Monday, April 06, 2009

One Shining Moment, Sort of!

I’m coming to you live from the WAD Palace on one of the greatest nights of the year. Among college basketball players and coaches, it is simply known as Monday Night. I will refrain from waxing poetic, as I am sure Jim Nantz will adequately cover that department. Suffice it to say I’m excited; you’re excited; Tyler Hansbrough is psychotic; and we’re all ready to crown a new NCAA basketball champion. I’m joined here in the Palace by my buddy, CP, and he’s stuffing his face with a salad from Whole Foods. Not to worry, he does like sports. In order to commemorate the occasion, I will, of course, show a complete lack of originality and, as I’ve been known to do, borrow from the great Bill Simmons and give you a running real time commentary of tonight’s action. Here we go….

9:09 – Tracy Wolfson is up close and personal with Roy Williams. Four notable things here: 1) Tracy is a very attractive woman; 2) Roy is doing his best to look her in the eyes (failing miserably); 3) Roy just tried to convince America that he is actually concerned about MSU’s Greg Ostertag look alike (Suton); and 4) Roy apparently does give a sh*t about UNC tonight!

9:12 – We get a look-in on Tom Izzo’s pre-game speech. CP just summed the speech up perfectly, "Well, I guess he really is a great x and o guy, because he sure isn’t inspiring."

9:18 - Jim Nantz is doing his best Michael Buffer impersonation, and this place is going insane. Granted, 87% of the people in attendance can’t see a damn thing, but this atmosphere is tremendous.

9:19 - God Bless CBS’s camera and sound guys that just gave us a close up of Raymar Morgan dropping the night’s first two F bombs. And, for the record, thank you, Raymar. In case we couldn’t read his lips, Raymar made sure it was loud and clear.

9:20 - Is Wayne Brady really starting at PG for MSU? CP was so excited about this we had to rewind just to see it again. I was on the fence until now, but between Raymar and Wayne Brady (Kalin Lucas), I’m squarely in the Spartan camp.

9:25 – In case you weren’t sure, it’s been 30 years since Bird and Magic squared off for the Title. To prove it, we just saw the Legend and Magic receive the game ball fully equipped with one of Larry’s classic, "I’m going to smile because I’m supposed to, but I really don’t like Magic" looks.

9:26 - We have to do re-do the jump ball. Awesome start. This is going to be an instant classic! Can you feel it.

9:27 - Suton for Three with Psycho T in his face! I love the fact that he just put that in T’s face, but I’m not loving the fact that we are going to hear David Stearn say the following words this summer: With the 22nd pick in the 2009 NBA draft, the Atlanta Hawks select the Big Goofy White Dude from Michigan State.

9:29 - Raymar just checked back in the game. Does MSU have a rule that if you drop multiple F bombs during introductions you have to be yanked in and out of the game in the first 2:17 of the game? Or, has Paul Hewitt inhabited Tom Izzo’s body?

9:33 – T just hit a fall away to push UNC to a 10 point lead going into the first T.V. timeout. More notable than that was Clarke Kellogg’s deft analysis that "Right now, Carolina is making threes and making twos." I guess that explains that why they have 17. Thanks, Clarke. On the bright side, Clarke may too often state the obvious, but at least he doesn’t sound like he is one bad shot away from going on the court and physically assaulting a player. We miss you, Billy. Okay, that’s not true in the least. (Side note on Clarke: CP just remembered the first time he saw Clarke doing a game, and he thought to himself, "That guy won’t ever do another game." That was 15 years ago. You have to love the networks. Seriously, do they let the NFL owners make their announcer assignments? Let’s hope so. What could be better than Wade Philips and Dick Jaron calling next year’s Final Four?)

9:38 – Ty Lawson is so much quicker than everybody on the floor right now. And, right on cue, Roy Williams takes him out of the game. I guess he’s a little embarrassed that the ‘Heels are up 14 less than 7 minutes into the game. Or, maybe he’s trying to preserve Lawson’s toe for the next game. What? There are no more games? I guess Roy is still reeling from his pre-game interview with Tracy.

9:41 - We just learned that MSU’s Chris Allen a computer engineering major. His team is well on its way to being run out of the building, but he’s got a real major. That’s something, right?

9:44 – Ty Lawson is back in the game for six seconds and has a steal and is fouled going to the basket the other way. Shocking that good things happen with Ty on the floor.

9:45 - We are at the second T.V. timeout, and CP and I just had the following exchange:

Me: This is going to be a blowout.

CP: Oh yeah.

I’m already excited about hearing Clarke and Nantz filling the air time in the second half. Over/Under on Nantz’s Master’s references: 13.

9:47 – Wayne Brady was just called for a carry. Oh, boy. Isn’t that a little unfair?

9:49 – We are less than 10 minutes in and UNC is already up 20. I'll be honest, if CP wasn't here, I'd probably watch "24" on DVR.

9:52 - We have just less thank 10 minutes left in the first half and UNC is already in the bonus. The Psycho One is going to shoot 8 free throws before the half. He can barely contain his excitement.

9:53 – CP just pointed out that if we extrapolate this score out, we are looking at about 120 – 40. Yes, CP went to Tech. And yes, he may be correct.

10:00 – Clarke just caught an errant pass and assured us that he wasn’t going to go on the court and hoist a shot. At this point, I’m not sure Izzo would be opposed to that.

10:01 – Raymar just got crushed in the nose by Danny Green. Unfortunately, we couldn’t hear his reaction.

10:04 – CP and I just discussed the merits of Applebee’s featuring nothing but overweight people in their commercials. And yes, this might have been the most entertaining 2 minutes of the night to this point. CP thinks they are wisely playing to their demographic. Me, on the other hand, as a fat person, feel exploited. Shame on you, Applebee’s!

