Who needs sleep when college basketball is on? Lots and lots and lots of it…
Tonight marks the beginning of the 24-hour college basketball marathon on the ESPN networks (as well as FOX Sports) to unofficially kick off the season, and for the third season running, we’re going to absolute wreck our body clocks for the next week to dissect everything we see on the hardwood over the next 24 hours or so. Because if you’re not looking forward to when Hawai’i plays its game at 4 AM Eastern Time, then you’re not a true fan!
Along with our running commentary, please join the fun (or insanity) by adding your thoughts and commentary to the blog. There’s nothing like inclusion to make sure that you know you’re not the only one up in the early morning watching Green Bay and East Tennessee State and thinks you’re a swell person for doing so!
Let’s have some fun earning some serious sleep deprivation!!
2:16 AM EST:Doesn’t it always seem that BYU is the team that’s perpetually on the bubble? Always somewhere 20-23 wins, an RPI of somewhere between 48-65 and having to sweat out Selection Sunday every year? Well, at least that seems like it’s the case post Jimmer. Didn’t BYU earn a #3 seed in the NCAAs with Jimmer Fredette and make a Sweet 16? Those days seem long ago. Oh, and BYU is down 27-17, with Collinsworth finally getting on the board tonight.
1:55 AM EST:Kyle Collinsworth definitely will be a professional ball player after his BYU career. NBA player? Not sure, but he reminds me of the point guards you see in Europe, who use the pick and roll very well to probe defenses.
1:48 AM EST:Now it’s the triple-double king, Kyle Collinsworth, on display as BYU takes on Long Beach State. Good to see Brad Daugherty doing commentary on basketball after all those years talking NASCAR.
1:37 AM EST:Waller-Prince hits an under-pressure three to cute Oregon lead to 70-67 w/13 seconds to go. And I’m hearing Oregon band playing the Stone Cold Steve Austin theme song. Love it!
1:32 AM EST:There’s the Cook-to-Boucher combo that I was talking about! Again, Boucher is a star in the making. JuCo player of the year last season will be a household name out West by January, maybe across the country by March. Oregon up 68-62 with 40.7 seconds left..
1:20 AM EST: Al Freeman hits another three, and the Bears deficit is only five. Wouldn’t be surprised if Freeman doubled his scoring from last season (4.8). Shoot, he could triple that this season.
1:17 AM EST: Here come the Bears. From down 63-49, Bears are starting to hit perimeter shots. 64-56 Oregon w/4:33 left. Oregon has to fund Cook or Boucher these next few possessions.
1:02 AM EST: It’s amazing to think that Taurean Waller-Prince, one of the best players in the Big 12, could have been playing in my backyard. Originally signed NLI with LIU-Brooklyn, then backed out after head coach Jim Ferry left to do to Duquesne. Speaking of Ferry, our Amy Kovalchick talked with him (Ferry) at A-10 Media Day, and we’ll probably put that interview up soon. Oregon up by seven in the second half, 54-47.
12:24 AM EST: We’re into the AM portion of the blog, and Oregon is starting to stretch it out. 35-24 Ducks at the break. Always love seeing Oregon play, especially with their uptempo, pressing style. Oh, and Chris Boucher, the 6’10” 190-pound jumping jack out of Montréal via the Caribbean, might be the next best thing out West!
11:56 PM EST: Yes, almost all of the games we’re talking about are on the men’s side, but how many congratulations to the North Texas Mean Green women’s basketball team, who just beat Sheri Coale’s No. 17 Oklahoma Sooners at the Lloyd Noble Center! Always a pleasure to see who’s making noise in the women’s game, and the Mean Green definitely did so just now in the Sooner State!
11:49 PM EST: The last time A Lot of Sports Talk saw Baylor, they were getting victimized by Georgia State in the NCAA Tournament! Remember? We do!
11:47 PM EST: Off to Eugene and the first game of the season between ranked opponents: No. 20 Baylor and No. 25 Oregon. Also, Syracuse broadcaster alert, as grad school graduate Dave Flemming handles the PxP with Corey Williams. Fast-paced Ducks versus the Bears and their version of the long, Syracuse-like 2-3 zone.
