Welcome to the March Madness live blog! I will be your host, Shane, and we'll be updating this post between noon and approximately 5 p.m. EST or until I die from burnout. There are a few things you should know. First, refresh this page every few minutes for updates. We'll be running the newest stuff just below this intro. Second, this baby is interactive. You can send your questions, comments, criticisms, complaints, and bitter regrets to a couple places. Hitting me up on Twitter @TobaccoRdBlues is your best bet. (Or you can just rant at Grantland: @Grantland33.) Second, you can e-mail me at MadnessQuestions@gmail.com. Third, and least likely to get my attention, you can comment below through Facebook. Enjoy the games!
5 p.m.: The second half is starting in Pittsburgh, and the eyes of the nation are upon UNC-Asheville. This is the most nervous I've been for a non-Duke NCAA game in a long time. Scoop Jardine just hit a layup, and Syracuse has the lead back. By the way, just so you know, the last time I saw Syracuse play live was against West Virginia last year. I walked down by the court while they were warming up, and whenever James Southerland shot a ball, he would cluck like a chicken until the managers (college kids his age) passed him the ball. The longer it took, the faster and more frantic he would cluck. Make your own judgments on that one.
Elsewhere, BYU hanging around against Marquette with time working against them, and Long Beach-New Mexico tied very early. Vanderbilt and Harvard just tipped off in a game I expect to be a blowout.
Speaking of Long Beach, I just got this Gchat from my pal Craig in Massachusetts: "What do you know about long beach state? not the basketball team, but the purported school? I just had a ten minute debate on what type of person goes to lbsu. The other guy concluded that its likely a front for a drug smuggling operation is nowhere near Long Beach."
Man, that sounds like a far-fetched theory, but I have absolutely nothing to contradict him. Not only have I never known anyone who attended Long Beach State, but I don't even know anyone who has visited. If Craig's right, they've gone to great lengths to have a good front for a basketball team as a front for all the illegal activities. But it's just crazy enough to work.
Tweet from @TyWarden: my boss just told me I can go home early and watch basketball God/Allah/Buddha has to be a sports fan
@TobaccoRdBlues my boss just told me I can go home early and watch basketball God/Allah/Buddha has to be a sports fan
— Tyler Warden (@TyWarden) March 15, 2012
To be fair, Ty, you did have that knife to his throat.
And last, an e-mail from Jeff in Riverside, Calif.: Can you help me justify why letting my students watch the tournament in class instead of reading is important to teaching this lesson on "The Great Gatsby?"
First, Jeff, Long Island U. is in the tournament. Second, I have a bad feeling that UNC-Asheville's second half against Syracuse is going to follow the overwhelming trend of 16-seeds throughout history, and therefore be a perfect real-life example of Fitzgerald's last line: "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."
Thanks for reading, everyone. I'm off to chew the rest of my fingernails. I'll leave you with this question: why won't anyone call an obvious goaltending against Syracuse? Go UNC-A.
4:40 p.m.: Holy hell, UNC-Asheville is up by four at halftime. According to the broadcast, a 16-seed has led the 1-seed at halftime just seven times in history. We all know how that's worked out.
Good omen: UNC-A's head coach is named Eddie Biedenbach, which reminds me of the greatest American ever, Eddie Rickenbacker, who held the kill record for all American fighter pilots in WWI, and then just got more badass as his life went on.
Tweet from @Doug_Kellogg: Syracuse fans & alumni are people too, we don't deserve this! We have one championship EVER! #ncaa #marchsadness
— doug_kellogg (@doug_kellogg) March 15, 2012
Nope. Get swept along in the tide of history, Doug. This just got bigger than you. So much bigger.
Meanwhile, the crazy Latter Day Saints from Brigham Young are staging another latter-game comeback, and are within 10 with 15 minutes left against Marquette.
Tweet from @Mpw81: This is my living room right now. 60", 42" and a 20" I have the mac open to follow you and see stats.
— Michael Wigginton (@Mpw81) March 15, 2012
That is awesome. I also like how dark it is. When you're going to get seriously into March Madness, you don't need any harsh light distracting you. Hyper-focus requires cave-like conditions.
