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Behind a 23-point outing from Seth Curry, Duke closed out Kentucky on Tuesday in an uneven but entertaining game.
9:35 - Two top ten teams who don't like each other and who just might be the two most prominent names in the sport squaring off inside the home of this season's Final Four? Not bad for Nov. 13.
UK point guard Ryan Harrow is still dealing with an illness and will not play, which is a shame. But even with Harrow, Duke would have the superior combination of experience and talent at this point in the season.
This is going to be fun, but I'd love to see it again in about four months.
Prediction: Duke by 7
9:44 - Second straight game where Nerlens Noel has come out and forced the issue on UK's first offensive possession. Needs to let the game come to him. Creating his own shot should not be his M.O.
9:52 - ESPN did not have the correct picture of Ryan Harrow.
Ryan harrow so sick he is five shades lighter— Perrin Johnson (@PerrinJohnson) November 14, 2012
9:57 - Kentucky off to an impressive start for the second straight game. Alex Poythress playing very aggressive and helping the Cats build a 13-7 lead.
10:06 - Seth Curry's outside shooting is allowing Duke to hang around here. He's got nine points on three triples and it's 21-19, Kentucky.
10:19 - The Dukies now have it rolling and Mason Plumlee has been the catalyst. UK struggling with defending the post just as much as they did against Maryland. That's a big issue, especially considering frontcourt play was supposed to be their strength.
10:22 - Plumlee now has 14 points despite playing a long stretch with two fouls. It's the Blue Devils up 29-23.
10:30 - A solid answer from Kentucky, which reels off six straight to tie the game at 29.
10:31 - Alex Poythress with a monster putback dunk to cut the Duke lead to two at 33-31. The play of Poythress has been the ost positive development for UK so far tonight. Calipari has to have him gain confidence and assume Michael Kidd-Gilchrist's role from last season.
10:33 - Neither team shot especially well down the stretch, but still a very entertaining half of basketball. Dukies lea at the break, 33-31.
10:34 - John Calipari says Duke players are flopping all over the court. "If this was the NBA, they'd all be suspended."
10:46 - There's a bed montage going on in my head with a Celine Dionne song (any Celine Dionne song) serving as the background music.
10:53 - Nerlens Noel finding his stroke at the stripe is another positive development for John Calipari. We're tied at 37.
10:56 - Weezy courtside:
Via Matt Jones.
10:58 - Back-to-back treys push Duke ahead by six and force Calipari to use a timeout. If Rasheed Sulaimon and Quinn Cook are hitting from the outside, Duke's awfully tough to handle defensively.
11:01 - Mason Plumlee picks up his fourth foul way away from the ball with 16 minutes to play. Huge development.
11:08 - Poythress catches a forearm from Josh Hairston, but officials say it was unintentional. Things getting a little tense here. Duke leads 45-39 with 14 minutes left.
11:11: Lots of emotion here:
11:13 - They say Seth Curry's mom's lost a step or two over the years...but I wouldn't be surprised to see some fireworks here.
11:14 - Kentucky letting this one get away a little bit, as Duke races out to a 54-42 lead.
11:22 - Nerlens Noel may not have the skill set of Anthony Davis, but he certainly plays just as hard. His hustle play results in a UK dunk and some new life. Duke still up ten, 58-48 with 8:30 left.
11:26 - Kentucky getting basket after basket, but just cannot stop Duke on he other end. Alex Poythress with another huge follow dunk. Kid has an NBA-ready body.
11:31 - And here come the Cats. Julius Mays hits two free-throws and a trey to cut the lead to five. Momentum is all Kentucky right now. Duke needs to look to Plumlee for an answer.
11:36 - Duke was supposed to have the advantage in this game because of experience, but they are not handling the moment very well. Blue Devils on top by just three at the under four timeout.
11:39 - Alex Poythress is an absolute specimen. His insane rebound and follow keeps it a one possession game. Curry responds on the other end with a big basket. Appears he's going to be Duke's No. 1 options in these situations this season. I'd say that's the right choice.
11:47 - No more whistles...I'm so close.
11:50 - Iiiiit's a final. Duke 75, Kentucky 68. That's right. Drilled the final prediction.
Blue Devils have a legitimate No. 1 scoring option, while Kentucky has a blossoming star in Alex Poythress. Both teams have reasons to be optimistic about the months ahead, but Duke's experience has them a couple of steps ahead right now.
I just misspelled every other word in those last two sentences. Don't care. I'm done.
Believe I'll get some sleep.
The Spartans scored last in a seesaw contest with the Jayhawks to get the season-opening victory, 67-64, on Tuesday night.
