio has 8p/2r/1a while Will has barely been visible.
1:31 AM — Some people are getting my Joe Jackson reference above. This makes me happy. Others are clueless. That’s OK, though.
1:32 AM — By my count, both teams are now 2-14 from beyond the arc. That’s a combined 2-28. Maybe time to go inside more? You can see both coaches cringe a little when their team launches one. Memphis missed a chance to put some distance between themselves and Miami (FL). They appeared to rest for three straight possessions on defense after they built that 7-point lead, and Miami made them pay.
1:37 AM — Has anyone seen Will Barton or Will Coleman? A combined 1-5 for three points, three boards and no assists. That’s combined. Defensively, Coleman is a rumor.
1:46 AM — Man, Memphis is getting KILLED on the boards. 35-20 advantage for the Hurricanes.
1:50 AM — Angel Garcia with the classic missed shot/mistake-then-foul. I have to ask this, at long last — is it me, or is the floor-chatter…including expletives…coming through REALLY WELL in this game?
1:53 AM — There have been 45 fouls called in this game. Not good for a midnight tipoff. The Tigers’ Tarik Black is the first casualty.
1:58 AM — Miami still only has five assists. Memphis isn’t doing much better with eight. Lots of youngsters trying to stake their claims by doing it all themselves. It won’t work.
2:03 AM — QUESTIONABLE charge call, there, on Reggie Johnson to collect his fourth. Coleman looked to arrive at the spot at the same time, and he was well under the basket.
2:06 AM — McDonough is giving Raftery the business about it being past Raf’s bedtime, but I’m giving it even money odds that after the game, Raf will realize that he’s in Memphis and will hit at least one pub for a nightcap after this game.
2:09 AM — We are well underway with RTC Live at St. John’s at St. Mary’s.
2:12 AM — Over the lat five minutes, Miami has looked more like a cohesive unit while Memphis has looked much more like five independent parts. We’re up to 52 fouls. Think this one might end at the line?
2:15 AM — I’ll be honest, I don’t want overtime in this business. Ready to move on to the battle of Saints. 52….now 53…now 54… fouls have made this almost unwatchable despite it being a good game. This appears to be more a function of officiating than rough play by the players, though it has been physical. Lot of touchy stuff being called.
2:18 AM — Charles Carmouche does the fandango with two important free throws. Memphis by a deuce…less than a minute. Miami would be well advised to go INSIDE here.
2:21 AM — Miami went for the three, never considered a two. Smart move on the ensuing possession to get a quick two after Memphis only gets one free throw at the other end. Honestly, unless a three is depserately needed or is extreeeemely open, Miami should stick to twos. Don’t need the three right now and didn’t when they first took it. Memphis to the line…
2:24 AM — Looks like Memphis will pull this one out. But if you’re Miami (FL), are you going to tell me that the double-pump leaning three is a better shot than another quick two with more than ten seconds left? That long ball is hard to resist.
2:27 AM — One game down. Finally, on to Moraga. OH MY, Dwayne Polee! A ridiculous tomahawk slam to welcome the nocturnal hoops fans to the west coast. Wow! And St. John’s Justin Burrell at the other end with a MAJOR intentional foul on a St. Mary’s breakaway. Steve Lavin effectively wants 40 minutes of hell out there, and Burrell intends to deliver, evidently. That was a cross-check! In the NFL, he probably would have ben fined!
2:36 AM — Already impressed with Dwayne Polee. SMOOTH move to get by that defender in the lane on that semi-breakaway.
2:39 AM — Lavin gets rung up with a techincal! The elbow he’s complaining about was NOT intentional by SMC’s Rob Jones. He was just swinging his arms while dribbling on that break. But the guy hasn’t been back for 15 minutes and he’s already got a T against him! I love it.
2:50 AM — I’m calling shenanigans on the ProForm people in that commercial. Elisabeth Hasselbeck is very attractive, but I agree with something my sister said — those are not Elisabeth’s abs. That’s gotta be augmented by make-up. OK, enough commercials…
2:52 AM — ESPN’s box score has Dwayne Polee with zero points. Not correct. SMC has decided that going inside is the best option, and they’ve been pretty successful in scoring or at least getting to the line. St. John’s is falling apart under some increased defensive intensity by the Gaels and has turned it over twice. They’ve stopped using their athletic advantage in the last 3-4 minutes and SMC has played smart basketball to stay close. SJU was looking like the better squad early, but they’ve been coaxed into some bad decisions lately.
3:00 AM — Three hours in, still feeling good and no caffeine. I don’t even have anything like that here in the RTC Southern Compound, so there’s no danger of slipping up, there. SMC has won 56 games in two years and has an excellent coach in Randy Bennett, so I’m impressed that St. John’s has been able to come out to Moraga and take a halftime lead. SMC is no pushover team or program, to say the least. All things considered, this is encouraging for St. John’s fans.
3:10 AM — Just looking at the stats, SMC’s Matthew Dellavedova has ZERO points at halftime. He’s missed all three of his shots (all threes) but, however, has dished out four of SMC’s seven assists.
3:14 AM — Hemogoblin: good question. Actually, no. I think the worst times are the blowouts. When you have a blowout at, say, 2 PM between two low-majors, it can hurt. I use the early halftimes to catch up on stats and — I know this won’t sound good to purists — to check some other channels, i.e. late night news, etc. This mixes things up and helps keep me awake. There’s enough hoops upcoming to where a few minutes can be spent checking some headlines or something. This is like any other marathon — you have to pace yourself. They’re also good for bathroom breaks!
3:17 AM — St. John’s has brought some seriously physical street ball to this one. Not even two minutes into the second half, a couple of SMC guys have already hit the floor — hard.
3:23 AM — The refs are really letting these fellows get away with some contact, but after the foul-fest that was Memphis vs Miami (FL), I certainly don’t mind. Nice find by Dellavedova to get it to Clint Steindl in the corner for a three. It had been 31-31 for a few minutes, there.
3:28 AM — There’s Dwight Hardy. I was looking for him to get a little more involved. Only four shot attempts so far for him. We’ve barely heard Dwayne Polee’s name this half on the SJU end.
3:31 AM — That looked like a symmetrical calf cramp for Malik Boothe. What a bizarre way he went to ground, though. By the way, the Johnnies might want to get someone on Clint Steindl. Just drilled his FIFTH three.
3:35 AM — That’s the fourth trip in a row that St. John’s has been caught watching the ball after it’s shot. They haven’t found a man and boxed out in four defensive trips.
