Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Page 2 [Print without images]

Friday, March 16, 2007
Updated: March 17, 12:59 PM ET
Running with the Madness, Part II

By Bill Simmons
Page 2

LAST UPDATED: 3:06 p.m. PT (yes, Pacific ... deal with it)

Afternoon session: Hour 1 (9:11-10:00 a.m. PT) | Hour 2 (10:07-11:30) | Hour 3 (11:33-12:40 p.m.) | Hour 4 (12:44-2:33)

THURSDAY'S DIARY: Round 1, Day 1

We're back for Day 2 of the March Madness Marathon Running Diary, sponsored by … oh, wait, we couldn't find a sponsor.

The good news: My buddies JackO and House are still here. We still have beer in the fridge and some pretzels and chips left over. My wife still is speaking to me. I have everyone in the Final Eight of my bracket alive for the first time since World War II. We didn't make any wagers because gambling is illegal, but if we had, we could have made even more bets than yesterday: Villanova, Virginia Tech, Nevada, UNLV, USC and Texas-Oregon-OSU and Texas-UCLA-OSU teasers. And the morning already has been highlighted by three things:

1. A steaming pot of homemade Dunkin' Donuts coffee.

2. A delighted JackO checking the East Coast weather report, noticing that there's a giant snowstorm headed that way tonight, then cackling with delight like Gus Johnson.

3. My dog Rufus on top of my other dog (Daisy) with a stuffed animal in his mouth, his trademark move, while JackO narrated in the "Borat" voice, "Then one day, he GET this … high five!"

Couple of housecleaning items before we begin:

• Some readers pointed out that my GW pick was just as bad as, if not worse, than Clark Kellogg's Stanford pick. That's true. But I'm just a yahoo with an Internet sports column who tried to take a couple of chances in his bracket. CBS pays Kellogg to appear on TV as one of their two college basketball experts. I think that makes his Stanford pick worse. Maybe I'm crazy.

• The Big Ten fans have been writing "in your face" e-mails because their conference went 3-0 yesterday. Settle down. Let's see how many Big Ten teams are still standing in the Sweet 16.

• A number of readers backed up this e-mail from Lawrence in Cleveland, all around the same time, so it definitely happened: "Don't know how you didn't mention this in the running diary, but the highlight of my day yesterday came when the announcers in the OSU-CC State game talked about Thad Matta's hometown of Hoopstown. The team was called the Cornjerkers."

• Shocking fact of the week: Greg Gumbel is SIXTY years old. No, really. We were all shocked by this.

• Caleb from Maryland writes, "My best player cries when we are losing. My shooting guard left the game with a black eye. My point guard should have been a college quarterback. My card is American Express."

• Bob from Boulder writes, "If you're looking for a way to sum up how bad Thursday was, look no further than SportsCenter's top 10 plays last night. It was the biggest day for college basketball and the top 10 included: three hockey goals, two NBA plays, one arena football TD, one play from the (men's) NIT, and two plays from preseason baseball. All that and only one tournament highlight! At least the highlight was Duke losing. I'm pretty sure that Maynor shot bumped video of some guy taking batting practice down to 11 and off the show. All of which were better than the other 639.5 minutes of basketball I watched yesterday."

• Fascinating e-mail from Phil in Salt Lake City: "Reading your running diary, you brought up two great points. Weber State and BYU both have smoking hot cheerleaders. Both schools are in Utah and both feature Mormon girls. (I am a Weber State graduate '96). That is one of the magic allures of Utah -- the women are GORGEOUS! You will NOT find a school in America that has more better looking women than BYU. Weber State is not far behind, even though we only have about 16,000 students."

(House's response: "But if they don't put out, what's the point? Screw it, I'm still moving there. Where do I sign up for four wives?")

On to the diary …

HOUR 1
9:11 a.m. (PT): Kellogg kicks the studio show off by telling Gumbel, "I think double digits will delight their devotees today." I was just saying that! His upset picks are Winthrop and Long Beach State. Seth Davis likes Georgia Tech as an upset, mentions Albany as a team that could be dangerous today, and predicts a good battle between Memphis and North Texas. More importantly, we're all convinced he's wearing the same suit as yesterday.

