Thursday, March 17, 2005

First Round of St. Patrick’s Thursday Games Reaction

First off, I’m sure the drinking level is really high on other college campuses, but I can’t imagine anyone outside of Boston loving this holiday as much as Notre Dame does. Every single person in green, Meijers, Target and Wal*Mart are probably all out of green dye and Heineken and I’m pretty sure there will be countless thousands of people in the emergency room for stomach pumps come tonight. Everyone gets involved in South Bend, so after finishing my Mythology quiz in two and a half minutes (I think I missed one), I jetted back to 110 to start off the festivities and await the Kentucky-Eastern Kentucky 12:20 tip. Shane called, I toasted MacKrell, the Farley girls stopped in and we were on.

I’m going out tonight, but not until late, as I can spend any Thursday evening out partying and these four days of the NCAA Tournament are like a half-week holiday that makes everyone’s hearts lighter. The green is important, but I’ll take the Mega March Madness package, people bragging about how they’re eight-for-eight in first round games, visitors stopping in and my couch. Moving onto the games…

15. Eastern Kentucky vs. 2. Kentucky - The Colonels made this one close at the end, but the Wildcats were too athletic and had too much defensive pressure in the end. Kentucky went away from the three-point field goals, a smart decision considering they were ten times the athletes than their opponents, but people who haven’t watched Kentucky and have them picked to go deep just got really worried about how close the score was against an inferior opponent. Is it going to matter in the second round?

10. Iowa vs. 7. Cincinnati - This one came as a surprise to me, as Cincy was struggling, usually sucks in the tournament and Iowa was playing well, but the Bearcats do play better when no pressure is on. They have the size to give Kentucky trouble, but I can see Rondo and the rest of the Kentucky guards frenzying Cincy point Jihad Muhammad, perhaps the most Middle Eastern name in the history of people being called something. It’ll be interesting to see what the pace of the game is.

12. Wisconsin-Milwaukee vs. 5. Alabama - You’d think a team with Elite Eight experience could make up for a freshman point guard, but Mark Gottfried is that incompetent of a coach. How in the world did they make it past a one-loss Stanford team and a Jim Boheim-coached team last year? UW-Milwaukee vs. BC is going to be interested.

13. Penn vs. 4. Boston College - BC played a lot better than I thought they would, showing the consistency they had at the beginning of the year. Then again, if you were playing the Ugliest Team in the Tournament and could keep trotting out 6’ 10” black gentlemen to blast away at their frontline. If the Panthers shoot as well against the Golden Eagles as they did against the Crimson Tide, it’s going to be hot fun.

14. Niagara vs. 3. Oklahoma - Another case of size just eventually triumphing, even though Niagara’s shots were just rimming out one after the other the entire second half. If those shots had dropped and it had stayed closer longer, Kelvin Sampson would have been sweating worse than McGwire at the steroid hearings.

11. UTEP vs. 6. Utah - For the second time in three years, my super-cool Sweet Sixteen pick falls in a close game. Andrew Bogut did everything necessarily to win this game, except, oh, I don’t know, post up the entire second half. I can’t wait to see him against Taj Gray and Kevin Bookout, because the Miners lacked any size at all inside. Every break went to the Utes, and they needed it.

16. Montana vs. 1. Washington - If Washington had played a better team, they could have been the first number one team to lose. If Penn was the least attractive team in the tournament, Montana was second. Has anyone solved the mystery of how both the Big Sky Championship and the Portland Trailblazer games were played in the Rose Garden last week?

9. Pittsburgh vs. 8. Pacific - Believe this if you can, but Pitt, mainly Carl Krauser, didn’t show up in the first half. Chevy Troutman ends his college career with a crappy 3 for 10 from the field. I hadn’t seen Pacific play, and I’m still kind of confused, because these are the last names of their starters: Korajkic, Maraker, Yango, Mihailovic, Doubley. It’s going to be a shoot em’ up against the Huskies on Saturday, as Pacific actually tried an alley-oop when they should have been running down the clock.

Eight more games tonight, along with Kobe vs. Shaq and some more St. Patrick’s Day action. Happy March 17th – the best day ever.

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