3:37 AM — Dwayne Polee with a GREAT sequence, a block on defense, then a three on the other! Is this the spark SJU needs to get their heads back into this game? They’ve sleepwalked almost the entire second half.
3:42 AM — Hemogoblin: if I did that, you have to figure that Clint Steindl would be on it. That SIX THREES for the guy. Then Dellavedova scores to give the Gaels a four point lead. They’ve been doing better on the boards in this half and their defense has caused SJU to go ICE cold this half, but SMC keeps turning the ball over and keeping the Johnnies in it.
3:47 AM — St. John’s has turned the ball over the last two times they’ve had possession coming out of a time out. They’re playing young.
3:52 AM — That’s a solid time out by Lavin. His squad needs a nice, easy basket on the inside right now. 2-15 this half has gotten into their heads. You can see them thinking about it whenever they go up with something. And credit to SMC’s Rob Jones for having his way on the inside the last two trips. He really gets that shot up quick with the left hand.
3:55 AM — Clint Steindl. Again. That’s seven threes.
3:57 AM — Fourth time in a row coming out of a time out with possession that St. John’s hasn’t scored. Three of those were turnovers. And now SMC’s dunking on St. John’s.
4:00 AM — GREAT tweet by former Cornell star Jon Jaques who notes that Steindl hasn’t had to put the ball on the floor ONCE in connection with those seven threes. That’s seven threes, no dribbles. To quote Jaques: “problem solved by making him put the ball on the floor.”
4:04 AM — Whoa. Mickey McConnell with a heave from about 24 feet that falls. St. John’s…it just doesn’t look like your night.
4:11 AM — Hemogoblin: yeah, that’s certainly had an effect on him and therefore the whole squad. A single point and four boards was no help at all.
4:13 AM — As you’d expect, SMC is having no problem icing this one at the line. They’re 83.4% from the line for this game which is nothing new.
4:19 AM — Believe it or not, St. John’s is learning a lot, here. This is a two-possession game with 29.5 seconds left. SMC just has nobody you can foul if you’re an opponent. But the Johnnies have to learn to do this kind of thing — playing all the way to the end, staying tough — if they’re going to get anywhere in teh Big East. The announcers just spoke of this as I was typing it.
4:24 AM — That’s strange. Why on earth would you foul if you’re St. Mary’s at this point? SJU has this down to five — but with just 14.6 left. I don’t blame SJU for doing this one bit. Oddly, they played their best basketball of this half while fouling late in the game. When you put the other team at the line, you don’t have to play defense or give up threes, and that’s what killed SJU in the second half.
4:28 AM — Well, that’s two games down. Now to Hawaii, for Central Michigan and UH. The good thing about this particular hoops marathon’s early games is that there’s at least one extremely compelling fact for the first four games. In the first game, we got our first real look at Memphis, which is something a lot of folks were looking forward to. In the second, it was Lavin’s debut at St. John’s and the fact that his side was starting with a TOUGH one at St. Mary’s. In this one, I’ve been looking forward to watching Trey Zeigler for CMU. The 6 AM ET game means Monmouth makes its annual appearance, and I like watching them because I have a weakness for small college teams in the urban northeast, and they’ve been so good about doing this all three seasons. I like the setup by ESPN this time around.
4:36 AM — How good is it to be the founder of RTC? Well, let’s see. He was live at St. Mary’s/St. John’s, and it ain’t exactly tough spending all that time in the Bay area. Next week he’s off to Maui. Some pretty choice assignments, there, eh?!? Meanwhile, I’m up for about 26 straight hours (not including the hours I was up before the live blog started) doing this. Actually, I’m not complaining. This is fun for me. I mean…IT AIN’T MAUI…but it’s still fun.
4:40 AM — Hemogoblin: yeesh, cable outages during the 24 hour marathon? That should entitle you to a month’s refund. Thanks. I hope I’m here when you get up tomorrow. Meanwhile, to this game…
4:45 AM — Pretty evenly matched so far in CMU vs UH in just about every statistic. I already like watching Zeigler play. You can see the refinement, the control in his game, despite being just a freshman.
4:54 AM — Is this game in HD? My HD side borders are up on the screen and the picture that’s left over doesn’t look high def. I’ve become a real high-def snob now that I’ve had it for two months. By the way, this kid Bill Amis for Hawaii is no pushover, either. Sweet stroke, and confident.
5:11 AM — During the halftime and for the first part of the second half I got a call from rtmsf (the aforementioned founder) who’s driving back from Moraga. Punk. But that’s why I’ve tweeted less during this game. Things are gettin’ chippy, though! Lot of elbows getting thrown, and then the exchange between Zeigler and Zane Johnson. To be honest, the first one looked more instigated by Johnson and the second exchange looked more Zeigler’s fault. They’ve been reviewing this for about ten minutes now. My gosh, guys, call a double foul and get on with it.
5:33 AM — Trey Zeigler has taken over the scoring lead for CMU as you’d expect put it’s a tough shooting night, just 3-8 right now from the field. I’m pretty impressed by this Hawaii crowd. That’s a vicious bunch; they can get fairly loud when needed.
5:39 AM — Bill Amis’ shoulders are perfectly square when he goes up for a shot. Watch that for the rest of the game. That’s how it’s done. You could shoot an instructional video from his release. CMU’s getting ticked off because they think they’re getting jobbed by the refs. Well-placed time out here. They could use it.
5:41 AM — Not even three games in, I’m tired of “Dip, dop, dippety,” or whatever that guy says. I’m surprised I lasted that long. It’s like it’s every other commercial.
5:45 AM — Hawaii’s starting to pull away as far as the rebounding battle. I was just thinking, though — it CAN’T be easy to come to Hawaii and play an 11 PM (local) game, and deal with the time changes, the distractions (it IS Hawaii, people), and so on. CMU is starting to take highly questionable shots, often a sign of fatigue, immaturity, or both. UH by seven, but an eternity left.
5:50 AM — This game has an odd feel to it, and not just because it’s 5:50 AM ET. They’re both playing like there’s about a minute and a half left, and there’s almost eight minutes to go. There’s a sense of desperation on both sides.
5:58 AM — I like it. “The Big Brazilian” should be Andre Coimbra’s permanent nickname. That was a DEEP three he just nailed. We have a back and forth affair, folks! And both teams are starting to crank up the scoring.