9:15: Our first three games today: Albany-Virginia, North Texas-Memphis and UNLV-Georgia Tech. CBS sends us up to Albany-Virginia with Tim Brando and Mike Gminski … sadly, G-Mo isn't wearing his Dr. Richard Kimble beard from the '80s.

9:16: Albany's nickname? The Great Danes. JackO's confused. "Is the great dane even moderately aggressive? It's a big lumbering dog that dies within 7-8 years. Why not go with the pit bulls or the rottweilers?"

9:18: One of our goals today: To find a white player with a cheesy mustache in one of these 16 games. "Why would a college student ever have a mustache unless it was a joke?" House wonders. Excellent question. We decide the only acceptable reasons are Halloween, the loss of a bet, or amateur porn.

9:24: CBS switched us to Georgia Tech-UNLV. Our announcers? Jim Nantz and Billy Packer! "[BLEEP] YOU!" House screams at the TV. Well, then.

9:25: Nantz introduces the coaching matchup: Paul Hewitt versus Lon Kruger. Somebody call Mensa. They might need to track this one.

9:27: CBS declines to run a "notable alumni" graphic for UNLV after determining that nobody's ever actually graduated from UNLV.

9:29: Weirdest subplot of the 2007 tournament: An inordinate number of African-born players with African names that torture every play-by-play announcer. With the exception of BYU and Belmont, it seems like every team's had one so far. I mention this only because UNLV has a starting forward named Xrwtysgsgj Mndgagagagbke.

9:31: We switch to the beginning of North Texas-Memphis just in time to see the tipoff and hear Bill Raftery say, "North Texas starts out … inthemantaman!" I'm not kidding, there was legitimate rejoicing in the man-cave for that one.

"The Coach, Bill Raftery!" House exclaims! "I feel like the tournament has finally begun!"

9:33: Shocker of the day: John Calipari is a mustache away from looking like Nicholas Turturro during those last few years of "NYPD Blue" (when he was still on the show but carrying an extra 45 pounds). Do they have health clubs in Memphis?

9:35: Raftery tells us that Memphis is a "great spurt team." Sadly, I can't print any of House's 27 follow-up jokes.

9:37: There's a forward on North Texas named Keith Wooden who's playing with a Schnozzaroo Mask and about 99 times less hype than Tyler Hansbrough receives for playing with the Schnozzarroo Mask.

9:41: Virginia 29, Albany 11. I wish there was a live feed of the CBS studio -- we could see Seth Davis hanging his head in shame.

9:44: We just amused ourselves for the last few minutes re-enacting the following scene at halftime:

Gumbel (in between bites of a turkey leg): "And Virginia leads Albany, 52 to 21."
Kellogg: "I thought Seth said Albany was dangerous?"
Davis: "Oh yeah? How's Stanford looking in Round 2?"
Kellogg: "Yeah? Why don't you write another article for a magazine that gives their party guests Hepatitis A!"
Davis: "Why don't you pick one camera to look at when you're talking?"
Gumbel (chewing): "Come on guys, mmmmmm grrgrgrggg mmmmmmm."

9:47: House on Packer-Nantz versus Raftery-Lundquist: "You know what the difference is between the broadcasts? Raftery and Lundquist actually like basketball." Hey, I didn't say it.

9:50: CBS has microphones on the rims that are turned up so loud, my TV's practically shaking with every dunk. "What goes on at CBS?" JackO wonders. "Let's not have HD cameras at every game, but we'll cover every inch of the rim with a turned-up microphone!"

9:51: Raftery calls Memphis "one of the great spurt teams … they have the ability to just explode from behind." It's like he's deliberately trying to get me fired.

9:53: We're enjoying Raftery and Lundquist so much. I can't even tell you. "Let's keep these guys on for the rest of the day and stop flicking over to Team Humorless," House hisses.

