It’s a tradition – the decadence that is the first round of the NCAA tournament. What isn’t a tradition is blogging, live, from a bar. Thank God for Wi-Fi.…..
The Ride Over – I’m climbing into my car about an hour and a half later than I wanted, but the grumpiness is washed away by the euphoria. There may be a higher plane reached later today, but this moment is why I do this. The tickled feeling you get from leaving work, meeting friends, and ordering that first afternoon beer is literally the whole reason I do this. Everything else may or may not happen. But this is the moment I can count on.
The Entry – I arrive at Senser’s, and the people I can count on. Michele, Bob and The Voice of Reason™. Michele always shows and Bob always runs the bracket and arranges the table. But TVOR is the reason is the reason I’m still going.
Raised in Philly and an alum of a Big 5 school, she loves this damn thing. There are years I think I can’t leave work, or arranging the sitters is a hassle, or work is just too hectic. And so I start to hedge, and she never hesitates – she signs off on the sitter, promises to be there at noon, and deals with the kids in between the games. She is a machine. I had to look a thousand miles to find her. It was worth it.
The Lunch – The waitress makes sure to offer me the extra cheese, waffle fries, and seasoned sour cream. TVOR points out that the same waitress offered her none of these. We decide that “I look like I like cheese.” I don’t think that’s a good thing.
Standford – The first thing I notice as I look at the games it that the Cardinal are losing big to Louisville, and they’re not going to rebound. That’s not good news for The Boy™, who filled out his first pool of his life last night. My little future math major decided that “maybe an 11 will beat a 6”. Or, maybe (as Matt says) they’ll lose by “plenty to ugly”.
TT– There are only a few minutes left in Texas Tech’s loss to Boston College when I realize I haven’t seen Bobby Knight yet. Nobody else at the table has noticed him either. Surprisingly, he hasn’t been tossed, he’s just not really participating. His team makes a couple of bone-headed plays at the end of the game when deciding not to foul a team. I wonder if he’s just done. Or maybe has been for a while.
Davidson vs. Maryland – Davidson keeps it close, but it’s not a great game, or at least not between great team. Eventually, it becomes clear that Davidson has one scorer and he’s out of gas. Maryland finishes them off and we’re heading to the second set of games.
Bracket Tally - After the first set of games, the leader in our family is The Chatty, Chatty Princess™. I’m tied with “The Blind Monkey”, the randomly generated bracket that we use for especially severe ridicule. Bob, our tournament organizer is even worse.
Georgetown – Within the first sixty seconds, Georgetown’s point guard Anthony Sapp has three Belmont Bruins scrambling around him to steal the ball, and he never picks up the dribble. That’s all I need to see. I love this kid. Belmont plays the Hoyas very tough for the first 12 minutes, but Georgetown just eventually beats them down. Belmont was a much better team than I thought, but it wasn’t close. Georgetown is impressive.
Penn – With 19:44 second remaining in the first half, TVOR announces that she’s happy she didn’t pick Penn. For the record, that means the Big Five fan turned her back on them 16 seconds after the game started. And I can’t blame here. Listed among Penn’s “Big Wins” were Yale and LaSalle. La Salle finished last in the A-10.
To Penn’s credit, they come back big time versus Texas A & M, providing the only real excitement of the afternoon. But after taking the lead, the Aggies score something like the next 10 points. Game over. Sorry Quakers.
The Memory – Bob tells me that in our youth we went to party, and decided that our jobs of systems guys weren’t going to cutit. So we decided to go as rival toothbrush salesmen. I would apparently draw people into a conversation, and tell them that in a couple of months, we were going to introduce “something big”. Then I would confidentially tall them “In a couple of months, you are NEVER going to have to FLOSS AGAIN.”
For the record, I remember none of this. There is at least a 50% chance that Bob is dreaming all this up to see if I pretend I remember. He’s that brilliant.
Butler – The Bulldogs find themselves in a defensive dog fight against Old Dominion. And by defensive, I mean Big Ten on ‘ludes. kinda defensive. The score is 20-19 at half. Then Pete Campbell, a 6’ 7” forward, drains four straight threes from half a dozen feet beyond the arc, and that’s it. In that kind of a defensive battle, it’s game over.
Washington State – The kid can play ball – he was the difference maker in today’s win over Oral Roberts – but that doesn’t change the fact that Derrick Low’s moustache is EXACTLY like the one my friend Craig Stanton grew in 7th grade.
George Washington – The bloggers show for the final game of the afternoon, since Will Young is a GW alum. It doesn’t go well. I’ll spare you the gory details, but suffice to say that Will stops seething at halftime long enough to spit out that this is “a rebuilding year”, so you can guess how that game went.
As the first two rounds of games end, one of the TVs switches to the girl’s high school basketball tournament. TVOR takes that opportunity to turn purple and spit fire. Good lord, I love this woman. And so I think I’ll spend the rest of the night watching some basketball with her. See you on Monday.