6:04 AM — Hooohohooo…that was a SWEET floater by Zeigler to make it 62-61 UH with less than two minutes. I had to single out that shot, though. Softly off glass with a defender coming from behind.
6:09 AM — What was Hiram Thompson thinking? Grabbing the jersey? An obvious intentional foul after getting his pocket picked. What was Ernie Zeigler doing crouched over him, though?!? That looked bizarre. Props to Mark Adams (color) for explaining that CMU should not settle for a jump shot.
6:13 AM — If you’re CMU and you decide you’re going for the win, I say go to Coimbra. Let Zeigler draw defenders and dish it to him. If you play for the tie, there’s no way it’s not Zeigler. That’s been the offense for the last, oh, ten trips down the floor except for the intentional foul/breakaway.
6:16 AM — Down three, I stand by my statement.
6:17 AM — Tough, gutsy win by Hawaii. Props to CMU for coming into a tough environment and a strange situation overall (time difference, odd start time) and making it a game. Now we go from Hawaii…to New Jersey. But that’s OK. Monmouth has been a staple of the 24 Hour Marathon for all three years of its existence, and the students really get into it, too. You gotta respect that. They’re willing to play games at rude hours just to get their guys on ESPN and get that little bit of exposure.
6:29 AM — Monmouth is owning the glass so far in this one, 15-7. Stony Brook’s already played two games this year (they’re 1-1) but this is Monmouth’s first game.
6:42 AM — I believe Monmouth has surpassed their first half total from last year already. Wasn’t it last year that they scored 16 points in the first half of their game? I think so. And they’re outplaying the Seawolves in the last four minutes to build a 21-16 lead. The rebounding has evened up, but Stony Brook still doesn’t have an assist in this game.
6:51 AM — I love possessions like that one. Stony Brook stole the inbounds, transitioned back into offense better than Monmouth did back on defense, every player kept the ball high over his head, three quick passes, no dribbles, and a totally open man underneath the bucket for a layup gorgeous. You don’t need to be from a big six conference to play enjoyable basketball.
6:55 AM — Ouch. Stony Brook ends this half with one assist and seven turnovers. Neither team has hit a three. I absolutely love small northeastern school basketball, but this game deserves to be played at 6 AM. On a Sunday.
7:00 AM — During halftime I switched over for a moment to check some news headlines on Headline News and saw Robin Meade. That’s all I have to say about that. Actually, it’s not, but it’s all I should say. This is a channel you need to see if you find yourself up at this hour.
7:04 AM — Let’s put the issue to rest. I know what they’re getting at, and this is the fourth time we’ve seen this particular halftime show, but there is no “next Butler.” There may be another mid-major team that gets to the final this year, or some year coming soon. But not only did Butler get to the championship game, they did it in a year in which the Final Four was in their home city. Of the cities that frequently host Final Fours — the next four are Houston, Atlanta, New Orleans, and Arlington — what mid-major school in those cities has even a remote chance of getting to the Tournament, let alone the Final Four? If it happens in a city other than Indianapolis, it’ll be bigger than what Butler did. But the only program that can repeat what Butler did is Butler. The Final Four is back in Indianapolis in 2015.
7:16 AM — Will Campbell drills a three for Monmouth who now enjoys a nine point lead. Look at that Monmouth student section, though. They’re acting like this is being played at 7 PM instead of 7 AM. Major props.
7:23 AM — I bet Jay Williams is asking himself how he got this gig.
7:30 AM — Stony Brook again shows us it can indeed play some excellent-looking basketball on that fastbreak. But then R.J. Rutledge answers for Monmouth with an and-one at the other end, and things are picking up here a little…
7:35 AM — That’s right, I forgot that Rob Stone and Jay Williams are also calling the Marist vs Villanova game later tonight. I can certainly respect that. And HELLO, Marcus Ware! Nice follow, young fella!
7:48 AM — Marcus Ware stood open at the foul line for about ten seconds before he got the ball, and you could tell he was thinking about shooting that shot long before he got it. Short-armed. Stony Brook gets an and-one at the other end and we are tied. Another competitive game!
7:53 AM — They just showed a guy with a stuffed-animal bird on his head. On my TV, at least. I hope you saw it, too. Otherwise, I’m already starting to feel this. I’ll assume it really happened and that was a Monmouth Hawk.
7:57 AM — What a sequence for R.J. Rutledge! Misses a three, follows his own shot after the rebound hits the floor, then gets an easily lay-in for an and-one. Hawks by three, 49-46, only 1:11 left. Follow your shot, you kids out there!
8:00 AM — Good shot by Bryan Dougher coming out of that time out with that little kiss off glass, but then he launches an unnecessary three from the corner on their next possession. He’s lucky he got bailed out by that foul call on the rebound.
8:03 AM — Terrible shot there. You’re only down by one and you shoot a quick leg-kicking three with less than ten seconds left? I’m thinking that’s not what was drawn up.
8:05 AM — Same thing. Another unneeded three. A two would have tied it for the Hawks, and the last second semi-fumbled trey hit glass and nothing else. Stony Brook becomes the road team to win in this version of the marathon.
8:08 AM — And NOW we’re talking. It’s just after 8:00 AM ET, and here’s where we separate the men from the boys, the upperclassmen from the freshmen, the veterans from the rookies. The next three games are Robert Morris vs Kent State, Northeastern vs Southern Illinois, and Oral Roberts vs Tulsa. We’re barely 1/3 of the way into this thing. Here’s where the posers start to fall away.
8:17 AM — I’m a little surprised Kent State’s gym is this empty. They’re picked right behind Ohio in the MAC East by most prognosticators (I’ve seen 1-2 with Akron ahead of the Flashes). This is a solid club, though. That makes me respect Monmouth’s crowd even more.
8:28 AM — Whoa! What an effort by both sides, there — Eric Gaines got back for a nasty pin of a RMU layup, but then Russell Johnson hustled for the board and earned an and-one. Quick pace here, even though it’s only 16-11 in favor of RMU.
8:33 AM — Russell Johnson is a rebounding machine. This guy gets AFTER it on the glass. There are seven minutes left in the first half and Johnson’s already got six points and six boards. But the cool thing is the way he attacks the glass on both ends. He goes after every ball.
8:43 AM — Not bad at all from Robert Morris so far. I’m impressed with their high interest and energy on defense and they have a variety of ways they can score. Yann Charles opens his account for the evening with a well-timed three that extends RMU’s lead to nine. Good confident stroke from the frosh. They’ve been able to reasonably throw a blanket over KSU’s Justin Greene who’s working hard inside — the other Flashes just can’t get it to him.