9:57: JackO (on Google duties today) surfs a Memphis sports site and stumbles across a team photo of the Memphis University rifle team. That's my new screensaver.

9:58: JackO's thoughts on the commercial with Dickie V and the Hooters waitresses: "I think that's the antidote for the Cialis commercial where they warn you about a four-hour erection."

10:00: Score updates: Virginia by 19, UNLV by 11, Memphis by one. Could there be an upset brewing with North Texas? Back in 90 minutes.


HOUR 2
10:07: With UNLV winning by 11, Billy Packer describes Georgia Tech's offense as "directionless." That's a nice way of saying, "What the hell is their coach doing?"

10:11: We're sticking with the North Texas game (they're leading Memphis by three), a chippy, up-and-down game with a ton of yapping between two Southern teams. "This has the look and smell of a game that's going down to the wire," House predicts. I agree. Could we actually have some exciting games today? Somewhere, Gus Johnson is angrily banging his fist against a coffee table.

10:13: Best unis of the tournament so far: North Texas and Texas Tech. North Texas' unis look like the Dallas Mavericks' uniforms, only with more stripes. Like 'em.

10:17: JackO finds the North Texas fight song online, then sings it for us in Bill Walton's voice. This seems like a good time to mention that he's on his second Smithwick's.

10:19: Our first Triple Urkin of the day.

10:20: Put on your trenchcoats and get your night goggles ready -- CBS has some "live look-ins" waiting for us at halftime.

10:22: North Texas leads by five. Meanwhile, we just spent the last few minutes trying to figure out where else in life the possession arrow could work. JackO thinks they should use it in the Middle East. "The possession arrow for the Gaza Strip points to … Israel!"

10:25: Memphis breaks out a press and goes on a 14-2 run -- suddenly, they're up nine and Lundquist is crediting Raftery by happily saying, "You made the point that Memphis is a team that SPURTS!"

(Guys, please. Just stop. You're going to cost me my job. Stop tempting me.)

10:27: Our halftime scores: Memphis by 9, Virginia by 20, UNLV by 7.

10:28: Commercial that gets us fired up every time: The Masters commercial. It's like the complete opposite of the Hooters commercial.

10:30: Virginia extends its lead over Albany to 25. "Somebody needs to take the Great Danes to the vet and put them down," JackO says. By the way, this is the only game running right now.

10:36: The first of many "this is ouuuuuuuur country" commercials is greeted with stony silence … followed a beat and House quietly muttering, "I hope they go bankrupt."

10:41: Our fourth blimp shot of the day. "Good-looking roof," JackO says sarcastically. "Like that design."

10:45: You know how some offenses have names, like Four Corners, Motion, Flex and so on? Here are the possible names for the offense G-Tech is running today: "Inertia" … "The Diarrhea Motion" … "One Dribbler, Four Watchers" … "Clogged Toilet" …

10:48: During a Triple Urkin, JackO wanders outside, soaks in the 75-degree day and some sunshine, wanders back inside and says, "You, sir, are no dummy for living on the West Coast." I know.

10:50: Four minutes of the UNLV-Georgia Tech second half elapse before they remember to switch us back to the game on the UNLV-Georgia Tech channel (they were showing the Memphis game for some reason) … and, of course, they're in commercial. This seems like a good time to mention that I'm paying $69.95 to see every minute of every game of March Madness. "Greg Gumbel just squatted on us like Azamat," House says in the Borat voice.

10:53: Craziest fact of the day: Did you know Rod Strickland is an assistant coach for Memphis? Did you ever think in a million years that ROD STRICKLAND would get into coaching? Do you think he's the first assistant to sit on the bench with a toothpick in his mouth?

10:54: "I can't think of a worse idea for an assistant coach," House says. "He didn't give a s--- when he played! He ate hot dogs at halftime of Bullets games!"

10:58: "Tonight on the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric: Could cigarettes potentially cause cancer?"

