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SBN March Madness Tournament Hub: Early Games

The first set of today's games are being hosted right here at BON, so y'all join me here as I and my SBN cohorts around the country live blog the action. On tap for this morning:

11:15 a.m. (4) Virginia vs (13) Albany

11:25 a.m. (7) UNLV vs (10) Georgia Tech

11:30 a.m. (2) Memphis vs (15) North Texas

We'll be moving things over to Carolina March for the 1:30 games, but this is your headquarters for the early slate.

I'll start the party with some score predictions.

Albany 65
Virginia 64

Georgia Tech 89

Memphis 93
North Texas 79

Your own thoughts?

10:43 The morning wait for these games to tip is always excruciating, but I'm not gonna lie: seeing a little Price Is Right for the first time in years is invigorating. For one thing, Bob Barker is going to live forever. For another, they just keep churning out those lovely product models (not all safe for work). And third, some dude just spun the showcase showdown wheel, hit the $1.00 on the button, and jumped around the studio like a kangaroo for four minutes. Good times.

11:02 One more thought on Maynor, whose picture is everywhere this morning, for obvious reasons. One thing I just thought about: all game long, when Paulus was guarding Maynor too tight, I kept saying, "Paulus should really back off an extra foot, take the space, and keep Maynor in front of him - let him shoot that ugly jumper." And yet, oddly enough, as Maynor rose to take that shot with 2 seconds left, there was no doubt in my mind it was going in. You just knew he'd hit the big one for the game winner.

11:17 And we're live! Immediately after the announcer says that Albany matches up well with Virginia, the Cavs pound it inside to exploit a size mismatch, then stuff Albany's first shot attempt on the interior.

11:27 And today picks up where we left off yesterday - favorites trouncing the little guys. Albany looks like a junior varsity team, while Virginia comes out of the gates blistering. 13-2 Cavs already.

11:35 Mean Green, bitches! UNT takes a 2-0 lead and our first upset special is brewing! (Premature? Maybe, but we're desperate for some upset action, now aren't we?)

11:38 UNT may blow at football these days, but these hoopers sure look great early on. 10-5 North Texas with the lead, in a game with a fast and furious pace.

11:44 Rakes Of Mallow Update: "I wish I was win New Orleans, despite the Sugar Bowl memories. Verne, Raftery, exciting colors, a potential 15-over-2. Meanwhile, my Sweet Sixteen-bound Runnin' Rebs - look out for Kevin Kruger - are up early on the Yellow Jackets, although only by a small margin. Sadly, this potentially great game is being played in the worst atmosphere ever, a recreation of the perenially dreadful Big Ten tourney (Nantz, Packer, an empty United Center). Also, shut the door on Albany, as Reynolds and Singletary are heating up at just the right time of year."

11:48 Around The Oval Update: "I know the commercial's been around for a while, but has anyone figured out why Michael Jordan's being such a dick to Kevin Bacon in the Hanes commercial?"

11:50 If you're not reading the comment section of this post, you probably should be. We just had the first authentic "ca CAW ca CAW" war eagle call in live blog history. Greatness.

11:55 And we get our first bit of announcer euphemism on the day, as Raff notes that the players were "getting a little chippy" after that last hard foul. You can go ahead and safely translate that to: "dudes were talking mad shit."

12:00 In case you weren't planning to never go to Hooters again because of the bad food and overrated women, you now have a third reason to avoid it like the plague: Dick Vitale as company spokesman. Hooters seriously needs to fire their director of marketing. What a horrible match. Bald, crazy drooling old guy with the busty young purty things who are supposed to be the main draw? Really?

12:10 Ramblin Racket Update: "No one has ever called Mario West a great Point Guard, but as a senior he ought to be able to lead Georgia Tech's offense more competently than we're seeing right now, with Javaris Crittenton out."

12:13 Addicted To Quack Update: "Why am I stuck with this GT-UNLV game? The Yellow Jackets are shooting 26%, and UNLV is a bit better at a scorching 33%. What makes it even worse is that those percentages aren't due to good defense."

