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March Madness: Day 3…”Dance Yrself Clean”
Yep, we’re back on that indie-techno side of things (though I don’t think anyone’s called it “techno” since 1997 – indie-electronic?). Let’s dive right in:
12:17pm: I made tip-off! Woo! And Pittsburgh and Florida are both teams I hate! Yeah! Actually, it’s a miracle I made anything today – I may be patient zero of the zombie apocalypse. I don’t think that much caffeine and booze should go into your system if your four-day bender is spent entirely on your couch blogging and tweeting about college sports.
12:46pm: I’ve been out of the apartment running errands and have missed the last 10 minutes of the Pittsburgh/Florida game – how is the score only 15-all? My buddy texts me to inform me that in fact, I’ve missed nothing. Why is it so easy to hate Florida?
12:53pm: It’s a good thing that I don’t have to split my focus today, but I wish there was any other game on besides the Florida/Pitt game. I know that somewhere there has to be some paint drying that I could watch. Briefly considering switching to the NIT tournament – only briefly.
12:54pm: Curiosity got the better of me. I could only stand George/Louisiana Tech for about a minute before I had to switch back.
1:19pm: Someone on Twitter is displeased with my dislike of Florida. While I sit contemplating, “What’s the protocol for responding to something like this?” for the better part of two minutes, I realize I’m old.
1:47pm: I’m still not convinced anything is actually happening in this game. It’s another hour until something I’m mildly interested in watching comes on (Louisville/Saint Louis). This is the only problem with the rest of the weekend – there’s no respite if something is boring.
You don’t like the teams, the announcers, whatever – it doesn’t matter. It’s all you’ve got. I mean, I guess there’s the outside world, but that sounds daunting.
2:14pm: Make. It. Stop. The Florida/Pitt game has been over forever. So glad the clock’s finally winding down. Louisville/Saint Louis, just know that the bar has been set incredibly low for you.
3:00pm: Aggressive play to start off the Lousiville game – really physical. Hancock is getting manhandled, but he’s taking it like a pro – also showing his range.
3:14pm: The Team Drought graphic is already up, telling me that Saint Louis hasn’t scored since three and a half minutes into the game – it’s the 11 minute mark and they’ve got 4 points. Somehow, Louisville only has 11 points themselves. These guys are playing like I feel:
5:04pm: I decided to get out and enjoy the day. Saint Louis threatened, but ultimately had nothing. Not much to write home about these games.
These are typically the doldrums games; everyone burned themselves out the last two days, and the adrenaline fades and the talent levels start to show themselves. Yes, I may be trying to jinx the upcoming games into being absolute barnburners.
5:17pm: The feed seems to have died. Either this is CBS’ way of saving me from a terrible game or there are legit problems. Also, I completely forgot today is Opening Day – but it’s not real Opening Day. Opening Day happens in the great US of A.
I’m not trying to be a hyper-nationalist, but it would be like the British Premiere League having their first game of the season here.
8:12pm: My body finally gave out and I crashed post-dinner, but I wake up to a world where Dayton and Syracuse have combined for 38 points at the half (and ‘Cuse is losing) and SDSU is letting North Dakota State know who their daddy is. Oregon/Wisconsin has all the makings of an awesome game but I’m just trying to keep my eyes open.
8:24pm: Ok, I’m awake. The Wisconsin/Oregon game is so freaking entertaining – it’s like both teams are playing a video game on novice mode. It’s raining 3s out there. If I don’t switch to ‘Cuse though, I think my upstate roots will be called into question. This game is not quite as interesting. Video game difficulty has been set to, “you shall not score.”
8:41pm: ‘Cuse looks so sluggish. I find myself gritting my teeth through most of this game.
9:06pm: This game is giving me heartburn. Just when ‘Cuse looks like they’re ready to turn it on and pull away, they let Dayton back in it. Dayton, it has to be said, is playing great.
Awesome ball movement, not backing down, and breaking down the zone.
9:21pm: ‘Cuse down 3, my buddy predicting a late 3 by Ennis to send it to OT. I don’t think I’ve breathed in the last two minutes.
