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Friday, March 20, 2009
The Bracket Blauggh (Friday edition)

By DJ Gallo
Page 2

If you enjoyed the Thursday edition of DJ Gallo's Bracket Blauggh, you will love the Friday edition.

Once again today, DJ will provide continuous updates on all things March Madness.

5:47 p.m.

Tonight's games, and farwell
Thanks to everyone who read this first NCAA tournament blauggh the past two days.

Enjoy all the weekend action. And remember -- root hard for North Carolina, Pitt, Louisville and Memphis. This is war time. We have to support our president's bracket.

7:10 p.m. ET
Midwest Region
No. 1 Louisville (28-5) vs. No. 16 Morehead State (20-15): Louisville beat Morehead State by 38 points in November. But realize, that game was pretty close until it got out of hand over the final 35 minutes or so.

7:10 p.m. ET
Midwest Region
No. 5 Utah (24-9) vs. No. 12 Arizona (19-13): If Arizona can get its 20th win of the season tonight, the Wildcats should have a stronger case for getting into the NCAA tournament.

7:20 p.m. ET
Midwest Region
No. 7 Boston College (22-11) vs. No. 10 USC (21-12): Ooooh … Boston versus L.A. The NCAA is getting in on David Stern's favorite matchup.

7:25 p.m. ET
East Region
No. 4 Xavier (25-7) vs. No. 13 Portland State (23-9): Xavier is a No. 4 seed? Xavier?! Sweet. No matter the outcome of this game, we have an underdog advancing.

9:40 p.m. ET
Midwest Region
No. 8 Ohio State (22-10) vs. No. 9 Siena (26-7): E-mailers have told me that I am too hard on the Big Ten. I don't see it. I felt I was equally hard on everyone, tucked away safely in my basement chamber where no one can beat me up. But if I have been unfair to the Big Ten the past two days, I am sorry. And if it helps any, I truly believe The Ohio State University can give Siena College a game tonight.

9:40 p.m. ET
Midwest Region
No. 4 Wake Forest (24-6) vs. No. 13 Cleveland State (25-10): Wake Forest starts three players who are 6-foot-9 or taller. Cleveland State has only one player taller than 6-foot-5. At what time will Train B pass Train A?

9:50 p.m. ET
Midwest Region
No. 2 Michigan State (26-6) vs. No. 15 Robert Morris (24-10): Robert Morris hasn't been in the NCAA tournament since 1992. That was the pre-Internet era. You know, back then, we could view the president's bracket only by touring the White House.

9:55 p.m. ET
East Region
No. 5 Florida State (25-9) vs. No. 12 Wisconsin (19-12): Wisconsin holds opponents to 59 points per game. Florida State holds opponents to just 38.6 percent shooting from the field. If you like offense and dislike nightmares, don't watch this game before bed.

5:26 p.m.

Wrapping up the final three games
Pitt 72, East Tennessee State 62
Wow. That was close. But No. 1 seeds now improve to 99-0 all-time against 16 seeds. Watch out tonight, Louisville. Saying something happens 99 percent of the time makes it sound like it's a sure thing. But there has to be a 1 percent to make it work.

Dayton 68, West Virginia 60
Bob Huggins now is 13-2 all-time against Dayton. Haha, Flyers! He owns you!

Missouri 78, Cornell 59
The Big 12 is 6-0 so far in the tournament. Call me a hater if you want, but I don't think it can stay undefeated.

5 p.m.

Game timing
I wish these games were spaced out a bit better. There currently are three games on, all with between three and five minutes remaining. It's confusing. And then there aren't any other games on until 7:10 p.m. ET. As I write this, the scores are 57, 52, 64, 59, 50 and 55. Glad I could help.

4:44 p.m.

Arizona State 66, Temple 57
Sorry, I didn't pay much attention to the ending of this game. I'm watching a big upset … Pitt is beating East Tennessee State by four points midway through the second half! Really! (And yes, I consider that an upset, because the Buccaneers appear to be the far superior team.)

4:09 p.m.

Missouri 29, Cornell 25 at the half
Randy Wittman's son isn't playing too well. He might also have a future with the Pacers.

This game is being played at Boise's Taco Bell Arena. Insert your own joke about hoping the arena was built with extra bathrooms. (I'm too classy to make my own. Yep.)

4:02 p.m.

Dayton 33, West Virginia 28 at the half
West Virginia is shooting 32 percent from the floor. The 75 miles between Morgantown and Pittsburgh are paved with bricks today.

If Bob Huggins isn't going to dress his best, I don't think he can expect his team to play its best, either.

3:56 p.m.

Pittsburgh 26, East Tennessee State 23 at the half
Pitt came into this year's tournament wanting to make people forget about its inability to advance beyond the Sweet 16. Losing to a 16-seed probably would do that.

DeJuan Blair got a technical foul for hanging on the rim after a dunk. I would never do that.

Pitt has the best assist-to-turnover ratio in the country. The Panthers had 13 turnovers in the first half. They did not have 39 assists.