8:55 AM — Kent State has shown itself to be the superior team so far and it’s because of their intensity on defense. You’ve got five guys all in a stance and with their hands up. They really seem to be into it. They’ve also got four or five guys who are very comfortable with the ball on the offensive end, all very confident in the scoring abilites. Since I bragged on Russell Johnson, he’s done almost nothing, but others have worked to extend the lead and build it to 12 at halftime. Kent State caught the shot-selection virus late in the half and they’re gonna have to work to keep from getting run out of their own gym. RMU looks tough and confident. KSU has only two assists at the half. We’ve seen that a few times during the marathon already.
9:05 AM — It’s a big day for British pop culture, I guess. the Beatles are finally coming to iTunes (about time) and Prince William is engaged (couldn’t care less). We’ve had a slew of Australians at St. Mary’s and a Big Brazilian play for Central Michigan. I sort of like the international flair this marathon live-blog has assumed.
9:12 AM — Back in it, now…I like watching him, but Karon Abraham would shoot from the pre-game meal. He’s not a black hole (though he has zero assists right now), but if he’s even slightly open from behind that three point line, he’s lettin’ it sail.
9:20 AM — Kent State with a little comeback because of better defense and some effort on the offensive glass. A 12-point lead is now four. Justin Greene’s starting to do work. He’s got 15/8 and all kind of time left.
9:24 AM — That song on the Reese’s commercial is by a pretty good band called the Morning Benders. The song’s called “Excuses.” Recommended.
9:27 AM — Does anyone else hear the dolphin-like wails of what I’m guessing is a KSU fan? Wow. It’s a combination of dolphin and that pig in the car from the Geico commercial.
9:29 AM — Wow!!! BIG block by KSU’s Justin Manns, nice outlet, single bounce pass to a cutter for a MAJOR slam. KSU cuts it to one, and we have yet another competitive game.
9:34 AM — Let’s see if Robert Morris can rely on their defense to keep the lead. They’ve taken a few plays off, plus exhibited bad shot selection in some recent trips and that’s helped KSU get back in it.
9:40 AM — Let’s be honest, here. Nice putback by Justin Manns, but there was NO foul on Yann Charles. He didn’t touch Manns. I’m incredibly tired of refs calling stuff that they think will be a foul.
9:46 AM — What’s happened to RMU’s collective brain? Two bad shots the last two trips down, slacking a little on defense, and now KSU has the lead…briefly. But the Flashes have been the well-balanced, multiple-threat team in the second half instead of Robert Morris. Lots of guys in white jerseys threatening double-doubles. Justin Greene’s closest with 15/8.
9:52 AM — And with this time out, I think we’ve had our first “Sandstorm” of the marathon. I’m still bewildered at Robert Morris, though. It’s like each of their IQs dropped at halftime. Not to take anything away from Kent State, though. They’ve done their part, improving their shot selection and working harder on defense.
9:58 AM — There’s a pair of double-doubles. RMU’s Russell Johnson 10/10 and KSU’s Justin Greene 17/11. Did they hit Carlton Guyton with a flagrant foul there with that elbow? Kind of a tight call, if you ask me. Looked like incidental contact to me. I don’t see how you call that.
10:04 AM — Man, Randal Holt has been at the right place at the right time about five times for KSU in this second half. That was a deflected pass that landed right in his hands, and BOOM, he drills a three with about 22 seconds left. And that was him on the intentional foul earlier, not Carlton Guyton. But Holt has nailed two big threes and made a couple of very timely defensive plays late in this one.
10:14 AM — That Holt three turns out the be the difference. Props to Geno Ford, who did whatever he had to do to get his fellows to play some defense and work for better shots in the second half. Justin Greene had a fantastic game though everyone in white contributed. Lots of Flashes put up impressive numbers or had great floor games in the second half. On to Northeastern vs Southern Illinois…
10:25 AM — So far our two stars are scoreless — Chaisson Allen and Carlton Fay both have zilch for NU and SIU, respectively. That’ll change, obviously.
10:32 AM — Oh, my, that was a nasty fall by Kauri Black. I don’t think the undercut was intentional. But he fell very strangely. Looks like he’s gonna try to go, though. Tough kid.
10:40 AM — Is it just me or is this Saluki offense gorgeous? Four guys moving without the ball makes them REAL tough to defend. Still nothing for Allen or Fay, though. And SIU has a monopoly on the boards right now.
10:45 AM — ALEX HARRIS with a MASSIVE throwdown off that steal from Allen! Might be the slam of the marathon so far!
10:53 AM — Holy cow, now Chaisson Allen has three fouls. And zero points. Definitely won’t see him until the second half, and when in the second half will be determined by the score. They might need him sooner than later, the way SIU is playing.
11:06 AM — Jack Crowder and Gene Teague have been the best player on the floor for SIU in the first half. Teague’s already got 6/6 and Crowder has nine points on 3-5 shooting and a couple of boards. Alwayne Bigby’s had the best floor game for NU (5 pts on 2-2 and 3 boards). If I we re forced to predict, I’d say that SIU will seperate from NU early in the second half and this will be the first game that hasn’t been tight down to the wire. Of course, I thought that about the last game, and KSU came back to earn that win.
11:13 AM — Ha! Jay Wischusen is exactly right. There were two more fouls than field goals in that half.
11:16 AM — Allen may not have been credited with that and-one of Bigby’s, but it was his work that did it. Great dive into that passing lane and retrieval to his teammate. And as I type this, he picks up his fourth foul on a charge. NU could be in serious trouble.
11:23 AM — The shot selection and defense viruses have spread from Robert Morris to SIU in this second half. NU has shown much more energy on defense after halftime. The problem is that Allen’s on the pine and Bigby just got his third.
11:27 AM — It’s crazy. SIU is now stagnant on offense and Northeastern is getting into the lane with much more ease than in the first half. Right now, on offense, SIU looks like the Redskins did last night.
11:33 AM — Egad, now it’s Bigby who snags his fourth. I think we’ve seen charges outnumber blocks by 5:1 tonight.
11:39 AM — Finally one goes for Allen, and it’s a three. Pushes NU’s lead to four. The Saluki’s are really playing defense more with their hands than with their feet this half.
11:44 AM — I don’t know, folks…there’s a good case to be made either way on that technical foul for rim-hanging. I think he knew those two Salukis had gone by him, but I can also see not wanting to take a chance. Tough call.