9:25pm: “Gyah!” I scream out loud as Ennis bricks his shot with 8 seconds left for the lead. Thing is, taking the shot with that much time left let them free to foul. I support it. Worst case scenario, they’re shooting that 3 for OT.
9:26pm: No. No no no. No.
9:28pm: Ennis had an open look at a 3 for the win – I swear it was going to drop. I think we all did. But it clanged, and now Dayton’s going to the Sweet 16. My guess is every suicide hotline in the upstate area is currently ringing off the hook.
There is so little to root for up where I’m from, people become fanatical about ‘Cuse within a two-hour radius. There are going to be a lot of mopey posts coming up in my Facebook feed.
9:32pm: Oregon/Wisconsin fixed my blues. Best game of the day, hands down.
10:18pm: Wisconsin is taking it to Oregon and scoring at will. They had been down 14 and battled back to be up 2 with 53.3 remaining. I think Thursday I was complaining about them being a team I just didn’t care about, but one exciting game changes everything. I’m all in. Go Badgers.
10:30pm: No point even trying to describe the sequences – I’ll just say it was the best game of the night without question. Oregon you played a great game, wish you got to hang around a little while longer in this tournament.
10:36pm: Uhm, what the balls has been happening in the Michigan State/Harvard game? This was a blowout last time I checked and now Michigan State’s up 3 with 6:24 to play and Harvard’s in the double bonus.
10:42pm: Still a lot of game left, but spirit-crushing 3 by the Spartans. Little kids dream of getting to take a shot like that.
11:02pm: And so ends the saga of the Great Ivy Hope – maybe next year boys. Good game, though.
11:04pm: I have a realization as I begrudgingly turn to the Nova/UConn game that I care very little about: I actually haven’t cared about most of the games today, but there’s a definite reason I watched.
Our tag-line at LSN is, “These sports of ours,” and the key word there is ours. Sports create a community. Despite only briefly leaving the house today, I’ve been constantly in touch with people.
Sports keep us close, it gives us something to talk about; it creates substance where there might only have been thought.
I’ve got a lot of great buddies out there who are sports fans, but my friendships with them don’t endure because of our fandoms (they endure because they’re good people); but it’s likely our friendships got their starts because we are sports fans.
It gives strangers an immediate shared language and point of connection, even if you disagree. I can go anywhere in the country and know that if someone follows sports even a little, we’ll have something to talk about. That’s pretty cool to me.
Sorry for that interlude – it was the sobriety talking. I swear it won’t happen again.
11:43pm: First beer of the night – how did this happen? Oh – right, because I spent most of the day feeling like one of Sinatra’s suits after he’d done the rounds in Vegas. And the honest to God truth is I’ve finally checked out. After Oregon/Wisconsin and getting my hopes up that Harvard might have something in the tank, I faded. I’ll keep this running in case something amazing happens in UConn/Nova, but the last note will probably be the sign-off.
12:10am: Lies. Nova hits a 3 to cut it to 8. There’s still just north of a minute left, but crazier things have happened. Crazy sequence leads to UConn turning it over as they try to inbound and Nova grabs a cheap bucket. Down 6, 1:05 to play. I’m in.
12:12am: UConn hits both free throws…Nova drains a 3!! This is why this strategy exists. They send UConn back to the line: UConn up 6 now with 1 more shot and 57.2 to play. (Made it.)
12:13am: Tough, tough attempt by Nova. Airball to turnover, fouling again with 46.7 left, down 7. At least they’re going down swinging.
12:18am: The clock running out is just a formality. UConn pulls off the upset and keeps the dream alive. Nobody on the Nova bench really looked like they expected to pull it off, but they gave it their best shot – that’s what counts.
Tomorrow I won’t get started until the second game. Sometimes real life is actually a thing. Bummed I’ll miss Standford/Kansas, but only for the entertainment value. I don’t think Stanford’s got a snowball’s chance. Kentucky/Witchita St. will be fun, and I expect a full collapse by UNC against Iowa State (they showed flashes of it on Friday).
The game I’m most excited about is Mercer/Tennessee at 6:10 – should be a blast watching two Cinderellas square off. After that, my interest wanes, but how knows – if Oregon/Wisconsin can get me amped, any game can.