Long Beach State and New Mexico have tipped off, and since I predicted it would be a great game, neither team has scored a point in three minutes. Vandy-Harvard just a few minutes away.
I'm also getting a lot of tweets about Duke's chances against Lehigh. Folks, I realize the team isn't that good this year, and that they've won a lot of games on grit and good coaching. But let's not get carried away. Duke isn't losing to Lehigh. Xavier or Notre Dame? Maybe, but probably not. Baylor or UNLV? Now you're talking. Kentucky? Terrifying. But in years like this, everyone seems to overestimate how "weak" Duke might be. There's a reason they were 27-6 with wins over Kansas, North Carolina, and Michigan State, and it wasn't because they're about to lose to Lehigh.
Syracuse, on the other hand
4:20 p.m.: AHHHH 4:20 you guys!!!! Am I right? Cool people know what I'm talking about. Wazzzzaaaa!
So, @katiestipo from Twitter says this: this is the year for the 16-1 upset! I'm as to positive as Fab Melo is to ineligible.
@TobaccoRdBlues this is the year for the 16-1 upset! I'm as to positive as Fab Melo is to ineligible.
— Katie Stipanovich (@katiestipo) March 15, 2012
Nice SAT analogy. I hope you're right. I can't even look at that score in the upper right corner of my TV screen, because I feel like I'll jinx them. But man, I can't resist turning the channel anymore, because this is getting real. UNC-Asheville is actually up 27-22 with three and half minutes left in the first half. Oh man, they're up six now. SEVEN! From the body language I've seen so far, they look they're bold and ready. They don't seem like a scared mid-major about to collapse. Wishful thinking? Maybe.
I have to turn away. Unfortunately, it's the only good thing happening in the games going on right now. However, I think we're about to get a dandy with New Mexico-Long Beach, starting in a couple minutes.
More from Twitter, this time from @SarahHBerlinger: Just chanted "CA-BLE RE-MOTE" while searching for it. Mayybeee I've been watching too much basketball.
— Sarah Berlinger (@SarahHBerlinger) March 15, 2012
I just did that too, but it's because I've been fully brainwashed by Time Warner Cable's hold music.
Wisconsin now up 22 on Montana, and Marquette holds a 15-point lead on BYU at the half. All my upset eggs are in one basket, and that basket is held by the UNC-A Bulldogs. Keep it up, Bulldogs! Don't drop the basket! Good boy!
4 p.m.: Important thought: Wisconsin redhead forward Mike Bruesewitz looks he should a second cousin to the Zellers. In the episode where the Zellers go crawdad hunting in the crick beneath the old bridge, he should be the one carrying the bindle stick. And in the episode where the Zellers fight the Plumlees, he should be the one who dies early, because he's not a main character.
Montana just hit two straight bombs to make it a 10-point game with 12:25 left against Wisconsin. Are things getting interesting? And oh my, look at this, Davidson is now within eight against Louisville. Unfortunately, just two minutes left in that one.
Tweet from @garoutter2131: Who puts games on Tru TV? Was Pax network full on programming this week #damnyouTRU
— Ryan Garoutte (@garoutter2131) March 15, 2012
Pax was full, the Oprah Winfrey Network wanted too much for ads, Fox News would only show games in red states, and the Soap Network wanted to script all the games and add love interests that would seem forced.
Hey, remember how everyone was talking about how UNC-Asheville could upset Syracuse because they're unusually good and Syracuse is a mess? It's 15-15 with 10 minutes gone in the first half. Just saying.
Since I started writing this post, Louisville has gone back up by 10 with a minute left, and Wisconsin extended the lead to 15. This calls for some sing-song analysis: BOOOO-RRINNNNGGG.
3:40 p.m.: Tweet from @BenParsonsShow: With the CBS Boss button you can actually close that default email and cycle through the various other inbox folders...
@TobaccoRdBlues With the CBS Boss button you can actually close that default email and cycle through the various other inbox folders...
— The Ben Parsons Show (@benparsonsshow) March 15, 2012
That's amazing. I stand corrected.
Meanwhile, some real snoozers across the NCAA landscape right now. Louisville and Wisconsin are handling businesses against their mid-major opponents, and Marquette is way up on a fatigued BYU. Brandon Davies looks particularly tired. How'd he get that way? Better kick him off the team to be safe.