11:51 AM — I don’t think Smith got that shot off. Looked like the clock beat him. But at long last, sone defensive interest from SIU.
11:54 AM — A triple from Smith! It’s back and forth in the sixth game — another close one! Both teams taking good shots, playing defense — but SIU’s Gene Teague is my MVP for this one, no matter what. He’s got 10/11 and there’s still about four minutes left. Can’t ignore Joel Smith’s 17 pts.
12:03 PM Tuesday — Whew! Guys are hittin’ shots at the end of this one! Chaisson Allen hits that nifty little fadeaway where he actually took a hit and gives NU the lead AGAIN with 32.9 left. Man, what a game. Allen could end up in double figures after not scoring for the first 34 minutes of this game.
12:08 PM — Unreal. Allen goes to the line with a chance to give NU the lead with three seconds.
12:10 PM — And MISSES!
12:15 PM — Overtime seems fitting. It had to happen at some point, given the close games we’ve enjoyed in this edition of the marathon. Chaisson Allen is a rebound away from a double-double. Did you think you’d see that after the way he started?
12:23 PM — This is a SCREWING by the refs against SIU. The time out was NOT CALLED by Kendal Brown-Surles until after the referee had already signalled for one. No other player motioned for a time out. The referee told the SIU bench that someone verbally called for it, and that may be true, but it looked to me like the referee anticipated that a TO would be called and blew the whistle. Plus, how could a ref tell that it’s not an opponent caling time out, knowing the other team doesn’t have one? That’s a WEAK excuse by the refs. The technical free throw wins it for Northeastern. Give them credit for coming back after a terrible first half, and give MAJOR respect to Chaisson Allen for logging a double-double after doing absolutely nothing for the first 34 minutes of the game. But that was an unfair finish to what turned into a great game. Two straight road winners.
12:42 PM — Okay, on to the battle of Tulsa: Oral Roberts and Tulsa, and Dominique Morrison with the nice pass to the big guy underneath and ORU up seven in the first half.
12:56 PM — Still a seven-point lead for Oral Roberts at the half with Morrison leading the way for the Golden Eagles with 12 first half points. We’ve also got one of our RTC Live correspondents at the game, so you can check in there for the feel from the Reynolds Center.
1:09 PM — Halftime can definitely challenge my resolve in the best of times – too long to keep me interested, too short to take a nap.
1:16 PM — I remember D.J. Magley from Western Kentucky’s tournament team in 08-09. Good grinder for Tulsa. He’s got seven rebounds already.
1:21 PM — 8-0 run for Tulsa to open the second half, including two Justin Hurtt threes, and it looks like we could be headed for yet another game that goes down to the wire. Credit ESPN for putting together a very good lineup.
1:27 PM — Steven Idlet could use a few cheeseburgers, but that’s a skilled big man: post-up moves, face-up jumper, and excellent passing, as he finds Richard on the cut down the lane.
1:37 PM — Not loving that technical call on Steven Roundtree.
1:39 PM — Well, maybe he earned some credits, as he earns a tie up and possession after wrapping his arms around his opponent’s neck on the reach-in.
1:48 PM — Tulsa has really stepped up the effort defensively in the second half. ORU just 14 points in the first 13 minutes of the second half, and Dominique Morrison, ORU’s leading first half scorer with 12 points, has been held scoreless in the second half.
1:50 PM — Wow. Tulsa freshman Jordan Clarkson with a deep pull-up three over McClintock. Looked out of control until I saw the splash.
1:53 PM — Idlet is a tough matchup in the post for the undersized Golden Eagles. And with Hurtt knocking down his third three of the half, he and Idlet have combined for 21 second half points.
2:04 PM — Impressive second half for Tulsa. They’ve got some nice pieces there with Idlet, Hurtt, Clarkson and a host of role players.
2:07 PM — Idlet, an excellent second half, with 18 points, but we are officially in garbage time, waiting to head out to the Baylor/La Salle matchup and our first good look at Perry Jones, but we’ve got to wade through useless timeouts and fouls down the stretch here.
2:13 PM — Okay, Tulsa 53-30 in the second half, and after both teams do their best to squeeze every last second of national television time out of the end of this game, we’re headed to Waco.
2:23 PM — This is a deep, long, athletic and exciting Baylor team, but without Dunn we’re going to have to see who the go-to guy is offensively. Going to be interesting to see this rotation gel as the season progresses.
2:30 PM — Watching Perry Jones at 6’11 go up and grab a board and then bring the ball up-court, then knock down a face-up 18-footer the next time down. That’s some scary stuff.
2:33 PM — I think in his first half as a Baylor Bear, Bobo Morgan has already accomplished more than he did in two years at UCLA. And all he has is a dunk, a rebound and a foul.
2:37 PM — Quincy Acy is on fire. A couple monster dunks, five rebounds (three offensive), a couple jumpers and 14 points so far.
2:42 PM — La Salle is sticking around here, forcing turnovers, giving Baylor trouble with their zone and slowly figuring out what they can do against that enormous Baylor zone.
2:54 PM — The Explorers keeping it close by forcing turnovers and grinding it out offensively. They’re not shooting a great percentage (38.7% from the field), but nine La Salle steals and 14 total Baylor turnovers lead to this being just a three-point halftime lead for the Bears.
3:14 PM — Baylor’s second back-door cut for an alley-oop today, but while Baylor may be more spectacular, La Salle is just about as effective so far.
3:17 PM — Freshman to freshman, as Stargell Love with the pretty bounce pass to a cutting Perry Jones on the break. I like Love’s game, very good in transition. This guy may make a push for the cream of A.J. Walton‘s minutes.
3:27 PM — A couple brain farts from Acy: an intentional foul on one end and offensive basket interference on the other. Aaric Murray keeping La Salle in touch with 13 points and eight rebounds. Murray has been the best player on the floor in the second half.
3:35 PM — Wow. A.J. Walton does something positive. He knocks down a three, a good companion piece for his six turnovers and three fouls.
3:47 PM — Every time it looks like Baylor is ready to pull away, they string a couple turnovers together (whether forced or unforced) and La Salle knocks down a big shot. Ruben Guillandeaux (you have no idea how hard that name is to spell while sleep-deprived) with that latest big shot, a three from the corner to bring La Salle back within five.
3:52 PM — Acy has really developed his offensive game to the point where they can throw him the ball in the post and expect him to make a coherent post move. He’s the Bears obvious go-to guy in lieu of LaceDarius Dunn.
