College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon: Saint Mary's vs. Northern Iowa

2:07 – We’re into hour three and game two as a pair of the biggest names in mid-major basketball take the floor inside McKeon Pavilion. This is one you’d almost expect to see in February as a BracketBusters headliner. Both teams are very capable of competing for an at-large bid, so it’s not a stretch to say that there could be a considerable amount on the line here.

I’ll take the Gaels by seven here to try and run my record to an insanely impressive 2-0.

2:24 - Saint Mary's runs out to a 7-0 start, but Northern Iowa answers right back with a 7-0 run of their own. At the under 10 it's 9-9. In a battle of conflicting styles, UNI is getting their way right now with a low scoring game.

2:31 - The Gaels' Mitchell Young may have put on considerable weight in the offseason, but more important is the tremendous porn stache he added. Thing's special. Saint Mary's up 12-11 with 7:29 to go in the first half of a game that's actually been far more intense and enjoyable than the score would indicate.

2:34 - In the sportsmanship commercial where the kid admits that he touched the ball last before it went out-of-bounds, would it matter if he actually came clean to the officials after the timeout. I mean, am I wrong in thinking the ref would just say, "no you didn't" and the game would move on? Bad call, Alex.

2:38 - Matthew "open whenever he crosses midcourt" Dellavedova (Awful nickname. End bullying, you guys.) finally on the board with a three-pointer and then follows that up with a great pass for a dunk. Saint Mary's has EXPLODED for seven straight points to make this a 19-11 game.

2:43 - ESPN is now letting viewers know when teams are in the bonus on its in-game scoreboard. That's fine, it's a nice feature, but I can already tell I'm going to have to hear about it from every announcer during every game for at least the next month and-a-half. If viewers can't put two and two together when the word "BONUS" pops up underneath one of the teams, then maybe they should be watching something else. Like The Polar Express, because they're probably the type of person who celebrates Christmas in mid-November and then "is just ready for all this to be over" by Dec. 10. Where did we start here?

By the way, Northern Iowa has 11 points with under three minutes to go in the half.

2:49 - Saint Mary's has UNI doubled up right now at 26-13. It's now every bit as non-intense and non-enjoyable as the score would indicate. Also, the SMC student section is good, but they're no Gonzaga. That's a call to action, boys and girls.

2:52 - Northern Iowa misses a clean bunny at the buzzer and Saint Mary's ends the half on a 19-4 run to go into the locker room up 26-13. UNI scored just four points in the half's final ten minutes. And they scored just nine points in the ten minutes before that. It's really not that much better.

3:15 - It's more of the same in the opening two minutes of the second half as Saint Mary's extends its lead to 32-15. The sad thing is the effort is absolutely there for Northern Iowa, they're just not getting anything accomplished on the offensive end.

3:27 - Northern Iowa is letting its offensive frustrations carryover to the other end of the floor. It's Saint Mary's 40-21, and there's little chance of the Panthers pulling a Washington State here. Twitter has gone dead, I haven't received an email in over an hour...I'm all alone.

3:31 - It's 48-21 at the under 12 and I can't stop coughing. A pair of disappointing developments.

3:45 - 51-31 Saint Mary's with 4:30 to go. Also, Panda swag.

3:59 - Saint Mary's moves to 3-0 all-time in the tip-off classic with a 57-41 win over Northern Iowa, and it wasn't that exciting. UNI will see better days, and this will end up being a good win for the Gaels.

Game Rating: 2.5

The 0.5 was only added because I fear that worse may lie ahead. This was not fun.

Prediction Result: 2-0

This run will not be stopped.

Consumption: 1 bottled water, 2 cough drops

2 a.m. meal of champions.

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