E-mail from Steven: Just threw together the first of many tournament parlays (theoretically, of course, because gambling is wrong) and wanted to get your thoughts: Vandy, New Mexico, Wichita St and West Virginia
Love Vandy over a Harvard team that has looked abysmal over the last four games of the season, love Wichita, the best mid-major, against a team that plays great defense but can't really score and that is way overhyped (VCU), love New Mexico, the second-best mid-major, against LBSU, which depends pretty heavily on Casper Ware, don't love an underachieving West Virginia team against Gonzaga. If I was looking for a fourth team there from today's games, I'm taking UNLV over Colorado.
Since the games aren't too compelling right now, let's take a very early look at conference performance. Big East should be 2-0 after these games finish, mid-majors will be 1-5, and the Big Ten and Big 12 each have an early win. After five games, we'll have zero upsets. I guess the Madness is taking a breather after the First Four comebacks.
One thing I enjoy about the Montana Grizzlies, despite the fact that Wisconsin is thoroughly frustrating them, is this one guy they have, Derek Selvig, looks like he was born to play basketball for Montana. And, in fact, he's a native! Great story, that Selvig. (Don't know the first thing about him.)
3:20 p.m.: OK, time for a personal story. My whole life, I've dreamed of going a perfect 16-for-16 in picks on the opening Thursday or Friday. A perfect first round is way too much to ask for, unless you're this guy, but a perfect day seems like an accomplishment that's both insanely great and not impossible. Going into last year, it had never happened for me. Thursday was a disaster, and I think I lost an Elite Eight team right away. But then came Friday.
One by one, it was all working out. I went 4-for-4 in the early games, 8-for-8 after the 2 p.m. slot, and 12-for-12 after at 9:30 p.m.. Four more, and the dream was mine. Instead, VCU kicked the crap out of Georgetown and I finished a tantalizingly close 15-for-16.
The reason I even mention this is that I'm 2-for-2 right now, and if the current games finish as they started, I'll be 5-for-5. Is it absurdly early to be talking about a perfect day? Yes. But that's the way my brain works, and I can't stop it. When I used to pitch in little league and high school baseball, I'd start thinking about a no-hitter immediately after the first out. Never got that no-hitter.
Tweet from @PatersonPatrick: What in the world do I call Siva's hairstyle? The skull cap? The Pharaoh?
@TobaccoRdBlues What in the world do I call Siva's hairstyle? The skull cap? The Pharaoh?
— Patrick Paterson (@patersonpatrick) March 15, 2012
The Pharaoh is hilarious. If I saw him on the street I'd yell out, "Let my people go!" And he'd have no idea what I was talking about, and we'd have a good laugh, and then he'd invite me to hang out with he and Pitino at an arcade.
3 p.m.: Here's a tweet from @HaikuSam: Since when did CBS start charging for their online viewing? Lame sauce.
@TobaccoRdBlues Since when did CBS start charging for their online viewing? Lame sauce.
— Sam Robinson (@Haikusam) March 15, 2012
I'm not sure why, but I counted the syllables here to see if @HaikuSam tweeted in haiku format. And indeed he did. Seventeen syllables. I hope that was on purpose.
As for the topic, I'm going to disagree. It's four bucks for the entire tournament, and the video player is pretty sweet. I dig it, and I can easily live with spending the (non) money. I was at a hotel last weekend and thought I'd order some room service eggs one morning. They cost 12 dollars. Considering all the stupid money I spend, for things that could easily be avoided, four dollars for this tournament seems like an OK deal.
Kansas State-Southern Miss coming down to the end. K-State by 3, shooting two, and one goes down. Oh man, I'm actually LIVE BLOGGING what's happening here. Missed three by Southern Miss, rebound by Kasnas State, foul, and this one should be doneskie. K-State lives to fight on Saturday, probably against Syracuse. And Frank Martin wears a sour expression that the rest of us would experience as pure joy. Meanwhile, Larry Eustachy looks like he just came out of a smoker's room at the DMV in 1987.
Wisconsin up seven on Montana with two minutes left in the first half, and Louisville holds an eight-point lead on Davidson at the half. BYU-Marquette about to tip off, and there might be a moment when five games are occurring simultaneously. Has that ever happened before in NCAA tournament history? I would say probably not, since usually only four regions are playing at a single time.