4:02 PM — La Salle ran out of gas, but they’ll beat some teams this year. But Baylor. Wow. They’ve got some issues they need to clean up, some of which will be solved when Dunn comes back, but this is as long and athletic a team as I can remember. Acy winds up with 25 points, 11 boards and a couple blocks. Perry Jones 12 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks. And now we’re shifting into the meat of the marathon: Virginia Tech at Kansas State up next.
4:13 PM — So Jacob Pullen with two personals in the first two minutes. Huge.
4:17 PM — Brutal elbow by Jeff Allen to the head of Wally Judge. Intentional foul, but not flagrant. Refs did a good job there, but KSU misses both free throws. We’ll have to keep an eye on Judge and see if and when he returns.
4:24 PM — Settle in folks, I think we’re in for a long, physical war. KSU was among the best in the country at drawing fouls and among the worst in the country at committing fouls last season,and Va Tech is not going to back down from their physicality.
4:28 PM — Pullen third personal in the first eight minutes. Sit the Beard!
4:33 PM — Pullen out with the fouls is the big story, but more amazingly, Virginia Tech has 13 personal fouls in nine minutes.
4:39 PM — Freshman backup point guard Will Spradling doing a good job in reserve for the Wildcats. Drew a nice charge there on the break, has knocked down a three, handed out an assist and is keeping the offense running smoothly in Pullen’s absence.
4:53 PM — Not sure what the Kansas State fans were upset about there on the Henriquez-Roberts rebound. If anything, given the emphasis on eliminating stray elbows this season, that could have been an intentional foul on him.
4:56 PM — K-State has had ten different players score. Their leading scorer has five points. Talk about balanced scoring.
5:01 PM — Bob Knight: “With 10 Atlantic Coast Conference wins last year, there was no argument that could have been made to keep Virginia Tech out of the NCAA Tournament.” Um. Bob. Apparently there was.
5:03 PM — Final tally in the first half, 25 total fouls, 21 total field goals.
5:12 PM — While we have time, let’s do a status check, here. I was hurting at the end of the Northeastern vs Southern Illinois game, but have recently found a second wind. I’ve developed a really wicked headache, and the neck is pretty stiff (no fever, though). My typing is definitely slower. But after a trip outside for some fresh air, a lap around the compound, and yet another bottled water and green tea, I think I’m ready for the stretch run. Gotta stay away from the high carb and sugary stuff right now. Protein, and staying hydrated, are the keys. But the finish line is in sight. And still…no caffeine.
5:18 PM — That was strange-looking. Were they planning on talking to Tex Winter? He just sort of went over and leaned next to Bob Knight.
5:22 PM — Victor Davila has a point and four fouls, and we’re barely three minutes into the second half.
5:27 PM — I didn’t see the injury to Will Spradling but that kid seemed to be in some serious pain. He wasn’t carrying it like a dislocation (usually people will dislocated shoulders will hold it close to their side with the arm folded in front of them), but that looked more like a neck stinger. That just kills, but that pain goes away in a few minutes so I bet he’ll be back.
5:34 PM — Kansas State’s going to be tremendously helped when Wally Judge gets some confidence in that jumper from the free throw line or when he can consistenly finish that move to the bucket. Pullen did well to find him and then he just threw that layup over the basket. And he wanted no part of that short jumper.
5:37 PM — Hemogoblin: HA, no sir. Not this stuff. This stuff is from the Chinese market. I’m careful not to get the caffeinated version.
5:42 PM — Speaking of caffeine, somebody put some into KSU’s Gatorade, because their work on the boards and their ball movement have been exemplary the last three trips down the floor. Does VT have ANY other offensive weapon that will show up here? Dorenzo Hudson’s got 7/4 and is the Hokies’ second-leading scorer behind Delaney. Meanwhile, KSU doesn’t have a single player in double-figures.
6:11 PM — Sorry, had a call I had to deal with, but all that’s happened is that KSU has outhustled VT in the late stages of this game, showed better shot selection and really turned up the defensive pressure to seperate themselves from the Hokies. VT looked mentally out of it by the 7:00 mark. Very impressed by KSU’s balanced attack and the multiple fellows who stepped up when needed, like Rodney McGruder (13/9) and Jordan Enriquez-Roberts (10/8). These aren’t your typical K-State weapons that you’d think of. A fine showing for the Wildcats.
6:17 PM — KSU wins it 73-57. Time for another lap around the RTC Southern Compound. Won’t have any problem staying up for this one. I’ve been looking forward to this game since the schedule was released.
6:25 PM — I simply don’t have the energy to type what needs to be typed to adequately describe Alex Tyus’ hair. Just assume it starts every comment. It’s been like this for several years, so at this point I blame the guy’s friends and family. Someone has to step up and have an intervention for this thing.
6:35 PM — Boy, Kenny Boynton looks confident at that point guard spot. Every one of his passes is crisp. Confident on his shot from range, too, despite the fact that he just hit his first three of the season.
6:42 PM — David Lighty hasn’t missed, it should be noted. 12 points on 3-3 and 5-5 FT.
6:47 PM — Well, Vernon Macklin’s having fun. Understandable, since he’s Florida’s leading scorer on 5-7 shooting (10/1). He’s exhoring the crowd as he heads to the huddle for this media timeout. Stat I didn’t think I’d see — UF is slaughtering OSU on the boards, 15-4.
6:53 PM — OSU should learn from that last possession. Three bad threes, all semi-contested. Then Jared Sullinger gets a board, goes to work, puts in a graceful little floater. Let the inside open up the outside, not vice-versa. They must have seen it, because Jon Diebler took it into the lane and scored and probably should have had an and-one. Oh, and by the way…Jared Sullinger? He’s BIG.
6:58 PM — I’ll say it — I’m impressed with Aaron Craft. His two turnovers were early, and he’s only got two assists (of OSU’s eight), but he’s handled the “lite trap” from UF quite well and got the ball to who should have it. Pretty darn good for a freshman.
7:13 PM — Second half underway. Sullinger’s left handed hook goes but he can’t convert the and-one. Thad Matta may have gotten that message about looking inside first through to his team at halftime. They didn’t hesitate there.
7:19 PM — The pace is quickening. And shots are starting to fall at both ends. First Lighty, then Chandler Parsons at the other end, then William Buford, then Boynton with a trey. Outstanding shooting performances from both teams tonight. I’d be verrrry surprised if this one wasn’t a last-possession game.