11:43 PM EST: Kell makes first, misses second and three free throws, and Utes are a FT away from a win…and just got it. Utes are 20-22 from foul line in second half. Utah wins, 81-76. Remember, this game was 53-49 last year (for SDSU).
11:41 PM EST: Wow, Utah avoided a 10-second backcourt violation by about a half a second. Utah up 4…and now a foul on a three-point attempt by Utah? Oh, dear! Trey Kell shooting three for the Aztecs, with 8.1 left.
11:34 PM EST: It’s raining threes from San Diego State. Can they pull this comeback off? 75-73 Utah, with 33.6 seconds left.
11:15 PM EST: The bottom line also alerted me that the Texans are up 10-6 on the undefeated Bengals with three minutes left. Just when I thought I could put the “Andy Dalton can’t do well in primetime or playoff games” mess to bed. Looks like some football watching for a few.
11:24 PM EST: And the Texans have held on and won the game…at least after a review confirms a catch and fumble by A.J. Green. My word. That sound you hear is all of the people jumping off the Bengals bandwagon.
11:12 PM EST: Just saw on the bottom line that the Sixers lost again. As the guys on “Inside the NBA” might say, “Allen Iverson is rolling over in his grave.”
11:06 PM EST: Man, the broadcasters are slamming Malik Pope. But, man, he’s coming back from injury and wasn’t asked to do so much last season. I know he’s a big-time recruit last year, but I doubt he’s thinking about the scouts that are at the game in Salt Lake City and changing his style of play as a result.
11:02 PM EST: My word, Jordan Loveridge has a stroke! Another three, and Utah has a two-point lead halfway through the second half.
10:57 PM EST: Coming back from Chinese food run, and I see Jakob Poeltl on the bench, with a double-double but also in foul trouble with three fouls. Have to get him back in ASAP and trust him that he’ll not get his fourth.
9:55 PM EST: Few thoughts before food run. There’s pretty much more points in this game than all of the game last year. (53-49 SDSU, was 18-17 Utah at half. What an ugly game that was.) It’s 18-14 SDSU so far. Also, the Texans-Bengals game is a snooze fest, so I’m not missing much there. If you don’t believe me, let me tell you the halftime score: 6-3 Bengals. Cincinnati is undefeated, right??
9:50 PM EST: Debating whether to make a late Chinese food run or not. Oh, and where’s Bill Walton? Walton and Pasch were made for each other!
9:37 PM EST: Off to Salt Lake City for the Aztecs and Utes, probably two of the four best teams on the West Coast. Oh, and another Syracuse broadcaster alert. Dave Pasch doing the PxP. Have to disagree with him, though, when he said GW beating Virginia was a huge upset. Upset? Yes. Huge? Well, if you’re an A-10 follower like me, then you know GW is darn good.
9:36 PM EST: Is that out first court storming? George Washington defeats No. 6 Virginia, 73-68. Now, a snack break…as well as San Diego State vs. Utah.
9:32 PM EST: GW with a 72-68 lead, 2.9 seconds left. It’s November (or is it Movember), but GW can think about March if they hold on.
9:30 PM EST: Those last 40 seconds could be described as madcap, huh?!?! Looks like GW is going to hold on after two missed Virginia threes with a jump ball and GW turnover sandwiched in.
9:24 PM EST: LSU has gotten underway against Kennesaw State on ESPNU, but Ben Simmons will have to wait. UVA is definitely going to make this interesting in the final two and a half minutes. Brodgdon now with a not-so-quiet 26 points. 68-64 GW.
9:22 PM EST: A technical foul for having six players on the floor? When does that ever happen these days?!?!
9:17 PM EST: YUTA!!
9:14 PM EST: 10-0 run by the Colonials ended by a Malcolm Brogdon layup. Made free throw after being fouled. His nickname is “Uncle Malcolm,” because of his maturity beyond his years in terms of his demeanor, voice, etc. Honestly, that nickname, while well-meaning, makes me uncomfortable.
9:07 PM EST: AND WHAT A TIP-IN BY GARINO! It’s 59-55 at the under-8 timeout. Fourteen points in the second half for the Argentinian. Oh, and Jason…not the best pun with the “nothing to cry for in Argentina” line. As Mark Jackson would say, “You’re better than that!”