Sean Kilpatrick leads Cincinnati easily past MVSU, 102-60.
Kevin Ollie's club was impressive in his home debut, cruising past Vermont for a 67-49 win.
7:00 -The Spartans suddenly find themselves at the center of an early season debate about their merits following a loss to Connecticut on Friday. A win over the reigning national runners-up would certainly go a long way in silencing the excitable early critics.
While each team has some serious backcourt talent, the battle in the paint between Kansas' Jeff Withey and the Spartan duo of Derrick Nix and Adreian Payne should be awfully fun to watch. Both teams have serious question marks that won't be answered anytime soon, but tonight will definitely be a start.
Prediction: Kansas by 5
7:14 - No doubt that the worst thing about this is being borderline delirious by the time the marquee games roll around. I'm more excited for these great games to be over than I am to watch them in general, and I hate that.
7:21 - Really entertaining, well played game so far. All five Kansas starters have scored and they lead it 11-9 after six minutes.
7:24 - Highly-regarded freshman Gary Harris being far more assertive tonight than he was against Connecticut. Tom Izzo has to have him emerge as one of, if not the, primary scoring threat on this team. He scores on back-to-back possessions and State takes a 14-13 lead.
7:32 - Hope I'm not jinxing it, but the quality of play so far is much higher than we're used to seeing in these big November games. We're knotted at 22.
7:43 - Jeff Withey to the bench with two fouls. My guess is he sits there for the last five minutes of the half. Kansas leads, 31-28. Elijah Johnson and Ben McClemore both have seven points. Harris has a game-high nine for Sparty.
7:54 - JAMARI TRAYLOR. OH MY.
7:56 - Kansas maintains its three-point lead with Withey on the bench and heads to the locker room up 35-32. The Spartans got a little sloppy late, but other than that an incredibly well played first half.
8:01 - You have to admire Digger Phelps for not allowing his inability to make a coherent point affect his desire to consistently interrupt anyone and everyone around him.
8:24 - Level of play is still high, but neither team can buy a bucket. Kansas leads it 42-38 with 12:07 remaining.
8:31 - This is hilarious:
Amino Timberlake in a "I still Hate Laettner" shirt. twitter.com/MattJonesCBB/s…— Matt Jones (@MattJonesCBB) November 14, 2012
8:36 - Feels like Keith Appling has played the entire game with Travis Trice unavailable. Jayhawks lead 45-42 with just under 10 minutes to go. This is very fun.
8:46 - Keith Appling steps into a triple to put Sparty up one. Have I said this has been incredibly well played for a November game? Because this has been incredibly well played for a November game.
8:50 - Both teams are an identical 21-of-41 from the field. Kansas has hit one more three-pointer and leads 55-54 with six minutes to go.
8:55 - It's been a coming out party of sorts for Harris, who scores two huge baskets on back-to-back possessions to pull Michigan State within one. The freshman leads Sparty with 18 points.
9:01 - Jamari Traylor with his second "holy sh-t" play of the night. This time it's a ridiculous block on Harris to keep the game tied at 59.
9:05 - It's an 8-0 run for Michigan State, which finds itself up 62-59 with 1:47 to go. Elijah Johnson headed to the line for Kansas for two shots.
9:09 - Huge swing as officials miss a blatant Kansas foul. Ben McLemore then converts a three-point play on the other end to make the score 65-64 in favor of State. The Spartans have the ball with 35.2 left.
9:12 - Keith Appling, who buried a huge three a couple possessions earlier, makes an incredible move and finish to put the Spartans up three. Kansas ball with 13.8 to go.
9:14 - Releford's three at the buzzer is off the mark and Michigan State holds on. Tremendous turnaround after a disappointing loss in Germany last Friday. Appling led all scorers with 19, and Harris chipped in 18. It was the Spartans' first win over a top ten opponent since beating UConn in the 2009 Final Four.
Tremendous opening to this double-header.
If your team's going to lose, you might as well walk away with the game's best highlight.
That was probably not the thinking of Kent State's Kris Brewer, but he accomplished the feat anyway during the Golden Flashes' loss to Temple.
4:16 - Probably the strangest game of the day in that this is a non-conference game featuring two teams from the same conference. The reason for this oddity is that the game was already scheduled when Butler announced it was making the move to the Atlantic-10 a year ahead of schedule.
This has been predicted by many to be the year Xavier finally finishes in the bottom half of the A-10 standings. Naturally, they came out and hung 117 on Fairleigh Dickinson in their season-opener. They should have a much tougher time both scoring and defending against a team with Rotnei Clarke and Kellen Dunham in its backcourt.
