5:30: The March Madness Day 2 Live Blog comes to an end with a perfect day for my bracket today. We went 6 hours and 41 minutes on Thursday and 5 hours and 30 minutes today for a total of 12 hours and 21 minutes of live blogging in two days. That’s a WFAN.com record for now.
There’s still plenty of tournament basketball today and the Rangers and Knicks are both playing tonight and important games for both teams. The Devils are playing too, but no one cares about the Devils
Check WFAN.com on Monday for my thoughts on the opening weekend of the tournament and to see how my Sweet 16 teams and how the matchups would look. Here are my Sweet 16 teams:
#1 Ohio State
#5 West Virginia
#2 San Diego St.
#2 Notre Dame
#5 Kansas State
Thanks to everyone that followed along and hopefully next year I will be live blogging from Las Vegas! Enjoy the rest of the weekend and the tournament!
5:21: Since the live blog will be coming to an end around 5:30, here are my picks in my bracket for the rest of the day:
5:17: The clock operators at the tournament never stop the clock at the right time. It’s probably hard to get it perfect since there is so much going on near the table at the end of the game, but in this instance in the Arizona-Memphis game, it seemed like it ran way too long after. Arizona wins 77-75, and Duke wins 87-45. The bracket stays perfect today at 6-for-6 and 18-for-22 overall. Good day so far.
5:11: And just like that, Arizona only leads by one with 12.8 seconds left after a huge steal by Memphis. After a few brutal games to start the day, it’s starting to pick up after the exciting George Mason-Villanova finish.
5:09: Arizona leads by five with 20 seconds to go in the second half as they try to advance and be the first favorite to cover today.
5:01: We’re in hour six of the live blog and Arizona-Memphis is tied with a little over two minutes left.
I like how the studio show is talking about Bruce Pearl and his future with Tennessee and they’re like “Obviously there’s some recruiting issues there.” Obviously. I love when there is a problem and people pretend like it doesn’t exist. You can hear it in Pearl’s voice in the interview following the game that he knows he’s on his way out of there and Tennessee has done nothing to dispel the idea that he will be gone. Bye, Bruce!
4:49: Memphis leads Arizona with six minutes left and the perfect bracket for Day 2 is being threatened. The line on this game was 5.5 points. If Memphis covers, every betting underdog will have covered today.
4:39: Of course the first close game of the day gets called by Gus Johnson. I lose Villanova -2, but keep the bracket a perfect 4-for-4 today and 16-for-20 overall. So, I guess there’s something to be happy about after watching the latest Villanova tournament meltdown.
Before the game, I was thinking about this game and wondering why I would ever take George Mason. But I just rememberd back to the beginning of the week when I was filling out my bracket and now I know why I went against Villanova. They have been bad for a while now and made the tournament off their success at the beginning of the year, which is perfectly fine, but they haven’t played good basketball for a long time. That was shown again in the final minutes here during yet another collapse by them down the stretch where missed free throws led to their demise. I don’t know how long George Mason will last in this tournament (I have them losing on Sunday to Ohio St.), but I don’t think they will stick around as long as they did a few years ago.
4:23: I was waiting for Gus Johnson to explode and he just showed his first sign of exploding. George Mason hits a 3 down six to cut their deficit to three and Gus is excited heading into the commercial break. I’m rooting for Villanova -2 here, but if George Mason wins, it’s good for my bracket and good for the ending since Gus will be going nuts.
4:17: TV1: Mike Francesa. TV2: Arizona-Memphis. TV3: George Mason-Villanova.
4:11: “The Bronx, folks. That’s how you do it!” And Gus Johnson is ready to roll here in the final minutes of Villanova-George Mason.
4:09: We’re in hour five of the live blog and Villanova is trying to hand on against George Mason, Arizona is up three at the half and Duke is up 17 at the half. It’s been a pretty terrible day of games so far if you’re looking for upsets and buzzer-beaters or even just close games.
But if you’re looking for gambling, all three underdogs on the lines (Oakland, Michigan, Akron) have covered, and George Mason is trying to be the fourth gambling underdog to cover at +2.
3:56: George Mason has come back to make it interesting against Villanova, which is now a one-point game.
3:46: Notre Dame fails to cover, but wins. The bracket is 3-for-3 today and 15-for-19 overall.