11:00: Two thoroughly entertaining games: G-Tech/UNLV (tied with 11 minutes left) and Memphis-North Texas (Memphis up four, 14 minutes left). These games are between 110 and 130 times better than the ODU-Butler crapfest yesterday … and that was probably Thursday's third-best game.

11:03: Packer is dissecting this UNLV game with the giddiness of Dr. Michael Baden walking us through an HBO autopsy. Billy, loosen up! It's a good game! It's March Madness! Could somebody pour some Patron in his sparkling water please?

11:10: Funniest commercial moment of the day: We see Lance Armstrong jogging and asking something like, "What is the greatest achievement of all?" followed by House quickly blurting, "Doping your blood for eight years without getting caught?" That nearly caused JackO to cough up a lung.

11:13: A UNLV player named Michael Umeh (pronounced "oooh-may") makes a jumper to extend the Rebels' lead to seven, leading to this exchange:

Nantz: "Ooooh-may … yes! [Two-second pause while he debates whether to engage Packer.] You know what Dick Enberg would say for Umey?"
Packer (monotone): "Oh, my?"
Nantz: "Oh, my."

(Three seconds of awkward silence.)

11:15: Clark Kellogg tells us that G-Tech "has the horses" to catch up to UNLV. "Too bad they don't have the jockey," House says. He's on fire this morning. Maybe the key for House with any running diary is to avoid showering and be as constipated as possible.

11:21: G-Tech threatens to take the lead with 3:32 to play, thanks in no small part to a ghastly 0-for-8 shooting performance from Kevin Kruger (son of Lon). We haven't seen nepotism destroy a college hoops team's NCAA chances like this since the heyday of Saul and Tubby Smith.

11:23: JackO points out that this is a three-apostrophe game: Ra'Sean Dickey and D'Andre Bell for G-Tech, Jo'Van "Wink" Adams for UNLV.

11:26: G-Tech 68, UNLV 67, under three minutes to play. "If they lose this game, Kevin Kruger should change his name to Freddie," House says.

11:28: G-Tech runs the "clogged toilet" offense and gets an airball as the shot clock is expiring. Well done. That's followed by a UNLV bucket (they're up by one, two minutes to play) and G-Tech calling a timeout to set up "inertia." And yes, that was G-Tech's last timeout. I think Doc Rivers needs to hire Paul Hewitt as his bench coach for the Celtics. We need him for the last 20 games of our lottery push.

11:30: Three bricks for UNLV, three offensive rebounds. We're down to 73 seconds, tie game, UNLV ball. Could we be headed for a buzzer-beater???? Back in an hour.


HOUR 3
11:33: UNLV scores a go-ahead layup, followed by G-Tech running "clogged toilet" again and getting a rarely seen five-second dribbling violation to give the ball back to UNLV with 54 seconds to play. You couldn't make this stuff up. Hey, can they fire Paul Hewitt before the game ends, or do they have to wait until the final buzzer?

11:36: Cameroon native Gaston Essengue nails two freebies to put UNLV up by four with 37 seconds to play. Is it just me or is there an inordinate number of Cameroonies in this year's tournament? Cameronites? Cameroons? Camerooners? "It's Google time," JackO happily says.

11:37: The answer: Camerooners.

11:41: G-Tech scores to cut it to two, then fouls UNLV's best FT shooter (Umeh, shooting 83 percent). He sinks both. That's followed by a G-Tech airball, another made free throw with 12.2 seconds left (no timeout because G-Tech doesn't have any), another turnover and two more UNLV free throws. Game time. We should see Paul Hewitt's résumé on Monster.com within the next three hours.

11:47: JackO heads out to pick up a food order at KooKooRoo Chicken for us. House ordered only steamed vegetables, explaining, "It's for the best."

11:49: Memphis finishes off North Texas by 15. I'm now 16-for-19 in my bracket, my best showing since 1917.

Time for our last batch of games before we pack in the diary: Tennessee-Long Beach State; Notre Dame-Winthrop; Wisconsin-Texas A&M CC; and Creighton-Nevada. House and I are legitimately excited for the Long Beach game. They can't make the over/under high enough for that one.