Prediction: Butler by 8
4:26 - Xavier's Jeff Robinson has eight early points and the Musketeers have seized control early, 21-11. They sure don't look like a team poised for a slip to the bottom half of the A-10.
4:29 - Rotnei Clarke misses his first three three-point attempts as a Bulldog, but buries his fourth. Robinson answers with a jumper to become the first player in double figures. X still in charge, 23-16.
4:34 - Dominos order has been placed.
4:40 - Semaj Christon and Jeff Robinson are both wayyy better than I thought they were. Muskies up by ten, 32-22.
4:51 - Both teams shoot 50% or better in the first half, but it's Xavier with the 36-29 lead at the break. Robinson leads all scorers with 12 points. I'm getting antsy about this cheesy bread.
5:27 - Butler is ice cold from the field in the second half and as a result the Xavier lead has ballooned to 13. The Bulldogs are being manhandled inside.
5:30 - DAN DAKICH IS MAD ABOUT EVERYTHING.
5:35 - Xavier now with its biggest lead of the game at 50-35. It's hard to envision Butler getting back into this one.
5:37 - In Beauty and the Beast when Belle finds the beast in the woods and then rides him back to safety on her horse, how in the hell did she get him up on that horse? Butler takes a timeout down 52-35.
5:47 - The rout is officially on. Time to shift focus onto the Champions Classic games.
5:52 - Can't take any more Dakich.
5:56 - A disappointing non-introduction to the Atlantic-10 for Butler, which falls to Xavier 62-47. Jeff Robinson scored 17 points and grabbed eight rebounds for the victors, while Travis Taylor added 15 and nine.
You may remember Detroit's Doug Anderson from the 2012 NCAA Tournament. Sure, his team was throttled by Kansas in the Round of 64, but that didn't stop Anderson from dunking on just about everybody in the building.
Detroit's tip-off marathon game against St. John's is Anderson's first back in the national spotlight, and so naturally he's back to doing Doug Anderson things.
It really is like he brings an invisible trampoline with him everywhere he goes.
2:01 - Detroit won the Horizon tournament and went to the big dance last season, but even if they hadn't, the presence of Ray McCallum Jr. alone makes them worth watching on a Tuesday afternoon. The biggest storyline here, however, is the return of St. John's coach Steve Lavin, who missed virtually all of last season while battling prostate cancer. The Johnnies are once again young, but talented.
Prediction: St. John's by 4
2:04 - I like to think of myself as a younger, more Southern Fran Fraschilla. I've actually never thought of myself like that. I don't know, I'm starting to slip a little bit here.
2:09 - Not a lot of points, but mother of God there is some athleticism on display here.
2:33 - Poor shooting from both sides, but a close, entertaining game nonetheless so far. The Johnnies lead 23-22 and have held preseason Horizon League Player of the Year Ray McCallum Jr. to 3-of-10 shooting from the field.
2:49 - The athletic freak that is Doug Anderson completes the dunk of the marathon so far with a vicious put-back slam.
2:53 - It wasn't exactly great basketball, but it was impressive. Detroit leads St. John's 37-29 at halftime.
3:06 - Anderson video:
Young man has what the kids call "bounce."
3:18 - Things getting a little bit chippy here, but it's got the crowd into the game as St. John's has pulled to within four at 41-37.
3:33 - And suddenly neither team can stop the either from scoring. Detroit leads 54-48 with a little less than 12 minutes to go. McCallum and Jason Calliste have combined to score 32 points for the Titans.
3:38 - We've reached the completely numb portion of the marathon. Don't feel like eating, don't feel like thinking, couldn't make a joke if my life depended on it. These are the bad times.
3:43 - Haven't eaten since the Gummy Sweet Tarts. Something that probably needs to change.
3:48 - Huge sequence as Detroit misses a pair of bunnies on one end and lets D'Angelo Harrison bury a wide-open triple on the other. Momentum is on the side of the Johnnies now, as they've cut the lead to two at 60-58.
3:55 - St. John's getting to all the loose balls and playing with more bounce right now. They're also playing with their first lead in a long time at 64-62.
3:57 - Chris Obekpa will block anything around the rim. The freshman could provide the inside presence SJU has been lacking in recent years.
4:01 - In his first college game ever, Chris Obekpa has tied the St. John's record for blocks in a game with seven. One more and he breaks it...which you probably could have figured out on your own, but whatever.
4:10 - Obepka's legend grows as he buries a huge jumper in the final minute.
4:12 - It's a final: St. John's comes from behind to beat Detroit, 77-74. A really good win for a really young team and a head coach who had been out of the game for a year and-a-half.
