College hoops tip-off marathon: No. 19 Gonzaga vs. West Virginia

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.

Screen_shot_2012-11-13_at_12

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.

Tipoff_medium

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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