11:55: Notre Dame 20, Winthrop 17 … Ian Eagle and Jim Spanarkel announcing. Hey, doesn't Ian Eagle have an obligation to sire a son and name it after him so the kid could be Ian Eagle II?

11:57: The Long Beach game gets held up so one of the Tennessee players can replace a contact lens … which he does without washing his hands. That may have been more disgusting than the Michigan State guy dislocating his elbow yesterday.

11:59: Chris Lofton pulls a Lenny Bias on Long Beach (layup, quick steal, layup) to put the Vols up by 11 early. He's really, really good.

Noon: Here's our script for the next OnStar commercial: "Hey, I'm trying to find somebody's house … it's a girl I just met online … I need to get there soon because her parents are out for three hours … I have a 12-pack and two joints with me … can you use your satellite technology to make sure Chris Hansen isn't there?"

12:04: Tim Brando just read this promo: "Tuesday on CBS: Dennis Haysbert stars on an explosive episode of 'The Unit.'" Is there ever NOT an explosive episode of "The Unit"?

12:05: Tennessee 29, Long Beach 12. Lofton already has 10 points. He's currently 83rd on Chad Ford's top 100 prospects list, 32 spots behind Stanford's Robin Lopez and infinity spots ahead of VCU's Eric Maynor (not listed). "That's a lie!" House screams in disbelief. I think Chad needs to update his list.

12:10: JackO returns with the food. Time for a few minutes of dead silence while everyone eats.

12:13: This seems like a good time to mention that Notre Dame coach Mike Brey looks like he should be paying a cover at the Bada Bing right now.

12:15: Winthrop heads to the break leading the Irish by four. Good-looking potential Sweet 16 sleeper. The hype was warranted. I'd tell you more, but I'm eating.

12:17: Long Beach quietly cuts it to single digits -- it's 37-28 with 7:12 remaining. "Early looks are not a problem for these teams," Spanarkel says. Translation: These teams have no conscience. By the way, Bruce Pearl is wearing an orange tie with a cheap-looking gray suit -- he looks like an usher for a white-trash southern wedding.

12:19: JackO finishes his food, sits back and says, "I just ate lunch and it actually had some vegetables in it. I can feel my blood circulating for the first time in 24 hours. It's a refreshing feeling."

12:21: Best porn names of the day: Tennessee forwards Duke Crews and Wayne Chism. "And Bruce Pearl isn't a bad porn director's name, either," House adds.

From Bruce Pearl Productions … Duke Crews and Wayne Chism in "The Possession Arrow."

12:23: Upset alert: Texas A&M CC 10, Wisconsin 0. A potentially devastating sports week for the state of Wisconsin: The Bucks fire Terry Stotts and kill their Oden/Durant chances; Marquette nearly gets shut out in Round 1; Andrew Bogut flips off the home crowd; the Packers might be dumb enough to trade for Randy Moss; and now, Wisconsin could lose as a No. 2 seed to a team that's been abbreviated as AM-CC on CBS's tiny scoreboard at the top of the screen.

12:25: Wisconsin still hasn't scored. Unbelievable. "I haven't seen this little scoring since I went out with the former BYU cheerleader I met on Match.com," JackO jokes. Bah-dum-cha. He'll be here all week.

12:29: But seriously, would it have killed Snoop to show up for this Long Beach State game? That ain't representin'. You ain't showin' no love for your homies, Snoop. For shizzle.

12:30: I'm ashamed to admit that we just argued for the last 60 seconds whether the previous paragraph should have ended with "For shizzle" or "Fa rizzle."

12:35: Two upsets in the works: Texas A&M-CC up by 13 (did we ever figure out how Wisconsin got a No. 2 seed?) and Winthrop up by 11. Meanwhile, Tennessee went into halftime leading Long Beach by 12 with an NBA-like score (57-45).

12:36: JackO, as he's flicking channels and hitting commercial after commercial: "Urkin … Urkin … Urkin … URKIN!" It's another Quadruple Urkin. We quickly flip over to channel 701 to watch four commercials at once. Thank you, CBS.