Harrison came off the bench to lead the way for the Johnnies with 22 points. McCallum finished with 19 for Detroit.
Once again, I miss a perfect prediction by a point.
Sampson Carter's first made shot of the day was a big one, as his three-pointer just before the buzzer lifted UMass to a 67-64 victory over Harvard.
The three-pointer was just the 16th of Carter's career.
The Minutemen scored the game's final eight points to overcome a late five-point deficit.
12:06 - Kent State, which upset West Virginia in this event a season ago, comes into the game riding the momentum of a big overtime win over preseason CAA favorite Drexel. A win over Khalif Wyatt and the Owls would garner the attention of top 25 voters across the country.
Prediction: Temple by 5
12:08 - Gotta love this:
Nice work, Coach Sendy.
12:25 - Scootie Randall is going nuts and Temple is all over Kent State early, 25-11. Randall has 13.
12:29 - Kent State not looking interested in defending anyone, and as a result they've been doubled up. It's 30-15 Temple with 7:36 to go in the first half. Disappointing effort from the home team so far.
12:37 - Temple's good at basketball again. Lather, rinse, repeat. Owls are up 36-22 at the under four timeout.
12:43 - Randall, who missed all of last season because of injury, now has 17 first half points. Kent State is making a move, though. It's 38-30 Owls with just over a minute to go until halftime.
12:46 - The shrieks from this woman in the crowd are going to haunt my dream when I actually do have the chance to sleep. They aren't especially loud or shrill, they're just indescribably odd.
12:47 - Temple dominates the first half, but let's Kent State make up some ground late. It's 40-32 at the break.
12:58 - ESPN is finally back to doing live halftime shows. That's sweet of them.
1:12 - A nasty dunk from Kris Brewer momentarily ties the game at 46 before a Randall three puts the Owls back on top. Momentum is squarely on the side of the Flashes right now.
1:23 - Seriously don't even know I would begin to describe these screams.
1:26 - The ESPN Social Media Hub looks like the saddest place in the world.
1:36 - Fran Dunphy's club has taken back control. It's 66-53 Temple with seven minutes to go.
1:50 - Kent State getting a little rattled here at the end. Two technical fouls and a hoard of turnovers. Temple leads 73-57 as we head to the game's final TV timeout.
1:54 - Scootie Randall now has a career-high 30 points in his first game back in almost a year and-a-half.
1:59 - Temple moves to 1-0 with an impressive 80-66 win at Kent State. Scootie Randall is the man of the match with a career-high 31 points.
10:00 - Now the fun picks back up a little bit. It would have picked back up full throttle (Charlie's Angels 2) had Crimson senior co-captains Brandyn Curry and Kyle Casey not been suspended for the season for their roles in the now infamous Harvard cheating scandal. Chazz Williams and company ought to be too much for the visitors.
Prediction: Massachusetts by 10
Second prediction: This is the last time I write out "Massachusetts" today.
10:14 - Sean McDonough and Bill Raftery calling a 10 a.m. college basketball game is pretty much as close to perfect as a Tuesday morning can get. They're currently ripping on Jay Bilas without any sign of mercy.
10:26 - UMass student section consistently chanting "take home test." Probably not the last time the Crimson are going to hear something along those lines this season. The Minutemen lead it, 19-15.
10:38 - Few players in college basketball are more fun to watch than Chazz Williams. Tremendous instincts, great range, really small; he's got it all.
10:44 - UMass really exploiting Harvard inside on both ends of the floor. Terrrell Vinson and Raphiael Putney both have eight points to lead the Minutemen, who are up 33-25.
10:50 - This is the first I'm hearing about "Chazketball," but I fully support it.
10:55 - Nice to see more college teams embracing the 2-for-1 at the end of the first half. Never made sense not to.
10:57 - Christian Webster buries a trey just before the halftime buzzer to pull Harvard to within 38-37 at the break. The Crimson ended the first half on a 14-5 run. Couldn't be more impressed by their ability to do this without Curry and Casey.
11:21 - We are all tied up at 46. Harvard guard Siyani Chambers leads all scorers with 12 points. Three UMass players have 10. Crowd is dead at the moment.
11:27 - "You got a number of texts and calls from people who were shocked that you were working a 10 a.m. game."--McDonough to Raftery, who then refers to it as a "gentleman's hour." These guys are the best.
11:29 - Williams is good enough to play without screaming at someone after every made shot. It's not endearing. UMass leads 52-48 at the under 12.
11:39 - UMass student section shirt had a bad word on it.