3:37: Arizona has come back to take the lead over Memphis. Ben Hansbrough is trying to ruin the Notre Dame cover and Villanova has an eight-point lead. The Duke game doesn’t matter since they will probably win by 50.
3:31: This Notre Dame line is going to go right down to the wire. Duke has a big lead early on against Hampton, and Memphis leads Arizona.
Big night in the NHL tonight too, well for the bottom of the Eastern Conference. Rangers-Canadiens, Hurricanes-Islanders and Devils-Capitals.
3:28: Notre Dame has a 14-point lead and the line is 14 points. How about that?
3:26: Usually Bob Raissman writes nonsensical things in the Daily News, but he makes a good point today that the tournament needs Dick Vitale. Vitale loves college basketball more than anyone and letting him do work for CBS would be good for the broadcasts and the game.
3:19: Notre Dame has made it a double-digit lead again and that should do it for Akron.
How about Mike D’Antoni’s comments about Knicks fans complaining about the team’s defense?
“It’s great. They care. Take some Prozac and hang in there. We’re pedaling as fast as we can pedal. There are holes. Our defense has gotten worse. We have to get better, but the biggest thing is no to exaggerate where we are.”
If Joe Girardi said something like that I would go nuts.
3:13: I’m still skimming through the New York Post and there’s a story “Coulda Been Me” about how Carson Daly was Ryan Seacrest before Ryan Seacrest was Ryan Seacrest and now Daly is on NBC at 1:30 a.m. In 1997-99 if you didn’t watch “TRL” when you got home from school, don’t even bother going to school the following day because you would have no one to talk with the focus around which video was No. 1 and where Limp Bizkit was. Before “TRL” was popular it was the same story with “T.G.I.F” on Friday nights. If you miss “Boy Meets World” and “Step By Step” on Friday night, you might as well miss school on Monday.
Villanova takes a six-point lead into the locker room, which is good for my -2 and bad for my bracket. Akron has closed within five of Notre Dame, so it’s time to put up the audio on TBS, and take a break from looking at the New York Post. I still have to go through the Daily News today too.
3:07: I’m looking through the New York Post and there’s an ad for the movie “Paul” and the ad says “Seth Rogen is perfect as Paul!” – Ray Bennett, The Hollywood Reporter. I don’t know Ray Bennett, but I’m pretty sure he’s wrong and I haven’t seen the movie and probably never will. If it said, “Seth Rogen is perfect as the actor who ruined yet another movie!” then I would probably agree with Ray Bennett. But I have a hard time believing the movie is funny and that Seth Rogen is “perfect” in it.
Meanwhile, Villanova didn’t really like being up 10 points, so they are letting George Mason back into the game.
3:01: We’re in hour four of the live blog, and Arizona-Memphis just started, which is good since maybe it will be a good game. The Texas game was terrible. The Michigan game was only fun because Bruce Pearl’s team got dominated, Notre Dame is close to putting that game out of reach and Villanova is trying to do to the same to George Mason now. Weak day for the first group of games. We were spoiled yesterday.
2:58: You know it’s Friday when barely anyone is signed in on GChat. I’m going to call today the official start of spring. March Madness on, windows open to let the breeze in. Baseball in 13 days. It’s the best time of the year.
2:56: Villanova’s trying to open this game up. I wish they would.
2:51: Yesterday I talked about the Scariest NCAA Basketball Coaches Power Rankings (meaning you wouldn’t fear disappointing or losing for them) and I said I needed more time to think about them. I didn’t get a chance to write summaries for each coach (maybe I will use that for a piece this week on WFAN.com), but here are the current rankings off the top of my head:
1. Bob Huggins – West Virginia
2. Frank Martin – Kansas St.
3. Coach K – Duke
4. Rick Pitino – Louisville
5. Jim Calhoun – UConn
6. Jim Boeheim – Syracuse
7. Roy Williams – UNC
8. Tom Izzo – Michigan St.
9. Billy Donovan – Florida
10. John Thompson III – Georgetown
2:42: OK, back to basketball. Villanova has a 21-15 lead over George Mason, and Michigan is about to close out Tennessee. The bracket is 2-for-2 today and 14-for-18 overall.
2:39: Since Michigan-Tennessee is over and Notre Dame is at half, it’s time to look for something to put on TV1 until some more games begin. I’ve decided to go with “Maury” where today’s episode is “Is My Fiance the Father of My Sister’s Babies?” Patrick just found out he is the father of two kids and not the father of two kids. Aside from the graphic during the MLB postseason that shows Derek Jeter’s career postseason stats, the next best graphic on TV is “The Results Are In!” during these paternity test shows on “Maury”.