12:16 Ramblin Racket Update: "All due credit to the Runnin' Rebels, but they're no Louisville and GT is no Stanford. WTF is going on here?"

12:22 Rakes Of Mallow Update: "UNLV is actually pretty good. They were severely under-seeded (Lunardi had them as a four) and senior-laden. Also, JR Reynolds had the same amount of points as UVA (21) at one point in the first half, but the saving grace was an awkward loose ball on the baseline where the ball was at the feet of an Albany player, but that didn't stop him from gathering himself and launching into the air near the base of the hoop."

12:24 Memphis on a little run here and up 33-26 just before half. I have to bow out for 20 minutes on an errand that can't wait. See everyone here for the second half; in the meantime, carry on in the comments.

12:59 And we're back! For once, I'm pleased to be back with the television announcers and rid of the radio guys. The Westwood One duo calling the UNT-Memphis game is unbelievably bad, lowlighted by this felony pun as I pulled back into my driveway: "And the 'Bell' just tolled right there!" This, referring to UNT player Ben Bell's hard foul. Seriously, can we just ban pun attempts from sports broadcasting? Please?

And speaking of things that should be banned forever, and in tribute to our friend WacArnolds, who took time this morning to diss Duke fans, I nominate this for permanent banishment from human society:

(Hat Tip to Bear Meat)

1:08 So this is why they're a #15 seed. . .

1:18 Rakes Of Mallow Update: "Javaris Crittenton has six points in the second half on crazy lay-ups, but the early run by GT has been negated by UNLV keeping possessions alive and Michael Umeh's shooting. I'm already sick of Jim Nantz."

1:20 Addicted To Quack Update: "As I mourn the passing of Albany, I've realized that none of my upset picks are left. Meanwhile, that crappy GT-UNLV game has gotten good. 57-54 Rebels, but Tech is starting to control the paint. If they could just stop turning the ball over..."

1:22 Challenge for the readers: name the last good McDonald's commercial to hit the airwaves. Hint: it's been a looooong time.

1:33 Under a minute to go now and Georgia Tech trails by two with the ball. We need a classic finish here.

1:34 The Yellow Jackets turn it over on a five second count(!), giving UNLV the ball back. They'll have to shoot, so GT will get the ball back. I'll just call it now: we're headed to overtime. This tournament is due for a wild one.

1:36 I jinxed it, damnit. UNLV gets fourteen offensive rebounds, gets to the stripe, hits 'em both, and leads by four with 36 seconds left. Yellow Jackets need to go for the quick two here. PLENTY of time left. Get smart, score fast, go for the quick steal, and if you don't get it, extend the game.

1:40 Georgia Tech fails to score, UNLV heading back to the line with a four point lead, and this one's all but over.

For what it's worth, bamfor correctly identified the last good McDonald's commercial:

1:44 Rakes Of Mallow Update: "What the f*%$ is the point of me paying for Mega March Madness if I can't split screen the freaking ND game against the end of GT/UNLV? GT took their last timeout with over two minutes left, while Wendell White and the Runnin' Rebs are keeping possessions alive to maintain a two point lead late. Also, why must Simmons reference Borat or 'bets he could make if gambling was legal' every other timestamp in his diary? Damn Winthrop..."

1:46 Not sure that Carolina March is quite ready for us to move things over to his site, so we'll stay here until he is. ND-Winthrop is underway in Spokane.

1:47 Also, since I'm putting all my picks on the record: ND over Winthrop 70-66, Tennessee over Long Beach State 80-76, Wisconsin over Texas A&M-CC 60-59, and Nevada over Creighton 71-65.

1:53 The worst part about all these favorites winning? The d-bag in your pool who always refuses to pick any upsets each year because he wants to have the best shot of winning the pool is now the favorite to take home the winnings.

2:00 And we're done here, dudes. Head on over to Carolina March for the afternoon fun.