3:27 p.m.

Arizona State 35, Temple 26 at the half
Arizona State's Derek Glasser has 17 points, but he took a hard shot to the face from a Temple player on the final play of the half. It wasn't an ordered hit, though. John Chaney doesn't coach the Owls anymore.

I miss Chaney. Fran Dunphy is plenty grizzled, but he's not nearly as grizzled as Chaney. Dunphy will never be able to fill his scuffed shoes.

2:58 p.m.

Arizona State-Temple: Bold predictions
Temple's Dionte Christmas will hit a big 3, and the play-by-play guy will be unable to stop himself from yelling, "It's like Christmas in March for Temple!"

Arizona State's James Harden will go down as the greatest Amish basketball player of all time.

2:40 p.m.

Marquette 58, Utah State 57
This was the best game of the day so far.

We FINALLY had a 3-pointer at the buzzer in a close game in this year's tournament! Unfortunately, Utah State was trailing by four.

2:36 p.m.

Oklahoma State 77, Tennessee 75
Fantastic performance down the stretch by Cowboys point guard Byron Eaton. Having him out there is like having a coach out there. Literally. He's built like a coach.

This was the best game of the day so far. Until the Marquette-Utah State game goes final. Then I shall declare that the best game of the day so far.

2:32 p.m.

Kansas 84, North Dakota State 74
Good game. Not great. But good. And if you allowed your viewing experience to be adjusted for Gus Johnson Inflation, it felt more like an overtime game that was decided at the buzzer on a dunk from half court.

Courageous effort by North Dakota State. The Bison kept it close even though Kansas tried to run and hide (like Michael Beasley in a hotel room with Mario Chalmers and Darrell Arthur).

2:19 p.m.

Your afternoon slate of games
South Region
No. 6 Arizona State (24-9) vs. No. 11 Temple (22-11): James Harden will give Temple problems. Play too close, and he'll drive right by you. Give him too much space, and he'll knock down shots over you. I'd say the depth of Fran Dunphy's mustache is the right amount of space between Harden and the defender.

East Region
No. 1 Pitt (28-4) vs. No. 16 East Tennessee State (23-10): East Tennessee State will try to do better than the No. 16 seeds from Thursday -- Chattanooga and Radford -- who lost by 56 and 43 (respectively). Actually, disrespectively.

West Region
No. 3 Missouri (28-6) vs. No. 14 Cornell (21-9): Cornell star Ryan Wittman is the son of former NBA player Randy Wittman. At 6-foot-6, 220 pounds, Ryan is a little bit bigger than his father. I hope his shorts are much bigger.

Midwest Region
No. 6 West Virginia (23-11) vs. No. 11 Dayton (26-7): Here is the MySpace page for Dayton's mascot, Rudy. He is 36 years old and a drinker. And he wears dark glasses. Not the kind of guy you want hanging around campus.

2:12 p.m.

Syracuse 59, Stephen F. Austin 44
The Lumberjacks shot 24.7 percent from the field and 9.5 percent (2-for-21) from 3-point range. I hope they are more accurate with their axes, or else they all probably have some missing toes.

In the final minutes, Stephen F. Austin subbed in several more miniature players. At least the Lumberjacks will be able to save money flying home by stowing half their team in overhead compartments.

Syracuse's Johnny Flynn is fun to watch. I don't have a joke here. Unless you're a killjoy who thinks fun is a joke.

1:37 p.m.

My mistake
I should have mentioned this earlier: Gus Johnson is calling the Kansas-North Dakota State game. Please adjust your viewing appropriately.

1:29 p.m.

Kansas 43, North Dakota State 34 at the half
North Dakota State is making this enough of a game that Bill Self's (rumored!) toupe could get a few gray hairs.

The Bison are shooting 53.8 percent (7-for-13) from 3-point range, 35.2 percent from 2-point range (6-for-17) and 33.3 percent from 1-point range (1-for-3 from the foul line). If the NCAA ever institutes Rock 'N' Jock rules, North Dakota State is going to destroy everyone.

1:21 p.m.

Marquette 26, Utah State 18 at the half
Utah State is struggling with Marquette's team speed. Or, if you prefer, Marquette is not struggling with Utah State's team slowness.

The Aggies shot 30.8 percent from the field in the first half. The Golden Eagles shot 34.6 percent. Both teams are struggling with the rim's height and size.

1:16 p.m.

Oklahoma State 38, Tennessee 34 at the half
This has not been a well-played game. Bruce Pearl should report both teams to the NCAA for basketball violations.

Oklahoma State's Keiton Page was almost killed by a screen on the final possession of the half. I will ask again: Why is a 9-year-old boy playing Division I basketball? He's going to get hurt.

1:03 p.m.

Syracuse 38, Stephen F. Austin 22 at the half
Syracuse is not worn out from its Big East tournament run. Or maybe the Orange are, and Stephen F. Austin is just terrible.

