By Ryan Divish
I'll admit it. I had no idea for a column for today. Nothing. My mind was blanker than the look emanating from Jessica Simpson's eyes during a spelling contest.
So I decided to keep a running diary of tonight's NCAA basketball games on TV. The first game, Pitt vs. Oklahoma State, was supposed to be the marquis game of the round of 16 while the St. Joe's-Wake Forest game was filled with intrigue because of the spat between Wake Forest alum and CBS analyst Billy Packer and St. Joe's head coach Phil Martelli.
For anyone not familiar, Packer said in his typical condescending, know-it-all, I'm the smartest man in the room way that St. Joe's didn't deserve a No. 1 seed. Martelli in turned called Packer the type of animal that Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh is, and I don't mean a donkey.
Since this was Packer calling the game between his old school and his new enemies, surely there would be something to write about.
With my roommates in Atlanta and Las Vegas respectively, I wasn't in the greatest of moods. All right, I was pouting for being stuck in Havre. Anyway here's my recap of my exciting, fun-filled night.
6:15 - Awake from a nap in my chair. I started watching the Pitt-Oklahoma State game. I appreciate good defense as much as anyone, but that game was about as entertaining as one wrestler. I closed my eyes and listened to the play-by-play, telling myself I'll open them when there was back-to-back jumpshots made. Hence, my hour long nap.
7:07 - Click over to see what "Friends" episode has been chosen in the viewers choice poll because, unless it's an ad for Victoria's Secret, I usually don't watch commercials. Anyway it's the one where Joey wants Ross to drink a glass of fat. I could tell a very long story about myself, a shot glass of chew spit and a $50 bet, but since most people get their paper right before dinner, I won't.
7:17 - There is a jump ball on the floor. Why do they continue to use the alternating possession in college? It takes away the reward of a good defensive play and the penalty for a bad offensive play. They should jump it up like the rules call for. Despite wearing their pants under their armpits and two sizes too small, most college referees can execute a jump ball toss.
7:20 - There is an old children's rhyme that could describe this game very well. It goes, "Mickey Mouse built a house. How many bricks can two teams shoot?"
7:36 - Game over. OSU 63, Pitt 51. The last few minutes were almost as painful as the Mountain Dew commercial featuring Steven Seagal that ran after the game. He has to have the worst dye job I've ever seen and, to put it nicely, he hasn't aged very well. Does anyone believe he could actually beat someone up?
7:39 - CBS switches to the Alabama-Syracuse game, since the other game won't start for 20 minutes. The first thing I notice is how pasty Syracuse guard Gerry McNamara is. Someone should tell him that sun is free, especially in Phoenix, where they are playing. I can't tell if he's wearing socks or not, and if he is, I can't tell where they end and his legs begin. He's so white he's transparent.
7:41 - Another commercial and a quick jump to E! to watch the Britney Spears special. They are currently showing her live in concert, which makes me wonder. "If you have a 12-year-old daughter would you take her to a Britney concert? Then again if you're old enough to have a 12-year-old child, you are just happy to be at a Britney concert.
7:42 - Back to the game. Syracuse has pretty cool uniforms. Game is kind of boring. Losing interest.
7:42 - Back to Britney for just a quick look. When they say a live performance from Britney is that an oxymoron? You'd think with all the technology they use to make her voice sound good on her CD's, they could do something to make her voice sound better live. Oh yeah, I forgot. It's called lip-syncing. Then again, does it really matter if she can sing?
8:02 - The much anticipated game is about to start. They show Martelli and Packer shaking hands in practice. Well, at least CBS isn't afraid to exploit the whole thing for a few more ratings points.
8:04 - Thirty seconds into the game, Jim Nantz talks about the matchup between St. Joe's point guard Jameer Nelson and Wake's Chris Paul. I am guessing he'll mention it about 3,489 times in the telecast.
8:17 - Nelson breaks Paul's ankles with a nasty crossover to the basket. Paul didn't literally break a bone in his ankle, it's just a little street slang that real ballers like myself use. I take that back. It's the slang that people who actually play basketball well use.