11:42 - Harvard battles bak every single time it looks like UMass is on the verge of building a comfortable lead. A really impressive effort from Tommy Amaker's team. They've scores six straight we're tied at 54 with eight minutes left.
11:49 - Harvard scores eight straight points to take just their second lead of the game. Jesse Morgan has the answer for UMass, and we're tied again at 58.
11:51 - Bad word on shirt.
11:52 - It's still hard to see anyone in the Ivy being better than this Harvard team. They lead it, 60-59.
12:04 - Oh my, a deep three by Morgan ties the score at 64 with 37.6 seconds left. High drama in Amherst.
12:09 - Onions! Sampson Carter hits a shot just before the buzzer to win it for UMass, 67-64. It was his only bucket of the game. Two turnovers in the final minute killed Harvard as they watched the Minutemen scored the contest's final eight points.
A heartbreaker for Harvard, but they're way ahead of where most people thought they would be at this point. A solid early resume win for UMass.
8:04 -Valpo is the preseason favorite in the Butler-less Horizon League, while the Huskies lost leading scorer Tim Toler from a team that won just five games in 2011-12.
I thought Hawaii/Houston Baptsit was going to be the biggest hurdle, but this is going to be a pretty extreme struggle in its own right. My eyes are not feeling light at the moment.
We're into hour nine, and that means it's coffee time.
Prediction: Valpo by 24
8:14 - The Bryce Drew shot is still my all-time personal favorite March Madness moment. I'll love Mrs. Klausing forever for wheeling that TV out at just the right time.
8:17 - It'd be nice if someone would make a shot here. We've played six minutes and it's stil 2-2.
8:22 - Valpo's Ryan Broekhoff has seven points and five boards. All the other players on the two teams combined have seven points and 12 boards. The Crusaders lead it, 10-4.
8:35 - Broekhoff now has 13. Only one other player in the game has more than three. It's Valpo up 18-10 with 5:45 left in the first half. Not the most fun I've ever had, but not the least.
8:39 - And now Broekhoff has half of the total points scored in the game with 16. 21-11 Crusaders with just 3:30 to go in the half.
8:43 - Love Broekhoff's offense, but could go without his constant flailing. Australia's not even that good at soccer, so he doesn't have a legitimate excuse.
8:47 - Credit NIU for hanging around here. The lead is only 21-15, but it feels like it should be more. Valpo playing like it's 8 a.m. and hasn't scored in over six minutes.
8:56 - ESPN showing the same taped halftime show three times in a row now feels like it goes against the general principle of this event. Weak sauce.
9:12 - Valpo comes out of the locker room hot from behind the three-point line. The lead is 14, but it feels like it's about 80...which also feels like the number of hours I have left until I get to go to sleep.
9:20 - Guy in the Valpo student section just pulled the laziest pom-pom waving I've ever seen. Hoping for video. His team is winning 42-22, by the way.
9:28 - Lazy Valpo Pom-Pom Waver is slowly taking this day over.
9:34 - Yep.
That one guy in the valpo stands just twirling his pom pom thing #boss— Chris Labattaglia (@CLabattaglia) November 13, 2012
Crusaders up 51-35 at the under eight timeout.
9:39 - Laphonso Ellis currently talking about "Marcus" Kidd-Gilchrist. I think we all need a nap. It's Valpo in complete control, 60-35 at the six minute mark.
9:56 - This one finally comes to an end as Valpo prevails, 69-46, missing by prediction by a single point. Broekhoff led all scorers with 20 points.
A Valpo fan slowly twirls his pom-pom in uncontrollable celebration.
6:28 -The home crowd for the 6 a.m. game usually embraces the event and provides a solid atmosphere, and it looks like the Rider folks have done a decent job. The sun coming up at some point around halftime is also a nice pat on the back for the marathon viewer.
This game has the potential to deliver more excitement than the casual fan might expect. Stony Brook was the preseason favorite in the America East, and Rider destroyed Robert Morris in their season-opener behind St. John's transfer Nurideen Lindsey's 26-point debut.
Prediction: Rider by 4
6:33 - A little disappointed by the Rider kids. Not a great deal of enthusiasm in the gym. In their defense, even less enthusiasm coming from y bedroom.
6:43 - The ESPN.com scoreboard isn't even working for this game. Really thinking I'm the only person alive at this point. Stony Brook leads, 25-17.
6:48 - St. John's transfer Nurideen Lindsey went off for Rider in the Broncos' season-opener, but he has no points, two fouls and two turnover so far this morning (feels weird to say).