Apparently Eric Bell is only 5-foot-1½. I guess he just lists himself at 5-3 to impress NBA scouts.

12:44 p.m.

Some facts about Utah State forward Gary Wilkinson
He is 26.

He is a high school dropout.

He has a GED.

Sorry, Eric Bell, Gary Wilkinson is our new everyman hero of the day.

12:31 p.m.

Good defense in Tennessee vs. Oklahoma State
Four minutes into the game, and both defenses are forcing their opponents to settle for jump shots. However, both offenses seem overjoyed to shoot nothing but jump shots. Don't watch this game if you enjoy post play. Maybe they should just agree to a game of H-O-R-S-E and wrap up early.

12:16 p.m.

Day 2 action has begun!
Syracuse-Stephen F. Austin has tipped! Eric Bell got the tip. (No, seriously.)

FYI: Stephen F. Austin's women's teams are called the Ladyjacks. (No, seriously.)

12:11 p.m.

How to defend your conference
During the regular season, we root against every other school in our favorite team's conference. But in the NCAA tournament, it's all about the greater good.

By the end of today's action, it's likely your favorite conference will have suffered a loss. If your favorite conference is the Big Ten, you already have suffered two.

Soon, people will start ripping on the quality of your team's league. Here are five surefire ways to defend yourself.

1. Hang your hat on one nonconference game from December: Tired of hearing people rip your conference? Time to focus on an aberration. Say you're a Big Ten fan -- remind your antagonizer that Minnesota beat Louisville on Dec. 20. CLEARLY that means the Big Ten is better than the Big East. This is not open for dispute.

2. The national title defense: For this one, you need to dial up the sarcasm. Say something like: "Oh, yeah. We're terrrrrrible. We haven't won a national title in the past decade or anything." Note: This works for all major conferences. Except the Pac-10. The Pac-10 hasn't won a national title since Arizona did in 1997. Pac-10 fans might want to avoid using this defense.

3. The NIT defense: Now you're getting pretty desperate. But if need be, you can say something like: "The depth of our conference is illustrated by how well we do in the NIT every year." Note: This might or might not be true. But it's unlikely anyone will bother to double-check your NIT facts.

4. Hurl baseless claims: When in doubt, claim that the premier teams in the other conferences pay their players. "Everybody knows. I don't know how you can support a conference like that. It's disgusting."

5. Focus on football season: "Who cares. We'll beat you at a real man's game: football."

10:41 a.m.

We are all Eric Bell*
Looking for an underdog to root for after Thursday's dominance by favorites? (You didn't really pick Illinois, did you?) Stephen F. Austin's point guard, Eric Bell, is 5-foot-3. Here he is. That picture is life-sized. You can see our miniature hero in action in today's opening game against Syracuse and Eric Devendorf, who has several tattoos bigger than Bell.

*I'm 6-2, but I feel like I play like I'm 5-3.

9:59 a.m.

Your early slate of games
12:15 p.m. ET
South Region
No. 3 Syracuse (26-9) vs. No. 14 Stephen F. Austin (24-7): Syracuse better not overlook the Lumberjacks. They are second in the nation in scoring defense, and center Matt Kingsley is a talented big man who could give the Orange some problems. The Lumberjacks have a great fight song, too.

12:25 p.m. ET
East Region
No. 8 Oklahoma State (22-11) vs. No. 9 Tennessee (21-12): Tennessee will have its hands full trying to defend Oklahoma State's high-scoring backcourt of James Anderson, Byron Eaton and Terrel Harris. Bruce Pearl is going to have to figure out a way to get them off their game.

12:30 p.m. ET
West Region
No. 6 Marquette (24-9) vs. No. 11 Utah State (30-4): This is not your typical No. 6 versus No. 11 game. Both teams are ranked in the top 25 of the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll. I think it's clear the selection committee does not respect USA Today.

12:30 p.m. ET
Midwest Region
No. 3 Kansas (25-7) vs. No. 14 North Dakota State (26-6): North Dakota State is a dangerous team that qualified for the NCAA tournament in its first year of eligibility. Somewhere, Northwestern players silently weep. (Probably at the library.)

9:05 a.m.

Photos from Day 1
"I am associate head coach George Blaney. I win NCAA tournament games by an average of 56 points. Worship me."

"OK, then. Very nice. That's enough now. Please let me go. OK. I'm gonna be sick."

"Can't … keep … eyes … open. Eyebrows … too … heavy."

"Aaaaaah! Golden State Warriors flashback! Aaaaaah!"

"Shadow puppets just aren't as fun without a shadow."

"Seriously, two seats to my right is the villain with the metal teeth from the old Bond movies. No! Don't look right now. He might see you and get angry."

"Woooooo! No class again tomorrow!"

DJ Gallo is the founder and sole writer of the sports satire site He also is a regular contributor to ESPN The Magazine and has written for The Onion and Cracked. His first book, "SportsPickle Presents: The View from the Upper Deck," is on sale now.