Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Cure for March Madness

Apparently it's losing.

Left for Buffalo last Wednesday. Did my Wednesday night radio show from the car, because I'm just that dedicated. And out of my mind, as I mentioned previously. Ain't technology great? Rolled on up through the wilds of central Pennsylvania in ever-thickening fog until I called it quits around midnight at DuBois, PA.

The next morning was one of those classic "good news, bad news" mornings.

Good news: I was out the door on time. Bad news: it was raining.

Good news: it stopped raining. Bad news: it started sleeting.

Good news: it stopped sleeting. Bad news: it started snowing.

In spite of all this, I eventually made my way into downtown Buffalo and reached the HSBC Center (sidebar: on the ride over, the media shuttle driver told us that HSBC really stands for "holy shit, Buffalo's cold!") moments before tip-off of the opening game, between Maryland and Davidson. Highlight of that game: hearing Davidson fans chanting, "Sweat, Gary, sweat!" Maryland head coach Gary Williams can sweat through a suit like no man I have ever seen. It's impressive.

Second game was ODU-Butler. There was a scramble to get seats, but thanks to the NCAA media coordinator on-site I was able to get set up. The Maryland student radio crew made room, and the VCU student radio crew helped out with the broadcast. We didn't have a great vantage point, unfortunately, and the show suffered for it, but hey: I was there. Highlight: I said in pregame that it would be a defensive struggle between two teams that were usually happy being first to 60 - and that today it might be a race to 50. I was right - unfortunately, it was Butler that won the race and the game, 57-46. Going on a 17-0 run and hitting four straight 3-pointers late in the second half will do that.

Third game was an instant classic between Duke and VCU. I'd seen VCU play four times this year and I'd picked them to beat Duke. VCU doesn't have much of an inside game, but their guards are much better; I predicted Duke would try to pound the ball inside and hope their guards didn't lose the game for them. That's pretty much what happened; Josh McRoberts scored 22 points and had 12 rebounds, while Greg Paulus scored 25 but also committed six turnovers, and VCU's Eric Maynor had eight assists to go with his 22 points, including the game-winning jumper with 1.8 seconds left. It was a tremendous ballgame, and I was had the best seat in the house: first row, center court. Media overflow seating. Life is good with a press pass.

Fourth game was a Pitt blowout of Wright State. I didn't mind; it was a relaxing end to a very long day. Went back to the hotel for one last round of "good news, bad news."

Good news: I was staying at the Hyatt-Regency. Bad news: I was sleeping on the floor.

Hey, some days you take what you can get.

Out west, the Lady Monarchs lost in the first round to Florida State, so ODU basketball is done for the year. I have a little more work to do, but our baseball coverage starts this weekend. For me, March Madness is over, but another season is beginning.

I love this job.


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