Alright, time to sit down with this most blessed of all sporting events. Gonna watch these games and react. You know, like any good player would.
1. The Kevin Ware reference/cut-away count: 12. Sorry, but the backlash is in full effect. I expect to be actively rooting against Louisville by halftime.
2. Louisville in your unlikely winner of the “who will struggle to adjust to the zone” award. Four missed free throws by Russ Smith, no points before the first TV timeout, their largest deficit of the tournament (8-0) to start the game. Waiting to see how the announcers will find a way to tie this to Ware. And there’s the first Louisville bucket, 5 minutes in.
3. Every time I hear Chane Behanan’s name I can’t help but hum “Gangster of Love” by the Tom Tom Club. Now you will, too.
4. Jack White plays for Wichita? Didn’t recognize him without the stupid cowboy hat.
Oh, he said Jake White. My bad.
5. Clark Kellogg just said “versatility and value-tility”. Clyde Frazier is on the phone with his lawyer as we speak.
6. Malcolm Armstead, please stop shooting. Just stop.
7. “13-13, 13 minutes into it!!!!!”, says Jim Nantz. take it easy, buddy. You’ve four hours to go with the puns and forced memes. Pace yourself.
8. The Dome thing just kills the quality of these games. I know they need stadiums big enough to hold a 50,000 or so people and all that, but have you ever tried shooting baskets in a building that big? Can’t they just play the game in a YMCA gym and pipe in some crowd noise or something?
9. Not to be outdone by his broadcast partner, Clark Kellogg just pulled “CleAnthony…Bouncing to ecstasy!!!” out of his ass. This is gonna be a long day.
10. 30 total points scored in the first 15 minutes of this game. 30. They’ve gotta start thinking about ways to make it easier to score for these college fellows before we reach Girls’ High School scoring levels. I mean, they’re on pace for 44-36 here.
11. Wait a minute here. Jack White AND Captain Beefheart on the same team? How is that fair???
12. Russ Smith. I love me some quick, shoot-first guards but dude is pushing my limits here. I’m predicting a “second round draft pick, starring in Turkey within two years” career arc for him.
13. The Wheat Thins Puppet. Me wants more.
14. 26-25 Wichita at the half. Well, I had Louisville leading by about 43 by this point, so I lost my bet.
15. What, no Ware halftime interview? Did someone tell CBS enough was enough?
(I’m skipping the halftime show. Sorry.)
16.When it’s working, the Louisville press is just breathtaking. I could watch it all day. Not today, of course, but the point stands.
17. Shockers just went up 8 on an and-1 by Carl Hall. So, this is happening?
18. The AT & T ads with Magic, Bird, Russell and Kareem?
19. I stopped the Kevin Ware reference count at the half. They were draining my will.
20. I had to wait an hour and a half for even one single mention of Xavier McDaniel ? Bullshit.
21. Well, Wichita State is now up 11 with 14 minutes to go. This is shaping up to be a 1985 Villanova/Georgetown-type miracle.
22. Trying to remember the last time a player elevated himself from “bound for Europe” to “NBA draft pick” just by the strength of his tournament performance. CleAnthony Early is on his way to doing just that.
23. That airballed free throw by Ehimen Orukpe goes straight into the terrible free throw hall of fame. No five year waiting period needed.
24. Who is writing this game? Call me a cynic if you want, but this “plucky white walk-on steps in for the injured Kevin Ware and starts draining threes in the Final four” is pretty cheesy, not to mention cliched.
25. Captain Beefheart is KILLING the Shockers. Quit driving into nothing. Make a shot. Guad somebody. Anybody. Please.
26. Give Peyton Siva that layup he missed after the steal 1000 times and there’s no way he misses it more than once. Yikes.
27. Break that back, Luke Hancock!!!
28. It has to be said. Gregg Marshall waited WAY TOO LONG to bring Armstead back. Van Vleet is drowning out there and you don’t bring your leader back ’til the two minute mark? I’m baffled.
29. I swear, one more “cool hand Luke” joke and we’re gonna have a problem.
30. Wow. Cleanthony Early is a tip-in wizard. Floooooooating.
31. Man, this was supposed to be the warm-up game, a mere prelude to Michigan/Syracuse. Of course, that means we’re looking at a blowout in game 2. Hey, I don’t make the rules.
32. Yeah, take your sweet time trying to score, down two with 30 seconds to go. No hurry man, just go at your own pace and shit.
33. Another major error by the Shockers. They don”t foul Gorgi Dieng, even though he was just standing there, practically begging them to.
34. Whoa. Wichita can’t secure the rebound and Ron Baker gets tied up. Possession arrow to Louisville.
Well, Wichita State is gonna hurt over that loss. Controlled an infinitely superior team for 32 minutes, then ended up on the wrong end of a 16 point swing in the last 8 minutes. Shocks me to say this, but that was their game to win and they blew it.
What can I say? helluva game right there. let’s hope the nightcap measures up.