7:06 - We've made it to the second half and the sun has also risen. Always a major tipoff marathon check point...the sunrise, not the second half of the 6 a.m. game. Stony Brook's up 32-23 in a game that's geting a little bit chippy.
7:38 - Lindsey makes perhaps the play of the marathon so far with a desperation make from near halfcourt that just beat the shot clock buzzer. It's also a huge basket, as Rider gets the crowd back into the game and moves within four. Stony Brook leads 37-33 at the under eight. Not exactly the up-and-down contest you'd like to see from the 6 a.m. game, but we're still here.
7:46 - Crowd really into the game for the first time all morning as Rider inches to within three. Stony Brook with five turnovers in seven possessions, but still clinging to a 37-34 lead. Eyes are feeling heavy. Can't lie about it.
7:53 - The 11-point Stony Brook lead is completely gone as Lindsey buries a three to get the Broncs within two and then Daniel Stewart dunks the game tied. We're knotted at 41 with four minutes to play.
7:56 - Stony Brook has an answer with the ever-rare back-to-back baskets to regain the lead at 45-41.
8:04 - Rider pulls the dreaded "play defense for about 25 seconds and then inexplicably give the foul move" to send Stony Brook to the line with 28 seconds left. It blows my mind how how often this happens. The Seawolves lead it, 50-45.
8:06 - Stony Brook holds on for the 54-46 road victory to move to 3-0 and bring my prediction record to a highly disappointing 2-2. The game was not a pleasant viewing experience for the first 35 minutes, but fun down the stretch. which probably saved me from an unwanted slumber.
It's coffee time.
Well, here we are. The moment we all knew was coming but were too afraid to acknowledge until it arrived.
Gonna need some energy and some entertainment, Kanoa Leahy & Bob Valvano.
Prediction: Hawaii by 16
4:12 - IT'S GO TIME.
Crowd has responded well to the "blackout" theme. About 2K in house.— Brian McInnis (@Brian_McInnis) November 13, 2012
4:26 - I'd forgotten that Kanoa Leahy is one of those Hawaiian people who pronounces "Hawaii" in that weird, correct way. Say it how I'm used to hearing it or don't say it at all, bro. If they weren't calling them the "Rainbow Warriors" anymore I'd be turning this game off. HAWAII (said the way we all like) leads 24-12.
4:30 - Do you think ESPN has separate cutaway shots/music for Maui Invitational games and Hawaii home games? In my dreams they do, and some producer gets f---ing furious when someone mixes up the two. It's still 24-12.
4:34 - Hawaii has eight newcomers, but they're playing with a lot more effort and cohesiveness than they did in this game a year ago. They won't be a pushover in the Big West.
4:37 - Baptist doesn't have any answer for Hawaii forward Vander Joaquim, who has 11 points and six boards. It's the 'Bows, 29-14. It's fun for me to say 'Bows, so I'm going to do it since I'm the only one in the Western Hemisphere who's awake and attempting to be productive.
4:38 - Drop 'Bows on 'em.
4:43 - Am I supposed to be putting an apostrophe in Hawaii? 'Cuz I'm not gonna. 'Bows up, 33-16.
4:46 - Vander Joaquim appears to be a hair under 9'8 against Houston Baptist. He's got 16 and Hawaii (without an apostrophe) leads 38-23 at the break. I'm the only person in the world on the Internet.
4:54 - Can we put a moratorium on the "has (player) been at (school) for (number larger than four) years" jokes? The answer is no, he has not. What happened is he played a fairly prominent role or had some memorable moments during his freshman season, he was a solid contributor as a sophomore and junior but not solid enough to go pro, and now he's back for his senior season. That is the situation with the player you are referencing.
It's 4:54 in the morning and I feel very strongly about this.
5:08 - This is Houston Baptist's first appearance on ESPN. I know because I've been told seven times. It's not going well, they're losing 42-25.
5:13 - I can understand why Hawaii sports fans aren't the most passionate. Say you're a diehard Hawaii fan and the Rainbow Warriors lose a game. You get really sad for like two minutes and until you walk past any place in your house with a window. I don't know, maybe I'm cutting them too much slack. I'm a giver. Especially after 5 a.m.
5:18 - Hawaii leads 53-35. Currently buying birthday presents.
5:22 - Have now seen the BMW "this holiday season, make a resolution to get out more...much, much more" commercial at least five times. Am starting to believe it's directed at me.
5:24 - This is the current star of the tipoff marathon:
5:29 - HBU has drawn back-to-back charges and finally hit a couple of threes to cut the Rainbow Warrior lead to 12. It's an 8-0 run and America has Husky fever.
