HC/Marquette: The Crusaders came out all
wearing matching white headbands. After some early
intimidation over Marquette's size, HC is starting to
NC St/Cal: It's a colorful look in Oklahoma
City, with Cal in gold unis and the Wolfpack in red.
The Bears' inside-out has established itself quickly.
HC/Marquette: Inside game dominated by Holy
Cross? No problem for the foul-plagued Golden Eagles,
who have turned to spindly PG Travis Diener for
NC St/Cal: Wolfpack is putting all the eggs in
the outside-shot basket. But Cal is giving it to
Where are the fans? Both arenas -- Indy and Okla. City
-- are sparsely filled.
Gonzaga/Cincy: Have tipped, and Cincy looks a
little sluggish. Meanwhile, 'Zaga has burst out with a
performance more like their vintage Cinderella years,
rather than last year's debacle.
HC/Marquette: 'Quette superstar Dwyane Wade is
quiet ... too quiet. But his team's frontcourt is
asserting itself a little more. HC star Patrick Whearty
looks like a load in the paint.
HC/Marquette: Dwyane Wade, would-be superstar,
continues to struggle offensively. Definitely liking
HC's fearlessness inside, even if they aren't winning
NC St/Cal: Cal's Joe Shipp is a monster. The
Wolfpack's balance is also fun to watch.
Gonzaga/Cincy: Somebody nearby just accurately
described this game as "high school." What's with the
HC/Marquette: It's not Marquette's size that's
killing HC, it's skinny li'l Travis Diener, who is
carrying his weight (light as it is) -- and team star
Wade's. HC couldn't buy a basket for about an hour,
but it finally just found one.
NC St/Cal: Lookit that: An 8/9 game turning
into a good ol' fashioned shoot-out, with both teams
moving the ball around and shooting great.
Gonzaga/Cincy: Still a little rag-tag, but at
least the crowd's into it.
HC/Marquette: Halftime. 'Quette by 5. It's
Travis Diener's world, and Marquette is just living in
it. Pat Whearty (HC's big stud) has been limited in
points, but is tough to stop on the boards. And it's
the inside game that is keeping HC in it. Ya gotta
NC St/Cal: Halftime. Cal by 3, and led the
entire half. NC State's in it thanks to 3s.
Gonzaga/Cincy: Both teams have settled down,
and Cincy's playing the Zags even at this point.
Balanced scoring for both squads.
HC/Marquette. NC St/Cal: Halftime. It's
the Big Dance, and you'd think there would be some
solid arena halftime entertainment, but I'm not seeing
anything. No tumblers, no kids in XXL jerseys running
Gonzaga/Cincy: Play of the day, so far:
Gonzaga's Winston Brooks tried to throw an alley-oop
to Ronny Turiaf, but instead the lob went in as a 3.
About as wacky a thing as we've seen today.
Halftime, Gonzaga up by 8 after a net-rippling 3 to
end the half. First halves are for idealists anyway.
Second halves are where your picks come to fruition or
NC State's Julius Hodge looks like he could use a big
meal. Maybe thick Joe Shipp -- who is scoring against
the Wolfpack at will -- can spare a few pounds.
Somehow, Holy Cross has taken the lead on Marquette.
Maybe it's the matching white headbands. HC has ALL
the momentum, but with a ton of time left, how to not
peak too early?
I take back my "too skinny" joke about Hodge. The
entire NC State team is thin -- but long, too. Not long
enough to keep Cal from hitting 50 percent of their
shots, but still long.
Holy Cross coach Ralph Willard and NBA coaching
journeyman Jim Lynam: Separated at birth?
Speaking of coaches, Cincy's Bob Huggins is wearing a
shirt with a pattern so ugly, I can't even figure out
what it is. At least it's not a mock turtle, I guess.
Meanwhile, his team is on track for a first-round
I like that Holy Cross band. Nothing like
"nothing-to-lose" to bring out the Cabbage Patch dance
and horizontally striped rugby shirts.
Holy Cross hanging with Marquette might have all the
drama, but Cal and NC State is a barn-burner. Offense,
offense, offense ...
The Cincinnati radio color analyst was just tossed
from the game. And that's just never a good sign.
Speaking of band wear, the Cal band is wearing flat
straw hats a la "Music Man." Probably think they're
pretty clever ... wait, that's the Stanford band.
Into the second-to-last TV timeout, HC is one
successful possession from beating Marquette. Do the
Crusaders know how to play in the first round of the
Tournament or what? (Too bad they always fall short.
But maybe this year ...)
Here's Travis Diener's day in a nutshell: He pulled up
for a three, and it back-rimmed. His teammate Joe
Chapman got the rebound, found him, and Diener didn't
hesitate, shooting again -- this time, canning it.
More band fashion: NC State's band is sporting
long-sleeve red T-shirts with jeans.