Tweet from @RionAct: can the Charlotte Bobcats make it to Sweet 16?
@TobaccoRdBlues can the Charlotte Bobcats make it to Sweet 16?
— Ryan (@RionAct) March 15, 2012
The Sweet 16 of feline-themed NBA teams? Maybe. But still no.
(Ticket Oak freaking me out.)
2:40 p.m.: And now it's Kansas State-Southern Miss on the main TV. Kansas State is the third-best offensive rebounding team in the field, and yet Southern Miss enjoys a 9-4 advantage in offensive boards. A mini-run by K-State puts them up one, 46-45. Ten minutes left.
Twitter from @JessHornsby: Short-shorts will be back in the tourney before the Rams! #CSUGottaBeKiddingMe
— Jess Hornsby(@JessHornsby) March 15, 2012
Rough. Unless your tweet was meant to say that short shorts are coming back in a big way. Then, OK. Don't know why you're telling me, but OK.
Wisconsin out to an early lead on Montana, which seems like a cut-and-dried result. The same thing that makes the Badgers highly unlikely to reach the Final Four also makes them really tough to upset in the first round — they play steady. You know exactly what you're getting. They won't win or lose when they're not supposed to.
Karl brings up a good point via e-mail, which is that we've seen some epic collapses so far if you count the First Four. Western Kentucky, Iona, and now Colorado State. Are defenses getting better? Are players getting worse at dealing with pressure? Just a weird anomaly? Witchcraft? Probably witchcraft.
Louisville has opened up a 7-point lead on Davidson as the half approaches. Right now, we've got two of the tournament's three Wildcats in action, and both are in trouble. If both lost, it would only leave Kentucky to hold the fort, and we all know they stink.
Len Elmore just announced that Unforgettable is one of Kevin Harlan's favorite shows.
2:20 p.m.: So, as Colorado State shows themselves to be overmatched (10 points in the half, with four minutes remaining), things are getting very, very interesting in the other games. Davidson leads Louisville and Southern Miss. has taken a 4-point lead on Kansas State. Both results would bust more than a few brackets.
From Twitter, name unprintable: 20 ft. Two Pointers, clearly the best way to get back into this game for the #Rams?
Exactly what I said to my CSU alumnus pal. Why bother shooting long 2s or even driving? You're supposed to be the fourth-best 3-point shooting team in the tournament, and it's desperation time. Bombs away, boys. Right now, they're just 0-for-4 in the half.
Tweet from @ironmikescorner: ed daniel is having a great day, 1st round blowout and starring in that bud light commercial
@TobaccoRdBlues ed daniel is having a great day, 1st round blowout and starring in that bud light commercial
— Iron Mike's Corner (@Ironmikescorner) March 15, 2012
My friend Andrew just noted that Tim Miles got caught on film picking his nose. From bad to worse. Meanwhile, the team with the best record in Division I will advance to the round of 32, where it will to meet Marquette or BYU.
It is worth noting, however, that Miles has done a terrific job rebuilding the program, and even appearing in the NCAAs is a huge step for the Rams. Regardless of this result, it was a great year in Fort Collins.
Montana-Wisconsin is now underway. How many points will the Grizzlies score in this one? 30? 25? Hope I'm wrong.
2 p.m.: Folks, if you're not watching Colorado State, you're missing one of the all-time NCAA tournament meltdowns. This is absolutely pathetic.
E-mail from JGK: I'm about to go insane sitting in my cube and not in front of a tv....damn you sports writers! Ps woodchuck cider is absolute fire. Fact.
Sorry. Davidson holding tough with Louisville at 10-10 very early, and Southern Miss. is now within one of Kansas State as the second half beings. We're ten minutes from the start of Montana-Wisconsin.
Word from the editors is that we're going to slow things down a bit here. So plan accordingly.
1:50 p.m.: Tweet from @korynnecampbell: The Lord has smiled down upon me on this first day of March Madness. Power outages in Boston shut down my office. #jackpot
— Korynne Campbell (@korynnecampbell) March 15, 2012
I read this as: I panicked so much about missing March Madness that I locked the office bathroom door, lifted myself into the ceiling crawl space, and pressed on through the dark by the light of my cell phone until I reached the electrical room, at which point I just destroyed whatever I could reach.