12:40: Winthrop finishes off a beautiful fast break with a behind-the-back pass and a layup. "The Eagles are flying high!" Ian Eagle shrieks. He's been waiting his whole life to scream that. I'm happy for him. Back in 90 minutes with the final diary posting.


HOUR 4
12:44: Texas A&M CC 23, Wisconsin 7. It's definitely a somber atmosphere at Beansnappers in Madison right now. JackO is more flustered that A&M CC's nickname is the Islanders. Who knew there were islands in Texas?

12:47: Nevada 23, Creighton 20. By the way, if Nevada wins and you know anyone who either grew up in Vegas or lives there now, congratulate them on UNLV and Nevada both winning -- they'll flip out and quickly go on a "look, pal, we don't count Nevada as a Vegas team!" rant.

12:50: Raftery describing a three-second call on Nick Fazekas as it happens: "He's been in there for awhile ... (whistle blows) ... omigod, he had lunch, he didn't even pay for it ... he had the blanket out, the picnic set ... " He's the best.

12:53: A little over five minutes remaining in the first half ... and Wisconsin is losing, 25-7. We'll be back with more Women's NIT action right after this.

12:56: Note to Alando Tucker's agent: Cancel that Hummer order!

12:59: My buddy Gus e-mails some possible Jim Nantz catch phrases for a Wisconsin loss (if it happens): "Wisconsin is voted off the Island!", "Wisconsin is Badgered out of the tournament!" and "Wisconsin's season has turned into a Corpse, Christie!" I like the "island" one because of the potential tie-in for a Survivor promo.

1:03: So much for Long Beach as an Upset Special -- they're losing by 22. I don't care. I'd pick 'em again. As long as Long Beach is in the motha------- house, we're all winners.

1:05: Suddenly there are 13 empty beer bottles and an empty Guiness can on the coffee table in front of House and JackO. "Slow and steady today," House explains.

1:07: Great job by Wisconsin getting it under 10 before the half: It's a 27-19 score. On the other hand, terrible job by Wisconsin for falling behind by 18 points to a No. 15 seed with five names in its name.

1:11: Notre Dame cuts the Winthrop lead to three with a shocking 20-3 run. Under six minutes to play. Finally, we're headed for a fun ending for multiple games at once. JackO is holding the remote like a loaded revolver.

"Are you ready?" I ask him.

"I'm ready," he says confidently.

1:14: A Winthrop dunks prompts Ian Eagle to scream, "Ohhhhh! That's a man's jam!" Sounds like another title for Bruce Pearl Productions.

1:16: Another Quadruple Urkin. We're averaging one every 45 minutes. On the bright side, we just found out that Tracy Morgan is doing DiGiorno's Pizza ads. Please put that pizza money towards a full-time limo driver, Tracy.

1:21: Notre Dame takes the lead! Colossal choke job by the Ian Eagles. Er, the Winthrop Eagles.

1:22: Winthrop storms back with five straight. Really good game. Looks like ND expended too much energy coming back.

1:26: Yep, we're about to get our first real upset of the day: Winthrop pulled away thanks to poor execution down the stretch by the Irish, as well as the latest blocking call in the history of late blocking calls. Rarely do you see a bandwagon upset pick actually pull off the upset. That was fun.

1:28: ND star Russell Carter fouls out and starts preparing himself emotionally for Turkey's professional draft in three weeks.

1:34: Tennessee cracks the 100-mark with six minutes to play. I would have been much more excited about it if my head wasn't throbbing, my shoulders weren't stiff, my forearms weren't pulsating, my fingers weren't numb and my butt wasn't asleep. Cut me, Mick. Cut me. Thirty minutes to go.

1:36: I don't even feel like recounting what just happened, but let's just say the sequence ended with House sarcstically saying, "Excellent sleuthing, Sherlock Packer."