8:25 - Delonte West puts St. Joe's up with a tough bucket inside. West just seems to make big baskets. If the game is close at the end, it will be West, not Nelson, who will make the big shots to win the game.
8:37 - Packer just compares Nelson to former Syracuse guard Dwayne "Pearl" Washington. Pearl was an All-American for the Orangemen before being drafted by the New Jersey Nets with the sixth pick in the 1986 draft. Pearl was just the first in the list of stellar first-round picks for the Nets that included Dennis Hopson, Tate George, Rex Walters, Yinka Dare, Ed O'Bannon and Anthony Parker. Never heard of any of them? Don't feel bad. Neither has anyone else.
8:41 - Pat Carroll knocks down a three-pointer for St. Joe's to tie the game at 33-33 with three and half minutes left. That already equals the total number of halftime points in the previous game.
8:50 - CBS runs one of its 10,000 Masters commercials. How nice is it not hearing from Martha Burk this year? She has quietly disappeared like I predicted. I might not know who's going to win the tournament, but I know my feminist leaders.
8:58 - Halftime. CBS switches back to Syracuse-Alabama. Gerry McNamara hasn't gotten any darker since the game started. Most people that pasty at least turn red with physical exertion.
9:00 - Announcer Dick Enberg just got three players' names wrong. It's tough to tell who is being hit harder by senility, Packer or Enberg.
9:07 - Back to the St. Joe's-Wake game.
9:12 - St. Joe's already has six team fouls and Wake none. About three of those fouls could have easily been not called.
9:15 - Jamal Levy tips a ball in on an offensive rebound for Wake's first field goal of the second half at the 13:25 mark. The Deacons are still in the game because of the massive amount of fouls called on St. Joe's.
9:37 - Basketball players seem to have a lot of tattoos today. Nelson rivals Allen Iverson in total skin coverage, while West has an Oriental symbol on his neck. My tattoo on my leg was right up there with the worst pain I've ever experienced. Getting one on your neck has to be worse. If you just glance at it quickly, West's tattoo looks like a stylish hickey.
9:47 - St. Joe's hits back-to-back three-pointers after Wake went into a zone defense. You're going to play zone against an undersized team of terrific shooters and even better penetrators? Who's doing the strategy for Wake? George Armstrong Custer?
10:02 - Another Carroll three-pointer pushes the lead to 10 and looks likes it's all over.
10:07 - Wake is back in the game because of a couple of three-pointers and overall stupid play by St. Joe's.
10:08 - Up 82-80, Nelson makes a tough pass out of a double-team to West, who is immediately fouled. West calmly sinks two free throws to ice the game. Remember what I said earlier about West and big shots.
10:19 - Post game interview featuring Nantz, Packer and Martelli. Two quick observations: To put it nicely, Martelli might be the homeliest coach in America. Second, Packer has the sense of humor of either a high school principal or an IRS auditor.
10:20 - After some pleasantries, Packer and Martelli reluctantly shake hands after the interview. It's that same kind of handshake you give after getting caught fighting on the playground at recess.
10:27 - My roommate calls from Las Vegas and wants to know what the name of a fun club there he can go to. I think about it for a moment. And tell him, "Crazy Horse Too."
"Do they have dancing there?" he asks.
"Oh yeah," I say. "There's a ton of women dancing there."
"Good, my girlfriend wants to go to a place with dancing," he says. "Do you think she'll like it?"
"Definitely," I say with chuckle. "It will be different than any club she's ever been to."
I could tell him that Crazy Horse Too is one of the biggest gentlemen's club in Las Vegas. But what fun would that be? That'll teach him to go the greatest city on earth without me.
10:29 - There's an exciting night in my life. It was filled with channel flipping, basketball, Britney, 10 Diet Cokes and two bald men's argument. The sad part is that just because the game is over with doesn't mean I won't keep doing the same thing.
I really need to get a life. How long does it take to get to Las Vegas?