Total meltdown for Colorado State, playing about as bad in this second half as you can play. And at the biggest time of the year. My pal Justin, a CSU alum, just texted: "So angry right now. Embarrassing." The dream is slipping away for the Rams. In eight minutes, they've scored two points.
1:40 p.m.: Tweet from @TJtheheadphoned: Pretty sure you've been told this 1000 times by now, but Kate Winslet was in Titanic, not Hudson. I will now eat my man card.
@tobaccordblues Pretty sure you've been told this 1000 times by now, but Kate Winslet was in Titanic, not Hudson. I will now eat my man card
— TJ (@TJtheHeadphoned) March 15, 2012
Yeah, I've been told by a bunch of chicks! (Serious: Oops, dumb mistake.)
Twitter from @KlayDalton: Actually Drexel would be Kate Hudson, not actually in it.
@TobaccoRdBlues Actually Drexel would be Kate Hudson, not actually in it.
— Klay Dalton (@KlayDalton) March 15, 2012
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Look, I was watching the iceberg, OK? Which, of course, was played by John Goodman.
OK, basketball. Kansas State holds a 30-27 lead at halftime, and Frank Martin says he's concerned because his guys became "offensively inept" for a stretch. Southern Miss. has to be happy with the comeback, starting 1-11 from the field. Speaking of K-State, I have a long-standing tradition where I lose a Sweet 16 team (sometimes even Elite Eight) in the first session on Thursday. Since I have them beating Syracuse, Southern Miss. is bound to win.
Colorado State falling behind big time, can't score in the second half. It's 32-26 now, threatening to get out of control at the under-16.
Things are about to get crazy now with Davidson-Louisville tipping off. I originally picked Davidson to win, then quickly realized it was a combination of North Carolina bias, wish-fulfillment bias (don't like Louisville), and name bias (I hate all Louies, love all Davids). So I switched the pick.
1:30: As Kansas State ties it up and Murray State and Colorado State come back from the half, one of our favorites, Karl, is back with some more thoughts.
Karl, via e-mail: I haven’t been out on St. Patrick’s Day in years so I’m a little rusty. What are some good drink options for guys because I am not drinking Appletinis and Lime Jello shots all night and green beer is completely cheating.
Hmm, I guess I would recommend Appletinis, or maybe Lime Jell-o shots if you're in a pinch — oh, sorry.
Speaking of drinks, I just got an e-mail, no joke, from Nate Formalarie, the communications manager at the Vermont Cider Company, makers of WOODCHUCK!
"Thanks for the Woodchuck shout out in your live blog a couple moments ago! Hope you get to enjoy a few more Woodchucks before the day is out!"
Nate, if you give me a lifetime supply, I will literally make this the Woodchuck Cider live blog. Or a month's supply. Or a six-pack. Look, just send me a Woodchuck key chain and a DVD of your recycling policy video and we're square, OK?
Watching the halftime coverage of Murray-CSU, my girlfriend just said: "Louisville Sluggers sounds like a 1950s gang. You'd find them outside the soda shop." I agree.
1:20 p.m.: Here's a tweet from @KellyKrueger1: im in us class and i really need to kno the scores of the basketball game
@TobaccoRdBlues im in us class and i really need to kno thescores of the basketball game
— Kelly Krueger (@KellyKrueger1) March 15, 2012
400-37, Buffalo State is beating Syracuse. Still early.
Tweet from @RantzBeard: Colorado St coach looks like he'd be bullied by his own players.
@TobaccoRdBlues Colorado St coach looks like he'd be bullied by his own players
— Ranbir Boyal (@Rantzbeard) March 15, 2012
Right now, he's locked outside his locker room, going "Come on, guys, not today! Please!" as his players sit inside and giggle.
Whoa, Southern Miss. makes a furious run after I dis them. Back within one of Kansas State. Trying to make me notice them. Believe me, Southern Miss., I've tried that so many times with girls over the years, and it always ends in disaster. And usually, don't ask me why, you end up falling off a balance beam. Just be yourself.