10:08 – Lawson to T for a deuce. Stated differently, a man with an amazing NBA career ahead of him to a man whose athletic life is peaking tonight. For the record, that’s not a bad peak. Isn’t it odd that Tebow and T are going to win titles in the same year? I mean, they are both arguably two of the best college players of all time in their respective sports, but neither of them have a chance in hell at excelling at the next level. Trust me, I’m not trying to diminish their accomplishments, I think those speak for themselves. I’m simply pointing out how coincidental it is that they would both reach the mountaintop in the same year.

10:12 - CP and I were both just taken with this nugget from Clarke, "If MSU could somehow go on a mini run and cut this to 10, 12, or 14 before the half, that could bode well for them in the second half." Stated differently, Clarke thinks it would be a good thing for MSU to have less points to make up in the second half! Seriously, I’m no longer asking politely, I’m demanding Gus Johnson and Bill Rafferty at next year’s Final Four. I mean, you have the best play by play guy on the planet and the best color guy on the planet on the payroll and you refuse to put them together! In the words of Nancy Kerrigan, WHY? WHY, CBS? WHY?

10:14 – CP: Blog this….(followed by...well...you can figure it out). The Palace now smells weird. I'm kicking CP out at halftime.

10:18 – Wayne Brady just banked in a prayer. All is not lost for the Spartans, I guess.

10:21 - Halftime. UNC threw up the most points in a first half in Championship Game history (55). UNC has the largest halftime lead in Championship Game history (21). And, the WAD Palace smells even weirder. I’m definitely kicking CP out.

10:29 – Okay, CP is gone, and we were just treated to Greg Anthony’s suit, and we are anxiously awaiting a halftime visit from Magic. In the meantime, let’s talk a little bit about why this game is such a mismatch. Are you ready? 1) Ty Lawson plays for UNC; 2) UNC is playing defense with an intensity I haven’t seen from a college squad in many years, possibly since Nolan’s Hogs gave us 40 minutes of hell. I know that sounds like in the heat of the moment hyperbole, but I really don’t think it is. I mean, NOTHING is coming easy for MSU. UNC has looked great at times this year, but they’ve never looked this great. Well, except for maybe the first time they beat MSU down this year; and 3) Did I mention Ty Lawson plays for UNC.

10:43 – We are underway with the second half. MSU promptly turns the ball over. I’ve got a sneaky feeling there will be less entries in the second half of this running commentary.

10:49 - 16 minutes left, down 21, and MSU just a attempted a 30 foot alley-oop in transition. I’ll let you guess how that turned out.

10:50 - If one exchange can sum up a game, we just saw it. MSU cuts the lead to 18 (first time it’s been under 20 in as long as I can remember), UNC comes down and misses a shot, and as MSU starts the other way in transition, Lawson grabs his record setting eighth steal, then feeds Davis in the post for the bucket and 1. So, if you are keeping score at home, that’s a steal, an assist, and MSU’s heart in 7 seconds, all courtesy of your soon to be Oklahoma City Thunder point guard, Ty Lawson (Good grief, I just got so excited about the thought of Lawson playing with Kevin Durant that I totally missed the subsequent five minutes of this game!).

10:56 – Did you know CBS has live streaming video of Amen Corner on cbs.com?

10:57 – Bobby Frasor just got in the scorebook. Sure, it was a foul, but his family has to be excited.

10:58 - Bobby Frasor with a big rebound and a big F You to The WAD.

10:59 - If you had Nantz using "spurtability" before Clarke in the office pool, lunch is on you tomorrow.

11:00 – Speaking of the Masters, what do Phil Mickelson and MSU’s Draymond Green have in common? I’ll give you a hint: Roy Williams would have to really try hard to look them in the eye if they were interviewing him.

11:10 – MSU just cut the lead to 15 for a brief moment, and actually looked a little frisky. UNC, however, promptly bumped it back up to 19. MSU only seems to make any headway when UNC let’s things get sloppy. Even then, it’s remarkable how hard MSU has to work to score. We are at a real breaking point in this game. UNC is either going to get sloppier as the last 7:33 ticks away and this game is going to finish in the 13 – 17 point range, or UNC is going to put the hammer down one more time and win this thing by 30 points. I’m betting on the latter. Any takers?

11:15 - We just got a nice look at Hasheem Thabeet in the crowd. It must be Spring Break at UConn because he didn’t look too concerned about missing class. Then again, it would be pretty tough to see any concern behind those sunglasses he was wearing. It must be pretty sunny inside the dome. It did, after all, snow today in Detroit, and that usually brings blinding indoor sun with it.

11:35 – I’m still here. MSU has stayed frisky enough to keep it in the 13 – 17 range. You should have taken that bet when I gave you the chance.

11:37 – Raymar Morgan just fouled out with 2:36 to play. He only had four points, but he gave us two memories we’ll remember for a long time. Yes, I’m again talking about the F bombs in the introductions. And, yes, I’m that immature.

11:38 - Okay, Bobby Frasor just scored. I’m done.

11:40 – Oh, wait a minute. We just got the mandatory shot of President Obama playing with UNC during the campaign. Now that’s out of the way, we can officially call it a night.

As much as it kills me to say it, congratulations to Carolina. It was another great NCAA Tournament, and at least we can all go to sleep tonight with the knowledge that the best team in America is hoisting the trophy. That, of course, doesn’t always happen, and I, for one, am happy when it does. Now, if you will excuse me, I’m going to bed because I’m old, and that is how I roll.