2:34: The early games have been a letdown (as expected) after what happened yesterday at this time. Texas had a large lead for the entire game until Oakland decided to play with some urgency in the final minutes in what ended up being a four-point game. Michigan is just blowing the doors off of Tennessee with a 25-point lead. Notre Dame only leads by four at halftime, but from what I saw in the first half, I don’t think that will be much of a game in the second half. And there’s Villanova-George Mason, which is just seven minutes in. I have George Mason in my bracket, which I regret, but have Villanova -2 today. I’m excited for the second half of this game when Gus Johnson will be ready if it’s close.
2:26: If this is Bruce Pearl’s last game at Tennessee (I hope it is), it’s an embarrassing one. Michigan is up 21 an show no signs of slowing down with eight minutes to go in the game. That Notre Dame blowout is going to have to wait until the second half since they only lead by four right now with the first half almost over. Villanova and George Mason are exchanging leads early in Cleveland where Gus Johnson has the call.
2:23: The President has cut into the CBS broadcast of Texas-Oakland for a special report on Libya. The report is taking up the majority of the TV and I can’t see the score. I guess it’s better that way since Texas isn’t going to cover. Now the report is the whole screen.
The bracket is 1-for-1 today and 13-for-17 overall.
2:21: Bruce Pearl is going to need a shower after this game. I had to switch Michigan-Tennessee from HD to standard definition because of Pearl’s sweat.
2:19: Greg Kampe’s hair has become the story of the day. That and Oakland just killing the clock on their possessions when they don’t have much time left.
2:15: I think it’s safe to say Texas isn’t going to cover now that it’s a five-point game. (Yes, that’s a bid at a reverse jinx.) Michigan has opened it up and is just laying Tennessee out, so at least there’s that. Villanova-George Mason about to begin on TNT and I might have some TV channel changing to do for the first time today.
2:06: We’re in hour three of the live blog, and it’s getting crazy here down the stretch. Texas is up 11 and trying to hold on to the cover (-10.5). Michigan’s lead is up to 14 and they are trying to put Bruce Pearl and Tennessee away.
Notre Dame’s blowout is still in the early stages, but it will happen.
1:57: I really don’t trust Texas down the stretch here (to cover, not to win). On the other hand, Notre Dame looks great early on. They are dominating under the basket and have such a size and talent advantage that this one might take off like the UConn game did last night. It’s going to be a good day for the Big East.
1:50: Texas is doing its best to make their double-digit lead a single-digit lead and destroy the -10.5 line.
1:48: Oakland coach Greg Kampe looks like a combination of Rex Ryan and Bruce Pearl.
1:44: Texas up 15. Michigan up four at halftime. Notre Dame up two now. Three games! Three TVs! Madness of Day 2 begins!
1:38: It looks like Texas is pulling away with a 14-point lead. Either that or they will let up and let Oakland crawl back in and then ruin my -10.5. Oakland looks like they are ready to pack it in though.
1:30: Sloppy start to the second half for Texas, but they still have a seven-point lead. The Longhorns are out of control and making terrible decisions with the ball. Pick it up!
1:23: The 10-0 Michigan run is stopped a by a stupid foul that give Tennessee two points from the line. I hate when the momentum gets shattered like that on an unnecessary foul. Michigan goes down the floor misses a 3 and now Tennessee has the ball and a chance to tie the game or take the lead. How quickly things can change.
1:21: Michigan on a nice run here to take a four-point lead and Bruce Pearl is on the sidelines trying to think of more NCAA rules he can break.
1:14: Michigan’s game plan the last few possessions has been take 3-pointers no matter what. It’s a good plan if you’re Gonzaga. It’s not a good one if you’re Michigan. Tennessee now has a five-point lead and the ball. Doesn’t anyone else want Bruce Pearl to lose?
1:10: I hate everything about Tennessee. I think part of it has to do with how much the Tuohy family hated Tennessee in “The Blind Side”.
1:05: Texas takes an eight-point lead into the locker room at halftime and Michigan ties Tennessee at 13 on TV1. Good things happening everywhere!
1:00: It’s the start of the second hour of the live blog. That first hour seemed to go by quickly. Tennessee is one of my most hated teams in the tournament. They have ruined me many, many times in the past and now this whole Bruce Pearl saga is just too much. Enough is enough.