Tweet from @JGarf30: What happened to CBS' BOSS BUTTON? How am I supposed to multi-task now? My Ninja Cache just went down faster than a 16-seed.
@tobaccordblues What happened to CBS' BOSS BUTTON? How am I supposed to multi-task now? My Ninja Cache just went down faster than a 16-seed.
— Jeffrey Garfinkel (@JGarf30) March 15, 2012
They have one on the full-screen version of the NCAA March Madness On Demand video. It goes to an Outlook-Style e-mail setup, with an e-mail from "The CMO," aka The Chief Madness Officer. He urges you to enjoy the game. I like the fact that the Boss Button takes you to a (fake) sports e-mail that you probably shouldn't be reading during work hours anyway. Also, it still says "March Madness Live" across the top. This will fool no boss! Except Boss Hogg. That guy fell for a lot in his day.
1:10 p.m.: Here's a tweet from @OtterVonBismark: March Madness needs more Celine Dion references. Who is the Titanic of the Midwest bracket?
@TobaccoRdBlues March Madness needs more Celine Dion references. Who is the Titanic of the Midwest bracket?
— Randy S. (@OtterVonBismark) March 15, 2012
Man, what an awesome Twitter handle. Great work, @OtterVonBismark. The unsinkable ship of the Midwest is, of course, UNC, while NC State is Leonardo DiCaprio and Kansas is Kate Hudson, who escapes. The Crimson Tide are the crazy poor people who party in the lower deck, Georgetown is the arrogant rich dude, and Michigan is the iceberg.
Colorado State's Tim Miles is such a fun, nerdy coach. "He's a charmer!" Rafferty says. CSU has the halftime lead, and Pierce Hornung is a rebounding machine.
Starting to focus on Kansas State now. Up 17-12. I have them beating Syracuse in the second round, which reminds me: A "quick word" with the legions of people who suddenly think having a bracket takes away from being a true fan — stop ruining my country. It's my right to become emotionally invested in nonsense. In fact, I would go so far as to say it's my duty.
@TobaccoRdBlues Don't forget you're watching the Second Round today.Whoever greenlit that change had better be unemployed and/or dead.
— Matt Chisman (@MattChisman) March 15, 2012
1 p.m. Tweet from @MattChisman: Don't forget you're watching the Second Round today. Whoever greenlit that change had better be unemployed and/or dead.
What's this? Have I heard a whispering on the wind? Does some fly buzz at my ear? Sorry, I'm trying to concentrate on what has been known and will forever be known as the first round of the greatest sport event on earth. I'd hate to accuse @MattChisman or anyone else of treason, but let's get our talking points straight.
That commercial with Grant Hill making the pass to Laettner gives me goose bumps. And I'm not even a Duke fan! (Blatant lie.)
Kansas State off to a fast start, leading Southern Miss., 10-3. Did anybody pick Southern Miss. in their bracket pool? It seems like one of those obvious pairings, where one team is better and more well-known. Lethal combo. Plus, you've always got to be really cautious of mid-major teams with a compass direction in their name. Except for Western Kentucky — they're a lock.
CSU starting to nail! Let's go Rams! 24-23 lead, and yes, I will become an adamant supporter of a team with no personal connection to me at the drop of a hat.
12:50 p.m.: Tweet from @pah2337: Are we going to comment on Murray state's center's AWSOME 'fro?
@TobaccoRdBlues are we going to comment on Murray state's center's AWSOME 'fro?
— phil hamilton (@pah2337) March 15, 2012
What a FRO! Here's another comment: The "KFC Yum! Center" is just the most embarrassing name for an arena in history. I don't think I could invent a worse name. "Silly Willy Super Silly String Stadium," maybe. But that's it. That's the only one.
@TobaccoRdBlues GET THAT DAMN SCOREBOARD OFF THE TOP OF MY SCREEN! (or at least fade it...)
— Jeff Bunney (@jbunney) March 15, 2012
Tweet from @jbunney: GET THAT DAMN SCOREBOARD OFF THE TOP OF MY SCREEN! (or at least fade it )
Come on man, that's what makes March Madness great! Gotta have the other games going. Right now, I'm using my girlfriend's computer to watch Southern Miss-Kansas State, while Murray-CSU stays on the TV. She promised me this would be cool yesterday, but at the moment things are a bit dicey.
