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.