12:57: I just put on Michigan-Tennessee for the first time. Michigan down two early. I have them winning in my bracket and also at +1 for other reasons.
12:55: A mini meltdown by Texas here as Oakland cuts the deficit from 12 points to five. “The Office” episode “The Convention” is on TBS right now. Stevie Janowski from “Eastbound & Down” just made his appearance on the show. Great moment in TV history.
12:49: Let’s take this time to talk a little bit about Day 1…
The best team I had winning that won was UConn. They dominated Bucknell and clearly haven’t cooled off since the Big East tournament last week. I’m scared now that I should have picked UConn to win in the Sweet 16 instead of losing to San Diego St. But with San Diego St. playing in Anaheim for that game, I can’t be too upset.
The best team I had losing that won was Gonzaga. Gonzaga was impressive. They shot lights out and just pummeled St. John’s from early in the game through the end. D.J. Kennedy would have made a difference in the game and with St. John’s style of play, but I don’t know if his presence would have changed the outcome. I’m nervous that Gonzaga is going to tear apart their region and destroy my bracket in the process.
The worst team I had winning that won was Kentucky. Kentucky should have lost that game. It was a typical Kentucky game and John Calipari game, in which they win a game they didn’t deserve to win. You have to love Brandon Knight not scoring all day and then scoring for the first time on what would be the winning shot. Typical Kentucky. (Yes, I’m bitter about my Kentucky -13 decision.)
12:41: The pace of this game is like a Suns-Warriors game from three and four years ago. A double-digit lead for Texas and Oakland needs a timeout before this thing gets out of hand, which I’m hoping it does.
12:37: Great start with Texas gradually building this lead up, but I’m greedy and want it to get to double digits as quickly as possible. It would be nice if the Longhorns could just leave Oakland behind at the end of the first half the way my friend Dusty leaves his friends behind when he makes his patented Irish exits.
12:33: Currently on the TVs at the Live Blog Headquarters… ESPN on TV1 and the Texas-Oakland games on TV2 and TV3. I’m glad I don’t have the audio on ESPN up because Mike Tirico, Trent Dilfer, Chris Mortensen and Mel Kiper Jr. are currently on talking about the NFL. If there were power rankings for ESPN TV personalities, those four would be in the bottom percentile, and they are all on TV together at once! Captivating TV!
12:30: It’s nice to see a team I have covering 10.5 points taking an early lead for a change. (Thanks, Kentucky!) Right now Texas looks pretty strong though I would like Oakland to cool off a little from long range.
12:24: Luis Castillo is no longer a Met, but fortunately Oliver Perez still is. I’d like to thank Sandy Alderson for not releasing both players and leaving me Perez for some potential writing material for those days when it’s hard to think of something to write about. I wish I could make $12 million a year to sit in the bullpens for weeks at a time and not pitch. Oliver Perez is a lucky man.
12:21: I don’t like how Oakland has the last name under the number on the back of the jersey. If you’re going to do that, don’t even put the last name on your jersey. This isn’t the WNBA or Major League Lacrosse.
12:19: I’m expecting a few blowouts early on, and used my expectations accordingly. I took Texas -10.5, Michigan +1, Notre Dame -14 and Villanova -2 in the first group of games. (I know the Villanova line goes against my bracket.)
12:16: Welcome back to Day 2 of March Madness, which is the last of the real “Madness” days. Yesterday was as good as afternoon session as there could be, so it’s only normal to expect today to be a letdown.
I ended up not meeting my goal of going 14-for-16 in picks for my bracket and went 12-for-16 (I lost Louisville, Belmont, Missouri and St. John’s), but the same 14-for-16 goal is set for today. Here are my picks for the 16 games today:
#2 Notre Dame
#8 George Mason
#10 Florida St.
#1 Ohio St.
The only upset I have is Florida St., but if I could go back and change my picks I would probably take Villanova over George Mason. The only reason I didn’t take Villanova is because they looked awful down the stretch, but George Mason is pretty awful too, and I should have gone with the Big East team.
12:00: After yesterday’s madness that saw the Big East lose two teams and a lot of people lose their brackets early on, it only made sense to come back for Day 2 and follow the tournament closely once again with the live blog.
So for the second day in a row get ready for a full day of college basketball, and the second of the two best days of the tournament. March Madness!