5:40 - Giving Michael Harper the MVP award for the "Welcome to Hawaii" video. 'Bows are still in control, 63-45 with seven minutes to play.
5:51 - Joaquim now with a double-double at 20 points and 10 rebounds. Hawaii up 20.
6:18 - It's a final. Hawaii is your Rainbow Classic MVP after a 73-60 victory. I'm not thinking actual thoughts at this moment.
2:18 - We're underway over on ESPNU to start while Gonzaga puts the final touches on its bludgeoning of West Virginia over on ESPN. Here's hoping the energy of The Pit can save the early portion of the marathon.
Davidson returns pretty much everyone from last year's SoCon championship squad, and has a legitimate shot at being at-large worthy if they can win a couple of games like this. The Lobos, who lost to the same team (Louisville) as the Wildcats in the 2012 West Regional, lost star Drew Gordon but returned their thee-headed backcourt of Kendall Williams, Tony Snell and Hugh Greenwood.
It's hard to pick a favorite here, although the home court (and home time) advantage certainly falls in New Mexico's favor. Still, I'm going with what I think is the superior team at this time.
Prediction: Davidson by 2
2:27 - Mother of God, Davidson is up, 27-11.
2:33 - New Mexico making a nice run to cut the lead to 32-22. Great energy at The Pit, really cool environment for this type of event. Clint Mann already has 11 points off the bench for Davidson, while Tony Snell has almost half (10) of New Mexico's points.
2:37 - I was baptized in Albuquerque. Just trying to let you get a little better feel for who I am as we share this journey together.
2:41 - New Mexico has it back down to single digits at 32-24. I bet Hank Schrader is a huge Lobos fan.
2:52 - UNM has actually outplayed Davidson since falling behind 10-0 to start the game, but they still trail 37-31 with a minute left in the half.
2:55 - A disastrous final minute for New Mexico, as Davidson goes on an 8-0 run to head into the break with a 45-31 lead. Tyler Kalinoski hit back-to-back triples to silence the home crowd.
2:57 - New Mexico had a tremendous first half from Tony Snell, who leads all scorers with 14 points. De'Mon Brooks and Clint Mass both have 11 for Davidson.
3:07 - Halftime music is a must. Gonna hit shuffle on iTunes and the song that comes up will define the marathon...Peter Bjorn and John, "Young Folks." Good sign for Kentucky maybe?
3:18 - Bob McKillop is one of the best coaches in college basketball, regardless of conference or program prestige. Davidson never rattles, they always have tremendous spacing and appear to know exactly what they're supposed to be doing at all times. A really, really fun team to watch. They lead it 52-41 as we approach the under 16 timeout.
3:30 - Davidson is an incredibly hard team to play from behind against. New Mexico has played very well since starting the game down 0-10, and they've found themselves seemingly perpetually down by 9-12 points. It's 58-47 here with 12 minutes to go.
3:40 - Lobos finally get over the hump and we have a game here at 60-55 with 10 minutes to play. Should be a terrific finish.
3:46 - New Mexico ties it for the first time since it was 0-0. Davidson keeps getting to the lines in key situations, but can't convert. The Wildcats are clinging to a 61-60 lead with eight minutes to go.
3:51 - New Mexico briefly takes its first lead of the game at 63-62, but Davidson responds with a pair of bakets to go back up three. This has "best game of the marathon" potential.
3:54 - De'Mon Brooks is only 6'7, but he's making it very clear how much New Mexico misses Drew Gordon in the paint. They have to have a frontcourt player or two step up big time if they want to compete for another MWC title. We're knotted up at 68 here with a little over five to play.
3:55 - Good news for the Lobos as Brooks picks up foul number four. He and his 16 points head to the bench.
4:03 - New Mexico has attempted twice as many free-throws as Davidson (36-18), and made more than twice as many (31-13). They lead it 74-73 with two minutes to go.
4:06 - Big man Alex Kirk with a huge rebound off a Davidson miss, and now New Mexico leads by three and has the ball with 1:36 to play. Crowd has been terrific since the opening tip.
4:08 - De'Mon Brooks leaves Tony Snell open, and Snell promptly buries a potential game-sealing three as the shot clock expires. It's the Lobos who have come all the way back from being down 16 in the first half to hold a 79-73 lead with less than a minute to go.
4:16 - New Mexico erases a 14-point halftime deficit to pick up a great win over Davidson, 86-81. Tony Snell is your early marathon MVP after scoring a career-high 25 points and making a key block in the game's final minute. The Lobos got the job done at the free-throw line where they hit on 38-of-44 attempts as opposed to just 15-of-20 from the stripe for Davidson.