1:38: I've been meaning to mention this for an hour: Creighton has a guard named Nate Funk. And he's white. In other words, I'd like to welcome Nate to the Reggie Cleveland All-Stars!!!! Let's give him the locker between Jamal Abu-Shamala and Grady Sizemore.

1:40: Couldn't CBS throw us a bone by playing us into commercial with "Daft Punk Is Playing In My House" during this Creighton game in Nate Funk's honor? I guess not.

1:44: Not only did Wisconsin cut the lead to four points with 13 minutes to play, but we just realized that Bo Ryan is dressed like an usher at Loews Theaters.

1:46: Nevada 50, Creighton 49 ... 9:30 to play. We're slowly shifting into "Holy Cross plays in five hours!" mode.

1:47: We have a final: Tennessee 121, Long Beach State 86. That game went over and out. Somebody wake up Snoop and tell him to pour a 40 on the ground.

1:49: Just had this exchange during the Wisconsin game:

--Me: "What is the name "Bo" short for?"
--House (after a beat): "Boring?"

1:53: Un-cancel that Hummer order: Wisconsin's down four and Tucker has 21 points.

1:56: Tied at 47, 10 minutes to go. Oh, well. My head hurts. Can we get the lefty AND the righty warming up in the bullpen right now?

2:01: Texas A&M CC has a forward named Scooby Johnson who just sent JackO scrambling on Google to check out his bio. "Scooby majors in communications," he eventually tells us. Good to know.

2:05: Coach K's State Farm commercial gets a hearty laugh from House. We're all punchy.

2:11: Bizarre ending in the Nevada game: Tie game with two minutes left, two Nevada bricks, two offensive rebounds ... and then they turned the ball over with 19.6 seconds remaining. Nice trap by Creighton. You know it's been a mediocre round of basketball when I'm complimenting half-court traps.

2:13: Nate Funk airballs the potential game-winner; Nevada misses the buzzer-beater. We're headed to OT for the first time in two days. Just when I was thought I was out ... they pull me back in!

2:17: This seems like a good time to announce that I'm never doing another Marathon NCAA Diary unless ESPN supplies us with a cocktail waitress, a chef and a masseuse. "Throw in a bartender," JackO says. "We need someone standing behind a makeshift bar and wearing a black tuxedo." Those are our demands.

2:18: "And we need the Weber State cheerleaders," House adds. Probably not doable but I'll ask.

2:22: The good news for Nevada: They're up four in OT. The bad news: Nick Fazekas just fouled out. Don't worry, we'll see him again at the NBDL All-Star game next February.

2:25: Raftery successfully pulls off the phrase, "With disdain ... taking it to the tin!" A few seconds later, Lundquist praises Nevada for "successfully bottling up Funk." Speaking of bottled-up funk, we need to get out of the man-cave before I pass out.

2:30: Wisconsin escapes with a win, Nevada needs to make free throws to hold off Creighton. In the mean time, let's have some final reflections from the March Madness Marathon Diary (sponsored by nobody).

--House: "May I never eat a pastrami sandwich and a pork sandwich again. May I never live through another Single Urkin, Double Urkin, Triple Urkin or Quadruple Urkin. May I regain the feeling in my ah-noose. And may this always remain ouuuuuuuuuuuur country."

--JackO: "I'm looking forward to a Holy Cross victory. I'm looking forward to the return of my eyesight. I'm looking forward to ordering a large pepperoni pizza from Nick Fazekas some day. I'm looking forward to moving. And I'm looking forward to sunlight."

--Me: "To repeat: I'm never doing this again without a cocktail waitress, a chef, a masseuse and a bartender."

2:33: Nate Funk misses a game-ending three that would have pushed the two-point spread. You know, if gambling was legal. Meanwhile, Nantz ends the Wisconsin game without even attempting a catch phrase. Our final scores: Wisconsin 76, Texas A&M CC 63 and Nevada 77, Creighton 71.

And on that note ... may you all root for Holy Cross tonight.

Bill Simmons is a columnist for Page 2 and ESPN The Magazine. His book "Now I Can Die In Peace" is available in paperback.