March Madness

Are those Marquette t-shirts on sale?

It’s always easy to complain about the corportate-ness of sporting events, especially big ones. “The Super Bowl doesn’t have real fans, it’s all a bunch of corporate cronies who get tickets and don’t even care about the game.” Yes, corporate giveaways seem too distant, almost unfair to the “real fans” who presumably get pushed up into the upper levels of the stadium/arena or get left out of the experience entirely.

That is, until you get a free pair of tickets from the unnamed corporation my fiance works for (hint: they pay for the Nantzatron). SGL won 2 lower level tickets to the late session of yesterday’s first round games in San Jose, but couldn’t go herself due to work concerns — an ironic twist of fate, to be sure, especially since SGL went to UW.

What a pair of games. Washington rode Isiah Thomas throughout the entire first half to stay in the game, then played so poorly on defense to start the second half that it appeared they would be making an early trip back to Seattle. Then Quincy Pondexter, who couldn’t make a field goal nor free throw for the game’s first 25 minutes, barreled into a defender for an offensive foul, and he didn’t even have the ball.

Thomas lit into Pondexter, the Huskies’ best player, and it changed the game. Soon the Eagles’ 15-point lead shrank to 11. Then to 7. Then to 3. 2. It was a ballgame. When Pondexter glided past another overwhelmed Marquette defender to make a layup(!) with 1.8 seconds to go to give UW a 2-point lead, and eventually, the win, Mac and I were only 70 feet away from the winning play. Thanks CB… um, whoever the corporate behemoth was who gave us the tickets!

The New Mexico/Montana game was pretty awesome as well. The Grizzlies couldn’t score in the final minute to tie the game, but the Lobos and their fans were squeezing pretty hard when they were down in the first half.

Here’s five things I noticed while watching Washington’s win followed by New Mexico struggling to hold off the Montana Grizzlies. I would have taken pictures, but as usual I forgot my camera at Mac’s house. Yet another difference between guys and girls. Women do not, under any circumstances, go anywhere important without a camera. And since my phone was probably built in 2002, taking photos with my little Nokia isn’t worth it.

The guy you’ll see in the NBA: Quincy Pondexter, even though he played so bad in the game’s first 25 minutes (offensively, anyway), Mac and I had a running joke about how before the game he recognized an NBA scout in the stands and freaked out. Pondexter shouldn’t worry though — he’s one of those rare long, athletic wing players whose defensive abilities seem to nearly match what he can do with the ball in his hands.

The guy you’ll never see in the NBA, even though he was wearing NBA apparel: The mid-40’s chubby dude sitting five rows ahead of us wearing a purple Steve Nash jersey that was about four sizes too small and jorts. His wife was wearing a very purple shirt, so I guess he was a Husky fan who grabbed the only piece of purple clothing he owned. And yes, Fat Nash was the main reason why I was upset to have forgotten my camera.

The guy who, if you’d never seen Montana play before, you’d figure was one of the best centers in college basketball: Brian Qvale, the Grizzly center who had scored a TOTAL of 40 points in the previous 6 games, went off for 26 and 13 against the Lobos, who are damn lucky the Huskies don’t have some big, slow center with good hands. Omar Samhan would go off for 40/20 against New Mexico, I’m sure of it.

Best nickname for a college basketball team: The New Mexico Rebeccas. I was shocked nobody on New Mexico tore an ACL last night.

Best promotional idea the NCAA squandered: With generic t-shirts for all eight teams in the regional on sale for $25 each, why not drop the prices to like $5-$10/shirt for whatever teams lose? What Marquette fan who traveled all the way from Milwaukee’s going to walk out of HP Pavilion after seeing their team lose right before the buzzer and say, “You know what, I’m going to buy this $25 white-tee that says nothing about the 2010 NCAA Tournament. I’m feeling pretty sweet about going one-and-done, as well as the thought of trying to transfer my Saturday night plane tickets to Friday morning.

(As we go into tonight’s games, it’s not looking so awesome for me in the BASG March Madness Pool. Top Ra Man, otherwise known as “The Baptized Beavers,” in first place with 20 out of 24 games chosen correctly. Carp and my aunt Marian are both right behind him with 19, while I’m way down near the bottom with only 15 right answers. Oh well, at least I didn’t pick Cornell to win the whole deal, like my sister 1/2 Jewlia.)

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