7:35 PM — Another phone call there, but while I took it I was watching how the OSU guards have handled this Florida pressure. Only four turnovers from the Buckeye guards all day. Excellent preparation by their coaching staff to get them ready and have them be so solid against the UF press. And Boynton drills another three. What’s gotten into this kid?!?
7:44 PM — Sullinger has 22/8 on 11-15 shooting. Just beastly. OSU’s forwards are a combined 19-27 (69%) in this game. WHOA, son…on the catcher’s-stance end of a Jared Sullinger dunk is NOT the place you want to be. That dunk might have left a permanent dent in the floor.
7:55 PM — Yowza. Diebler just got a heck of a roll for another three. When those are falling, I’m calling ballgame. Rack this one up. I didn’t know OSU was going to be able to find the extra gear so easily so early. Once they gained a little separation from UF, they put their foot on Florida’s neck and kept them down. Florida never got up and went willingly.
8:13 PM — ESPN cut away from the OSU-UF game to show the end of the women’s game. Fair enough, that’s turned into a slaying by the Buckeyes. Somebody be a mensch at the Grandview Cafe’ and buy a round in celebration. Now ESPN’s back at Louisville vs Butler. I haven’t even bothered switching to Duke vs Miami (OH) because it hasn’t been competitive since the tip. And even though this is not the kind of talk I should be engaging in after being awake for about 28 straight hours, but…I got credentialed for a couple of Louisville games last year (they won them both). Two things I took away: 1) Rick Pitino has the voice box of a viking; you can hear him all over the (former) arena no matter the crowd noise, and 2) the, um, Louisville dance team? Impressive. Like, Sullinger-esque impressive. I’m taking a couple of engagement rings the next time I go there.
8:23 PM — This looks to be a much better-groomed Matt Howard. Good call, man. Shelvin Mack is playing about 70 miles from his hometown in Lexington, so he’s got extra motivation tonight. Looks confident early, like a guy who has absoluetly no qualms running a team that was two shoelaces from a national championship last season, and relishes the chance.
8:29 PM — And BRAD STEVENS gets rung up! The first technical foul of this brand new arena goes to…Brad Stevens? I like this intensity from the Butler coach, though.
8:34 PM — Yep, definitely starting to feel it now. I’m seeing things running across my floor that aren’t really there.
9:03 PM — JEEEEEZ…no, I haven’t passed out. The internet connectivity went out here for about 25 minutes. That has happened twice in the last two years: tonight, and during last year’s marathon. That can’t be a coincidence. But what’s happened in that time is that Louisville has pretty much put together the perfect half, for them. They outscrapped the Bulldogs in the first half and definitely got physical with them. This has frustrated Butler who has no rhythm on offense. Shelvin Mack has 17/6 but he’s the only offensive threat for BU right now. Matt Howard has three fouls (two of them questionable) which is nothing new for him. Most glaring column: Louisville has 11 assists. Butler has but two.
9:20 PM — That cut by Peyton Siva resulted in a bucket and it looked more like Butler basketball than Butler has.
9:23 PM — THEN Siva takes it to the hole after Howard only hits one of two FTs, and Siva hit his head HARD on the floor. I’m surprised he got up from that but glad he did. You could hear the ‘knock’ of the back of his head hitting the floor on the replay.
9:29 PM — This is nothing like the Butler team we saw last year. I’m not sure how fair that is, but you expected more of a contest despite the loss of Gordon Hayward. This Butler team is flummoxed.
9:35 PM — The ACC may be in for one of those years where the top is pretty darn good but the middle and the lower reaches of the conference are down. Wake Forest just got beat by VCU. By 21. Georgia Tech last night, now Wake tonight. And by “the top” of the ACC, I mean…Duke.
9:42 PM — Stevens has gone to the end of the bench. Alex Anglin is a walk-on and Stevens has him in, down 21. Anglin got tripped cutting across the lane and nothing was called. Did nobody see that?
9:47 PM — Matt Howard gets his first bucket after almost 29 minutes of basketball. Maybe even more glaring than that is that he only has two rebounds.
9:52 PM — That looked like a cramp in Mack’s left quad. Being taken to the locker room — IV fluids?
9:56 PM — Hold on a second. There have been 19 fouls in this half…and none of them have been called on Matt Howard?
9:58 PM — That last drive into the lane and dish to Howard has been there a lot in this second half. Butler can get into the lane when they try. They’ve just settled for more outside shots than usual. Right now they’re 3-19. Props to Rakeem Buckles for his double-double (10/10).
10:09 PM — Internet here’s doing funny things. But we’ll see how far we can go without another interruption. Only one this year (so far!) which was earlier in this game, and it was for about 20 minutes. Hope it stays up. Meanwhile, that doesn’t look like a cramp on Preston Knowles’s lower leg. That’d be a strange place for a cramp unless it’s the worst shin splint in the world. Butler’s fought back to within 11 but the clock is starting to smirk at them.
10:13 PM — To be sure, it doesn’t do Butler much good to keep getting Matt Howard to the line if he’s going to miss free throws. I think you’ve got to let Mack handle it and act as first shooting option if he’s out there.
10:19 PM — That trey by Buckles may have done it. If taht stays out and Butler scores, it’s 9 with 2:30 or so left. Instead, it’s a 14-point margin with the same amount of time. But realistically, Butler was not going to stay in this late without Shelvin Mack on the floor. Buckles had some serious stones to take that.
10:31 PM — As we move to South Carolina at Michigan State, we gotta keep an eye on Belmont at Tennessee. Belmont only down six at the half. That one’s on the U. Incidentally, I’m so tired I could just punch somebody.
10:34 PM — WOW. Sixty fouls in this game.
10:37 PM — Next! South Carolina is hanging with Michigan State early.We’ll see if that sticks. Right now we’ve got two SEC teams on two of the ESPNs and it’s debatable how good a thing that is — LSU has lost to Nicholls State tonight. Lots of upsets this evening.
10:52 PM — One of the themes to this marathon is the assist disparities we’ve seen. Now we have Michigan State with 12 and South Carolina with two. We may be switching from this game. MSU is starting to pull away already and Tennessee/Belmont is at least a little more compelling, since it’s Belmont.
11:05 PM — Still here. Quite lightheaded. Determined to make it. Still no caffeine.
11:10 PM — Really, ESPN2? We’re gonna push back the start of SDSU/Gonzaga so we can finish this 20-point MAC football game between Ohio U. and Temple? Killing me.
