Friday, March 20, 2009

Reflections On Madness, Day 1

There were roughly 12,600 live blogs of the NCAA tournament Thursday. But just in case you haven't gotten your fill of commentary, here are my thoughts about the first day of action from the hoops orgy:

There is an interesting phenomenon surrounding Greg Gumbel. There's absolutely nothing special about him, but everytime you hear his voice, you know something special is about to happen. That is unless, he's about to invite Seth Davis into a conversation.


One of the hidden benefits of being on the west coast at tourney time- it's completely acceptable to drink at 9:20 on a weekday morning. Being surrounded by tvs and booze at a local bar is the next best thing to actually being in an arena. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to make it to best locale to combine alcohol and tvs- a Vegas sportsbook. Bob Knight, however, did make the trek out to Vegas to co-host a show with Billy Packer. So far, it doesn't look like the city has been too kind to him.

Maybe Packer stole his sunscreen so that he could approach coeds on spring break and offer to apply lotion to their backs. (Try to get that image out of your head.)


Jim Calhoun went to the hospital and was unable to coach the team Thursday night. But why is in the hospital? Why can't any of these reporters tell me? Hey CBS: Get some facts and come back and see me!


CBS had a human interest piece prepared about CSUN reserve Michael Lizarraga, who is believed to be the first deaf player to play in the NCAA tournament. This kind of story is the perfect filler to keep the audience engaged during a blowout. Only problem is that the Matadors failed to cooperate and gave Memphis quite a scare; and actually led with 10 minutes to go in the game. The Tigers finally made their run, but by the time the game was out of reach, CBS was almost out of time and they had to rush in the story in the final minutes. In fact his interpreter received about as much camera time as he did. If the interpreter is available, perhaps she could confirm what I'm pretty sure I saw at the end of the game:

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm fairly certain that Calipari congratulated CSUN head coach Bobby Braswell by telling him, "You guys played your balls off." If you're Braswell, how do you even respond to a used car salesman talking about your team's collective balls? I know it's intended to be a compliment, but I can't even figure out how working hard would result in the loss of ones balls. And if it is a possible consequence, then lord knows I need to continue to avoid hard work. I've rewatched the clips a few times thinking that maybe it was actually "You guys played your butts off," because that would be, ya know, an actual expression. But it looks like balls to me, and I find that tough to swallow.


During the later portion of the Washington/Mississippi State game, Kevin Harlan reminded the audience that "in this shot clock era" there was still a chance for a comeback. The shot clock era began 24 years ago- I think we're well adjusted to it by now. Still it could have been worse. At least Harlan didn't start talking about how the game has changed since the darkies were allowed onto the court.


What could have possibly made State Farm execs think that ripping off the annoying Mercury Insurance campaign would be a good idea.? We get it: all insurance companies are dishonest charlatans who can't be trusted to do as much as wash your car. But it's the law that I need insurance, so you've got me over the barrel...just like a good neighbor. Well played, State Farm.


Coeds in bikinis are usually a great thing. But band members in bikinis? Dicey. VCU decided to take on the challenge. The results depend on how drunk you are at the time:

Wait- the one chick plays the flute. That is definitely worth some bonus points. "This one time, at band camp..."


Western Kentucky held off a furious rally from Illinois to complete their upset bid in the last game of the night. The victory was sealed when the Hilltoppers managed to burn almost all of the clock by passing the ball around and over defenders, thereby preventing Illinois from fouling them. Kevin Harlan described this as W. Kentucky playing a game of "dodge ball." I'm pretty sure he meant "keep away," but I like his idea better. It seems like more fun. Especially if some Duke players are involved.



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