College / Mar 19, 2009 / 12:32 pm

March Madness live-blog

Blake Griffin

Covering the first day of the NCAA Tournament as it happens…

* March Madness makes you do silly things. I actually spent a decent amount of time last night making a food schedule for, as I described it to my fiancee, one of the few “guy days” of the year. With the games tipping off around 9:30 a.m. West Coast time — too early to go with pizza or Subway — I figured I’d get some of the addictive breakfast sandwiches at the deli next to my building to start, then subs around lunchtime. I actually did all this BEFORE filling out my bracket.

* …And I make it back from the deli just in time for the LSU/Butler tip. Before my Crack Muffin is even open, LSU is out to a 9-0 lead.

* Crap … I guess because I’m on the West Coast, I get to watch BYU/Texas A&M in the West regional. I was hoping for Memphis/Cal State-Northridge. The scoreboard tells me CS-Northridge (closer to my spot in Seattle than Utah or Texas) is up early. I don’t want to watch this game..

* Oh well. After BYU hits a three to open it, A&M goes on an 11-0 run.

* Bryan Davis is putting in work early for A&M, getting buckets in the paint. Whatever happened to Joseph Jones, who played PF for the Aggies back when they had Acie Law? He was nice — one of those guys you knew wouldn’t make much impact in the NBA, but still decent — but I never heard from him after he graduated.

* I was watching Utah State’s conference championship game last week when one of the announcers pointed out that Utah State has more grown-ass men on their team than most college squads due to the whole 2-year Mormon mission thing. I assume BYU is the same way. And yet, these grown-ass men never get that far in the tourney.

* Seven minutes into the game, and BYU just grabbed their first rebound. How’s that grown-man thing going?

* It’s 26-8, Texas A&M. BYU has a guard whose first name is “Jimmer,” which sounds (and he looks) like somebody out of a Matt Christopher book. If his last name was “Thompson” instead of “Fredette,” he’d pull the whole thing off.

* After the commercial break, they take us to the Memphis game. Here we go. The Tigers are only up one at the 10:30 mark, and are playing sloppy. “Yet another lazy mishap,” one of the announcers says as Memphis throws the ball out of bounds on a simple kick-out.

Tyreke Evans (photo. Kelly Kline)

Tyreke Evans (photo. Kelly Kline)

* Memphis’ Roburt Sallie knocks down his fourth three; he’s 4-4 from deep and has 12 of their 23 points. I’m guessing Tyreke Evans had a rough start, because he’s not even in the game right now.

* Sallie hits a two-pointer, but Memphis turns it over again and CSN’s Kenny Daniels finishes on the other end with the tongue-out dunk. I guarantee that slow-mo replay of Daniels’ face will make the “One Shining Moment” final cut.

* Did the announcers just give Sallie the nickname “Long Tall Sallie,” or did he have that already? Either way, that’s horrible. By the way, he just hit ANOTHER three. He’s got 17 points already and is reminding me of Jack McClinton with the arm sleeve and the effortless stroke. Scoreboard check: LSU is up 27-18 on Butler, Texas A&M is up 32-21 on BYU.

* Pierre Niles is in for Memphis. Before the season the story with him was that he weighed like 350 and had to get down to 280 before Coach Cal would let him play. He’s looking relatively svelte right now, like a young Refrigerator Perry.

* Forget TIger Woods dribbling a golf ball on his driver; that kid in the NCAA commercial who’s playing the violin while dribbling a soccer ball on one foot is a BEAST.

* I’m not saying any names, but somebody who regularly writes for Dime was all over the Willie Kemp hype train when he signed with Memphis out of high school. Three years later, I’m still not seeing it. Tigers up 33-29. They’re slowly getting into a rhythm, but CS-Northridge is in a rhythm, too.

* Tyreke is back in after an 11-minute timeout due to foul trouble. He immediately bricks a three.

* The non-Roburt Sallie portion of the Memphis roster is 5-for-20 from the field. Their lead is down to two. Northridge’s coach looks like Rosey Grier.

* At the half, Memphis leads 34-31. I hope Calipari drank his hot lemon tea before the game, because he’s about to give his vocal cords a workout in the locker room. Robert Dozier, the senior leader who is 0-for-5 with one rebound, should get an earful. A&M is up 42-30 on BYU at the half, and LSU is up 35-29 on Butler at halftime.

* Breaking news: Jim Calhoun had to be taken to the hospital and will not coach UConn in their opener against Chattanooga. I missed exactly what the medical issue is, but it’s the second time this year Calhoun’s had to miss a game for health reasons.

* My fiancee just now: “Are these all college teams?”
* Back to the Memphis game. Color commentator Mike Gminski says CS-Northridge’s zone is working almost to perfection, except Roburt Sallie is busting it open whenever he gets the ball. Right off the bat in the second half, Memphis is pressing full-court and creates an easy bucket off a turnover.

* A minute and a half into the half, CBS is already showing the “15-over-2 Upsets” graphic. Settle down; Northridge isn’t even winning yet.