11:21 PM — Tobias Harris with a STRONG performance for Tennessee. 16/6 on 7-11 shooting. It’s 71-60 with about six minutes left there.
11:25 PM — Can’t believe the final tip of the marathon happens in five minutes.
11:31 PM — Belmont can’t put a dent in that Volunteer lead. UT’s done a good job of finding the best shot available each trip down. Tobias Harris looks MUCH more mature than his age.
11:36 PM — That Stetson team that beat Wake Forest…got beat by Bethune-Cookman tonight.
11:41 PM — That UT lead? Uh, yeah, Belmont finally made that dent. 77-74 with over a minute left. We have a ballgame. I’m not going to SDSU/Gonzaga until this one’s done.
11:44 PM — Terrible shot selection by Scotty Hopson. You just don’t need a three there, and he had John Fields open on the roll to the bucket. As a result, Fields tries to rebound Hopson’s miss but goes over the back and fouls out. Belmont has one more FT to tie it!
11:49 PM — Belmont has had a free throw and a three-pointer in the air to tie this game and couldn’t hit either. UT has given them openings. Trae Golden just might have iced this one for the Vols.
11:52 PM — Good comeback by Belmont, but they missed their last four shots, three of which were pretty open. That’s not an easy building to win in, though. Now, over to SDSU and the Zags…
11:58 PM — Can’t believe the last games in this thing have tipped. I think I’ll have a big steaming cup of coffee…oh, come on, I’m just kidding. SDSU looks DARN good early, coming into this hostile environment and taking a nine-point lead. If there were such a thing as fantasy college basketball, Kawhi Leonard would be a high draft pick. He’s already got 12/7, three steals, a block, and an assist.
12:07 AM Wednesday — Past the 24-hour mark now. Eyes drooping, head nodding. Have to proofread a few times to ensure that updates are not jibberish. Checking UCLA vs Pacific, the Bruins have opened up an early 11-pt lead in a Pauley Pavilion that looks like it’s maybe 50% full (check end zones).
12:14 AM — Reeves Nelson already has 14/5 on 7-9 shooting and a lot of tatoos.
12:17 AM — Just for completeness’ sake, I’d better take a final peek in on MSU vs South Carolina, since they got it to within eight points earlier. It’s ten right now, and there’s a tad less than three minutes left. Make it eight. Should probably stick here just to make sure.
12:20 AM — In the movie of Tom Izzo’s life, Christopher Plummer will play him.
12:24 AM — This one’s over if Draymond Green gets both of these. Which he does. Four possession game (80-70) with 20 seconds. Time to go back to SDSU/Zags.
12:39 AM — Both of these teams are shooting a perfect 50% so far. Steven Gray is starting to take over for the Zags but this frosh Mathias Monninghof has one of the sweeter strokes I’ve seen today (which goes back to 24 hours and 39 minutes ago). Billy White (19/7) is BALLIN’ for SDSU and, to Kawhi Leonard’s credit, he seems perfectly content to get White the ball and let him do the scoring.
12:49 AM — Billy White is Reaganing. If you don’t watch 30 Rock, 1) shame on you, and 2) you won’t get that reference. [Ed. note: no political statement is implied with that reference] Seriously, he’s on fire and can do no wrong. A gorgeous three and then a hard-work tip in give him 26/9 (?!?) for the day.
12:54 AM — Now I’m hearing a crying baby through the TV every time a call goes against Gonzaga. It sure sounds real, though I acknowledge that it might not be.
12:58 AM — Just a quick check…UCLA is still up by 14 over Pacific. Back to Gonzaga/SDSU, I tell you, these teams are extremely good at capitalizing if the opponent so much as takes a single possession off or throws up one bad shot. Two-point game with five minutes left.
1:02 AM — Twins: it’s not that I wasn’t before, but even though most of the talk here on Twitter and on TV has been about Gonzaga, I am totally an Aztec believer. To come into this environment and play this well is an amazing achievement, and they’re up eight on a team that a lot of people are predicting will get to the Final Four or even win the national championship (I’m too tired to remember who predicted that — Bilas?). Both of these teams are fun to watch, but SDSU is doing this in one of the toughest buildings in the game.
1:07 AM — Seriously, the high-screeching, yelling fan? Nobody else is catching that? That single sound is the annoyance equivalent of a thousand vuvuzelas. Just me? OK.
1:11 AM — Steven Gray has scored Gonzaga’s LAST TEN points and can also do no wrong. Incredible ball player. Billy White with a bad foul and he better be careful — he’s doing a lot of jawin’ at the refs.
1:17 AM — Intelligent play by the Aztecs to pull that out and use clock. It looked to me like Mike Hart jumped under Malcolm Thomas a little to take that charge, but that’s in the past because Gray scores — shocking! — and we have a one-point game. Shot clock’s off. Expect the Zags to foul if no turnover from the press.
1:20 AM — Give Billy White credit for that play. He’s the one who knocked it off of Gray, who knew he had to race to keep it from going out off of him. That wasn’t Gray’s fault. Just a good play by Billy White. That’s one of the biggest wins SDSU has EVER had.
1:24 AM — Some final numbers from that game: Billy White = 30/9 on 14-18 shooting. Kawhi Leonard = 18/12/3 ast/2 stl. Steven Gray = 35 pts/5 ast. A trio of amazing performances. I think we just got a good look at a couple of Sweet 16 teams. I know, it’s early. And I’m tired. But that had a February-like feel to it. Those two teams, and the victory by SDSU, are the story of the marathon right up there with Ohio State’s impressive showing.
1:28 AM — I turned it over to catch the end of UCLA/Pacific and what do I get? A high-def TV full of UCLA cheerleaders. Now I’m ready to go another 24 hours. Actually, that’s not even funny. I can barely go another five minutes. UCLA wins that one by 13.
1:29 AM — The marathon is over.
Time: 25 hours 39 minutes
Caffeinated beverages or other commercial stimulants: 0
Hallucinations: Too numerous to count.
I have crossed the finish line and broken the tape. It’s been a fun 25 and a half hours, folks. We had a few newcomers decide they were going to take their shots at this venture this time around, and I think RTC has defended its ground well. I appreciate all the commenters showing up and all the Tweeters/Re-Tweeters who engaged in conversation. You made this easier.
So now…I can either hit the sack, go out on the town, or…actually, I DVR’d the whole thing. Wanna go again?