Going to be tough to top that game in terms of environment, quality of play and competitiveness.
11:55 - All right, let's do this. And by this, I mean damage to our bodies and sleep schedules that will literally take at least a week to repair.
The first game of the marathon was the most competitive of the bunch a year ago, and that could easily be the case again in 2012. It was in that game against Washington State 12 months ago when Kevin Pangos went from unheard of freshman to national name by burying nine three-pointers.
The 'Zags should have a tougher test this go-round against a West Virginia team that is and will be largely reliant on talented transfers Aaric Murray, Juwan Staten and Matt Humphrey. The Mountaineers also appeared in this event last season, falling at home to Kent State.
The Kennel Club is always one of America's top student sections, but they bring something extra for the tip-off marathon game. This should be a terrific way to get things started.
Prediction: Gonzaga by 6
12:08 - Kevin "Mr. Tipoff Marathon" Pangos buries his first three-point attempt of the game to put Gonzaga up 5-2. There have been as many fouls called (7) as points scored (uh...also 7) through five minutes.
12:18 - We have 11 total fouls and the two teams are a combined 3-of-20 from the field. The 'Zags have slowly built their lead to an impressive 6-2. I just yawned. It's like hearing a horrifying rattle on lap one at Daytona.
12:25 - The people are already revolting.
We're at the under 12 and it's Gonzaga, 15-2. Mr. Marathon has two treys. Gonzaga fans are chanting "you have two points!" Lotta two things happening right now.
12:36 - It's worth mentioning that Gonzaga destroyed West Virginia 77-54 in last year's NCAA Tournament. Afterward, Bob Huggins called it the most embarrassing performance of his career. The Bulldogs currently lead 27-11, which means the last 52 minutes of Mountaineer basketball have involved being beaten 104-65 by Gonzaga.
12:43 - I've never had a problem remembering that West Virginia moved out of the Big East in football, but I cannot for the life of me wrap my head around the fact that they're a Big 12 basketball team. It's weird since all those realignment moves were made with basketball being the chief concern. The Mountaineers have raced back to cut the lead to 27-12.
12:48 - Gary Bell and the 'Zags are going ballistic. The sophomore has 10 and his team leads 34-12. This is not the engaging start we were all hoping for.
12:50 - This is my first non-hungover Mountain Dew since '98.
1:00 - One hour down, and it was much more of a chore than I was anticipating. If I'd picked West Virginia, I'd probably be wrapping this up. And by this, I mean the Sweet Tart Gummies. They're delicious and I wouldn't deserve them.
1:03 - It's 45-18 Gonzaga at the break. This is exactly what Hawaii and Houston baptist didn't want to happen.
1:08 - So to go back to that earlier stat, West Virginia's last three halves of basketball have now consisted of them being beaten by Gonzaga, 122-72.
1:17 - Seth Greenberg is now giving mock pregame and halftime pep talks. They're making me seriously consider quitting the marathon already, so yeah, pretty effective.
1:27 - A much better start for West Virginia, by which I mean they've made two shots in three minutes. It's Gonzaga, 48-28 with 17 minutes to go. Gary Bell has hit 3-of-5 treys and leads all scorers with 13 points. Pangos has 11, but is now on the bench after picking up his third foul.
1:39 - West Virginia lost by 23 to Gonzaga in the tournament last year, so let's bet on whether or not they can beat that tonight. They currently trail 57-32. I'm saying they don't. Please take a side. I need friends.
1:50 - We've hit the "everyone's posing open-ended questions on Twitter" portion of the marathon about four hours ahead of schedule. Gonzaga leads 58-34 with a little over 10 minute to play.
1:56 - I love how ESPN has "Live" in the top right corner for the duration of the first half of the marathon. Some poor bastard spent the first hour and-a-half of this one thinking he was casually watching a replay, then he notice the "Live" script and got VERY serious.
2:01 - I suppose it should be expected from a team with this many transfers playing its first game, but West Virginia has zero chemistry right now. No one has any bounce, guys are taking challenged shots when they have open teammates right next to them; it's all the stuff you don't expect to see from a Huggins-coached team. Gonzaga leads 66-37 with six and-a-half remaining.
2:20 - We come to a merciful end as Gonzaga embarrasses West Virginia, 84-50. Gary Bell led five 'Zags in double figures with 15 points.
Major takeaways: this could very well end up being Gonzaga's best shot at a Final Four since Adam Morrison graduated, West Virginia has got to gel before Big 12 play starts or this season is going to get away from them.
Items consumed: one Mountain Dew and a couple handfuls of Sweet Tart Gummies.
Predictions record: 1-0.
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