* Tyreke just got dropped on a crossover/step-back move by … I think it was Rob Hayes. He misses the jumper, though.

* Northridge ties it up with a three, but Sallie comes right back and nails a three. He’s got 20 points, but the crowd is 100% behind Northridge. If Memphis survives this game, they’ve got to defend the paint better.

* Northridge takes the lead on another three; it’s 44-43 at the 14-minute mark. Calipari quickly gets a timeout.

* Out of the timeout, Northridge is defending the three better; Doneal Mack throws up a brick that might have hit all backboard. Hayes gets it downcourt to Willie Galick for a layup to put them up by three, and Cal gets another timeout. Tyreke scores out of that timeout, the first time he’s been able to really get to the rim all day.

Roburt Sallie (Memphis)

Roburt Sallie (Memphis)

* Now we’re just trading buckets. Memphis regains the lead, then Northridge gets a three to put them back up, then Sallie drains another triple, then Northridge hits another three. This all happened in like 20 seconds. Then Tyreke gets a layup plus-one to tie it up, and we go to commercial before the free throw. If this ends up being the best game of the day, I wouldn’t be mad.

* Memphis goes up after Tyreke’s free throw, but Galick hits a pair from the line and Rodrique Mels hits the kind of fallaway three coming off a curl that you only take when you’re hot. Steal in the backcourt and a layup, and now it’s 62-56 Northridge and Coach Cal is burning timeouts like crazy.

* Here’s a problem for Memphis: They have Tyreke’s all-around ability, Sallie’s threes, and NOTHING ELSE. Their vaunted defense is getting picked apart. Dozier and Shawn Taggart have been completely taken out of the picture. Meanwhile, Northridge is getting buckets from everyone. Mark Hill just put on a spin on Sallie and hit a reverse layup that he brought from his ankles.

* Scoreboard check: LSU is up 63-51 on Butler with 3:50 left, and Texas A&M is up 70-55 on BYU with six minutes left.

* Antonio Anderson scores to give Memphis the lead back, then Dozier tips in a shot. NOW we’re getting the other guys involved. Memphis goes on a 9-0 run before Northridge gets another bucket to cut the lead to four.

* One of the bench players on Northridge is completely deaf, and some of his teammates have learned sign language for him. Man, I WANT to pull for Memphis, but CBS is making it hard to do so.

* Sallie knocks down a three; he’s got 32 points and Memphis leads by seven with 1:40 to play. Another Sallie triples makes it double digits, and I think the upset bid is over. CBS switches over to LSU/Butler, where the Tigers lead by four with 27 seconds left.

* Coach Rosey Grier gets the deaf kid in the game for the last 11 seconds. Anyone who only sees the 81-70 score will think Memphis cruised, but that game was up in the air well into the second half. Meanwhile, LSU completes the win, and Texas A&M takes out BYU. Pretty sure I’m 3-0 so far in my bracket.

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  • ShowKase

    I wish CBS would create a browser that allows you to watch 3-4 games simultaneously on the same computer screen. It would be sooooooooo much easier for us on the computers, than flippin back and forth between games.

  • SayItAintSo

    Damn…CSU Northridge can ball. I’m not sure if they’re surprisingly good or Memphis just hasn’t turned it on yet. Ty to the rizeek needs to flip that switch.

  • Matty D

    Hi Austin.

  • http://dimemag.com Austin Burton

    Matty D! I hope you don’t mind that I took that Zoubek photo from your screen-saver and used it on your brackets post.

  • Matty D

    No problem. Anytime you want access to the “My Favorite Players” file, just ask. There are probably some pretty good photos of Kyle Singler, Luke Harangody, Levance Fields, Hasheem Thabeet, etc… You know the list.

  • weezy f

    ty evans is in foul trouble which is why he isnt playing

  • http://dimemag.com Austin Burton

    Levance Fields cracked me up during the Selection Show. He’s got no neck, so his t-shirt collar was pretty much touching his ears.

  • SayItAintSo

    Yeah that full washes out them braids with some Head ON Shoulders…

  • http://dimemag.com Austin Burton

    @SayItAintSo — Hilarious.

    Do you guys think Levance is an NBA player?

  • Kudabeen

    “Head on Shoulders”…Too Funny…

  • Frank

    Come on Memphis, step it up!

  • Kudabeen

    If guys like Anthony Johns, Ty Lue, Dee Brown, Earl Watson can be contributors Levance should be able to find a spot where he is a gritty ball handler for the second unit…

  • Kudabeen

    Memphis is totally playing down…

  • POPPI GEE

    If Memphis somehow messes this up it’s just going to kill so many brackets around the world.

    The WORLD Craig!

  • POPPI GEE

    Wow come on Memphis …seriously?

    They not only gonna mess up my brackets but they are going to hurt President Obama’s too lol.

  • fallinup

    99.4% of the folks that signed up to do an ESPN bracket picked Memphis to win. Hahahahaha. Memphis better pick it up or entire national bracket will be busted.

    Hahaha

  • POPPI GEE

    Speaking of….do you think before the game or during that some team members of each team in the tourney think from time to time where Obama had them?