NC State just took its first lead of the day, with
less than two minutes to go, on a Hodge dunk. Wonder
if Cal is feeling a little tickle in its throat
after having led all game?
NC State had a shot to take the lead, but couldn't
pull it off. Cal had a layup to win the game at the buzzer, but
it was blocked by long arms of the NC State's Scooter Sherrill. And now it's
Tourney OT (the best kind of OT, by the way).
Meanwhile, Marquette's Travis Diener must have sold
his soul or something, because he's doing it all
offensively, including a game-sealing jumper with less
than a minute to go, plus a bunch of free throws to
keep hard-luck Holy Cross at bay.
How hard luck is Holy Cross? Two years ago, they
barely lose to No. 1 seed Kentucky. Last year, they
give No. 2 seed Kansas a scare. Today, they give 3
seed Marquette all they could handle -- making
all-world guard Dwyane Wade look awful -- but couldn't
contain buck-oh-five Travis Diener, who lit them up
And that's how the Tourney ball bounces. Meanwhile,
Cal and NC State are in OT and Cincy's Bob Huggins got booted from the game ...
Gonzaga again today with the tournament off-court
trend-setting: For bench players late in a close game,
there's only one way to sit -- arms locked.
Want to know the meaning of Tournament clutch? NC
State's Scooter Sherrill hit a 3 to take a one-point lead on Cal in OT.
Cal rushed back -- no time to think -- and freshman
Richard Midgley hit a 3 to win the game (State missed a final shot at the buzzer).
Meanwhile, Gonzaga pulls a "technical upset" over
Cincy, but previously tossed Bob Huggins (not to
mention his assistant the Bearcats' radio analyst)
weren't there to see it.
If there's a poster kid for the Tournament so far,
it's the short skinny guard. Marquette's Travis Diener
is the day's high scorer at 29 points, leading his
team past feisty Holy Cross. And Cal's freshman
Richard Midgley (as small as his name might suggest)
hit the huge 3 in OT to lead the Bears past NC
The first game of the late-afternoon set (BYU-UConn)
has tipped off. Here's hoping it's as exciting as the
first group of games.
Take a deep breath and recover from the early-afternoon games ... rejuvenated? Good, because the four-game late-afternoon set is ramping up. BYU is giving the NCAA the willies (over the bracket snafu)
while giving UConn all it can handle. And Missouri and Southern Illinois just tipped off.
Quin Snyder Hair Watch: Oh, it's slick ... just like you
imagine it. This guy is so L.A., if he isn't an
archetype of what a UCLA coach should be, I'm not sure
Southern Illinois sports those extra-large jersey
numbers, which is so easy on the TV viewing eyes
(particularly after three hours) that all teams should
As long as we're tracking band-wear: Oklahoma's band
members are wearing maroon sweater-vests with
"Oklahoma" across them. It's like a Jim Tressel
appreciation. Meanwhile, Arizona's band is wearing classic horizontal-striped rugby shirts.
Not sure if any players seemed happier to be in the
Salt Lake City arena than Vermont, which has been on a
road trip that put the snowballs in hell, literally.
Will the team be as happy when Arizona unleashes on them?
We've officially hit tournament Nirvana: Four games at
once (even if two are 1 vs. 16 mismatches). That said, enjoy the 2-0 leads, which both Vermont (over Arizona) and South
Carolina State (over Oklahoma) currently enjoy?
And whoever had "Oklahoma would be scoreless at the
first TV timeout" was almost right. (But it
took the Sooners nearly five minutes to get their
Mizzou clings to a one-point lead at halftime over
Southern Illinois. SIU is working the mid-major mojo
that Gonzaga had earlier today when they knocked off
And what about those No. 1 seeds? Neither Oklahoma nor
Arizona is shooting particularly well, something they
can afford to do against teams they can physically
overpower -- but a condition they better lose in future
The most creative player of the tournament so far is
Vermont's David Hehn, a soph from Canada (of all
places), who seems to do something fancy every time he
touches the ball. Who knew Sarnia, Ontario was such a
The two No. 1 seeds playing have pulled away from
their previously pesky No. 16 opponents, but BYU has
clawed its way back into a game with UConn. And it's a
12-5 game, so you know where it's going ...
The NCAA can breathe easy: The BYU bracket-busting
snafu is a non-issue now that the Cougars have been
eliminated by UConn. On top of that, the tournament is
officially oh-for-one on the traditional 12/5 upset.
Two more chances tonight, though.
Despite two 1 vs. 16 blow-outs, the first afternoon is
ending on a wild note, with upstart (and '02 Sweet
16'er) Southern Illinois giving Missouri all it can
While the 16-seeds are limping to a finish against the
No. 1 powerhouses, 11-seed Southern Illinois missed a
game-winner at the buzzer and lost by a point to
Mizzou, which has "bandwagon" written all over it.