Meanwhile, Dr. Fro draws a foul as Murray State looks to add on to its lead
12:40 p.m.: Starting to get real worried about the lack of 3-point defense from Colorado State. Murray will bury them if they keep conceding that open look. Meanwhile, any time I hear the name "Eikmeier," I have visions of a really old guy getting hunted down in Argentina. I can't help it.
Kansas State and Southern Miss. about to tip-off.
— Amy VanLangen (@awitty) March 15, 2012
Twitter from awitty: "Following @tobaccordblues live #MarchMadness blog from Grantland. Hoping it's funny because I sure miss @sportsguy33 in the man cave."
Don't worry, I'm at THE MAN DESK! Got my MAN FLIP PHONE for texting! Sippin' MAN CIDER! Wearin' MAN NON-ALUMINUM DEODORANT, wondering what CELINE DION IS UP TO!
12:30 p.m.: A fast start for Colorado State, the 4th-best three-point shooting team in the tournament. Incidentally, Murray State is third. As I mentioned, I have a special interest in CSU, based on an NCAA auction I participated in last night, so I'm having a good afternoon. But it will surely get horrible within an hour. Thursdays are a curse. More on that later.
(Brilliant commercial just now featuring Charlie Sheen. "Don't re-enact scenes from Platoon with Charlie Sheen." Great advice for most situations.)
Karl asks: Is it against NCAA rules to pay a player on Lehigh to suddenly, mid-game, start running around kicking Duke players and coaches in the balls? Because I'd be in for a thousand bucks just to see Austin Rivers' face as Lehigh's back-up center plants his size 15s into his junk. Okay, two thousand.
So creeped out right now, Karl. But to answer your question, I don't think there's anything specifically about that in the rule book. They'd have to let it go, grudgingly.
12:20: MilitaryDadBlog asks: What's your over/under on the number of blood vessels that explode in Frank Martin's forehead if K State falls behind early?
Trick question: Frank Martin has no remaining blood vessels. He popped his last one when one of his players accidentally took a sip from the wrong water bottle in 2006. He's super OCD about his water bottles
The_Sean_West asks: There have been a lot of Grantland articles on predictions and the like, what are some predictions you have?
You can check out my bracket and some others here. Specifically, I think Wichita State-VCU will be the best game of the day.
Todd asks: What do we in if we guess correctly who drank the cider?
I'll send you a gift certificate that can only be used to buy cider. Pretty rare.
12:10: As CBS notes, Murray State is still the only 16-seed not to lose in regulation against the 1-seed. In 1990, they made it overtime before falling to Michigan State. Here's a great list of the top 10 close calls from the history of 16 vs. 1 match-ups.
This year, the Racers are slightly better. As the only remaining team with just a single loss, they're the 6-seed, and they'll tip off in a moment.
On a personal level, I've replaced my shorts-and-unzipped-hoodie-combo with jeans and a t-shirt. Feeling pretty professional right now. Still no socks. No plans for socks. Not even sure if I own socks. Tweet at me if you've got some socks to sell. Will buy used.
High Noon: Here we go! I can barely contain myself. The three days after Selection Sunday are the most brutal, agonizing moments of the year, but we're finally ready for some madness.
We're kicking this sucker off with two early games, which seems like less than usual. Aren't there usually four games per session? Anyway, at 12:15 p.m., we've got Colorado State facing Murray State. I took part in NCAA auction here in Chapel Hill last night, and let's just say I have a vested interest in Colorado State pulling off an upset. Then, 12:40 p.m., it's Kansas State vs. Southern Miss in the 8-9 Eastern Region game. Winner probably gets Syracuse.
Personally, I dragged my office desk into the living room, I'm eating a smoked turkey sandwich and avocado sandwich with chipotle mayo, and there are two empty Woodchuck Cider bottles from last night on the coffee table in front of me. Did I drink them? Was it my girlfriend? I'll never tell. I just know I can't wait for the games to start in 15 minutes. The TV is on, so I hope you'll join me for what is undoubtedly the greatest day of the year. If I was any more excited, I'd run through the streets spraying Woodchuck Cider everywhere.