    I am sure for some it has to be motivation and others a serious let down.

    Memphis fans got to be cussin up something today!

    LSU Butler is the shiznit right now, might be the amazing last second shot to win it all today.

    Go TX A&M baby, make my bracket work for me!

  • Kobeef

    “He’s looking relatively svelte right now, like a young Refrigerator Perry”

    Seriously, why don’t guys like Niles realize that they are never going to make it to the NBA but on a football field they would be a MONSTER. Niles would probably be in the NFL by now if he switched to football.

  • Kudabeen

    Niles doesn’t play football…Someone needs to let him know how much an athletic lineman can make these days…At his size he surely doesn’t want to be in someones cubicle…Hilarious thought though…

  • fallinup

    @ Poppi Gee

    I know Coach K ranted about it. He said something like the president should be focusing on other things. Like it took him 3 months to figure his bracket out or somethin.

    K is just sore cause Obama had Duke not getting to the final four. And of course, NC winning it all. Sour grape anyone? LOL

  • POPPI GEE

    Ok order is being restored Memphis back up, LSU winning and them TX boys making a whole lotta noise.

    I demand ORDER!

    Is it better to have a close game early in the tourney so that if that situation comes up late your squad is better prepared? I think so.

  • POPPI GEE

    hahaha fallinup you know Coach K is sour.

    Trips me out at all the people making comments like
    “The nation must not be as bad off as we think if Obama has time to do brackets.” and things like that.

    They should be glad we got a Pres. who knows how to balance enjoying himself and still running a nation that was already in the piss hole when he got it.

    Coach K is better off not worrying about anyone’s brackets and making sure Gerald Henderson is on, cause as he goes, so goes Duke.

  • nick

    sallie is on fire from deep.

  • POPPI GEE

    Dang if Butler could have hit the 3′s they hittin now earlier they might have pulled it off.

    Man I am telling you all these teams relying on a big man a lot, like Pitt and Conn. better be careful cause foul trouble will crush their worlds!

    Boy that one guy on that Math can make the world smarter guy who says “I’m an IBM’er” looks a lil deranged and crazy!

  • fallinup

    Well. BYU is pretty much done. Butler looks done. Memphis picked it up.

    1-3 so far. I hate March Madness.

    :(

  • POPPI GEE

    dang fallinup perhaps you should have tried the NIT brackets lol.

    Sorry pimpin. Don’t hate it though you might be right in some other brackets ya dig.

  • fallinup

    Of course. I’m sure I’d do better if I actually followed NCAA bball.

  • fallinup

    Those middle seed games always get me.

  • fallinup

    Props to Cal State Northridge for making the entire country almost shit their pants for a sec.

  • http://dimemag.com Austin Burton

    ESPN’s Chris Connolly was sleeping on the story about the deaf player on CS-Northridge. That’s right up his “I Will Make You Cry” alley.

  • MoxWestCoastRep

    well, I’m 3 for 3

  • POPPI GEE

    True Cal State Northridge has had more than one Memphis fan calling on GOD today! LOL amazing how religious people get when the game is on the line hahahaha.

    Middle seed games get most of us fallinup you ain’t alone. It’s the Cinderella ish that is hard to peg often.

    I mean it’s so different with basketball than say any other sport because you can one player (Stephen Curry) on a sorry team just get stupid hot and they can end a higher seed hopes.

    aight nuff bloggin for a minute cause Purdue bout to smash No Iowa.

    Break time!

  • dirty thirty

    anybody watching via the pc plugin? how hilarious is the ‘boss button’? ahaha

    oh, and when they say in an NCAA commercial .. there are only 4 letters in the alphabet: N C A A .. anybody else thinking there’s something wrong with it?

  • http://dimemag.com Austin Burton

    @dirty thirty — Yeah, try to keep the little kids away from that ad; it’ll just confuse them.

  • fallinup

    Alright. Halftime show. Let’s get out the sexy dancing womenzzzz.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=771h_cAs7q8&feature=player_embedded

  • http://uoregon.edu sans

    that lemon tea Coach Cal line was hilarious

  • POPPI GEE

    Bwaahahah glad I wasn’t drinking nothing.

    fallinup I seen that yesterday and was cracking up. That ain’t right!

  • http://uoregon.edu sans

    can we vote for worst tattoo in the tourney? Igelsinger for N.Iowa wins. What the fuck is that green smudge on his arm?

  • DartStarDeWv

    Happy holiday to all you out there –

    I think Fields is definitely a player in the league. He’s tough, smart, and is a born floor leader. He’s got enough range and craft to at least be accounted for when on offense. Even with the injury issues, he came back real strong this year and didn’t seem to miss a step. His game doesn’t really rely on speed a la D-Rose or Nasty Nate, it relies on being smart and tough a la Andre Miller or D. Fisher. I’m not saying he’s gonna be a star or even in the class as the aforementioned tough guys or anything, but certainly somebody hurting for another PG should/will give him a go I think (hope).

  • Luigi

    that is why Maryland will beat Memphis