9:05 PM EST: See saw alert! Virginia takes lead at 55-54, only for Patricio Garino to get an and-1. 57-55. Garino, as well as one of the team’s best scorers, can defend his a** off!
9:00 PM EST: Saddest part about watching the UVA-GW game right now is that I was thisclose to getting a credential for the game and being there RIGHT NOW! Dumb Virginia press came in droves and bumped me off. Boo!
8:54 PM EST: So much is made of Virginia’s Pack Line defense, but GW’s 1-3-1 zone is lethal, and can take any team’s offense out of what it wants to do. Was so influential in the Colonials’ run to the NCAAs in 2014. Get a win tonight, and can start thinking NCAA Tournament in 2016. GW up four, midway through the second half.
8:46 PM EST: Back to D.C., and this Virginia-George Washington is getting good! Tied at 42, a couple of back-to-back threes on either end, and the crowd sounds nuts at the Charles E. Smith Center. Main reason for that, along with a good game going on, is that, according to coach Lonergan, wealthy Virginia fans bought GW season tickets just so they could attend tonight’s game. Remind me never to do that, assuming I ever get that rich to buy season tickets just to head to one game. Deal?
8:31 PM EST: Here’s our interview with the head coach of Seton Hall women’s team, Seton Hall alum Tony Bozzella. He’s done a great job rebuilding the program, and has done it with the quickness! Very energetic person. Oh, and get off my back for the lack of lighting. It was dark where our setup was!!!
8:29 PM EST: Speaking of Big East women’s basketball, the overriding theme with the players and coaches at Big East Media Day was that the league is still looking for respect nationally. Only two teams made it to the NCAAs last season, and both teams (DePaul, Seton Hall) were No. 9 seeds. I’m a big fan of Villanova and Creighton, so I see the number of bids being doubled for 2016.
8:26 PM EST: Just got over to Fox Sports 2 to see the Pirates finish a 25-9 run and end the third quarter with a 20-point lead over the Scarlet Knights. Yes, I said “quarter.” One of the new rules adjustments is that the women’s game is now a four-quarter game, not two halves. Player to watch for in this game, for sure, is Tabitha Richardson-Smith, one of the best players in the Big East.
8:24 PM EST: Oh, there’s Monday Night Football on as well. Guess I’ll have to peek in sooner or later at the Texans and Bengals. We all saw the Bengals at 8-0 by this time of the season, right?.
8:22 PM EST: Colonials have 35-32 lead at halftime. Oh, and we have our first “broadcaster who went to Syracuse” alert, as Jason Benetti is on the call with Jim Calhoun. They make a pretty good pairing, and Calhoun is definitely not shy to talk about some basketball. If you can stand the thick Boston accent, then he’s a great listen.
8:16 PM EST: For now, we’re enjoying No. 6 Virginia on the road against a George Washington team looking to make it back to the NCAAs, like they did in 2014. GW with a five-point lead, and the Colonials are an easy team to root for. So many international players, and one of them, big man Kevin Larsen of Denmark, is having a serious impact. Although only with two points, he has six rebounds and four assists. Talked with head coach Mike Lonergan a couple of times, and he really challenges Larsen to be the best big man in the A-10. Good start to this season against the No. 6 Cavs.
8:12 PM EST: There’s more women’s basketball on FS2, with Rutgers and Seton Hall, a Garden State matchup that also was a matchup in last season’s NCAA Tournament, with the Scarlet Knights beating the upstart Pirates. Interview with SHU head coach Tony Bozzella is upcoming…
7:50 PM EST: We got a late start to the blogging as New York City traffic on the subways always is good for some delays. Shoutout to the UConn women’s team, who started the marathon with an absolute beatdown of No. 7 Ohio State, 100-56, in Columbus. Let the talk about whether the Huskies’ domination of women’s basketball is a good or bad thing for women’s basketball. Can’t we all just appreciate them for what they are? The greatest college basketball dynasty since John Wooden was on the sidelines?
[Cover photo (Jake Layman) courtesy of Kirk Irwin/Getty Images]