Ok, so yeah, the Marathon is officially underway according to ESPN with 6pm Central starts for the Stanford-Connecticut women's game and the Kent State-Temple game. I'm currently at the Marquette women's game against Arkansas-Pine Bluff, so the official live blogging will start when I get home from that.
But yes. I'm going to attempt to watch the ENTIRE marathon after that minus a brief break to escort my offspring to school in the morning, attend conferences in the afternoon, and then attend the Marquette-Grambling game tomorrow night.
This is either going to be incredibly fun, incredibly stupid, or both.
Here's the official lineup, in case you want to play along at home, with all times Central:
6pm: Stanford at Connecticut (women's), ESPN2
6pm: Kent State at Temple, ESPNU
8pm: #4 Tennessee at #12 North Carolina, ESPN2 (women's)
8pm: Colorado State at #15 Gonzaga, ESPNU
10pm: BYU at Stanford, ESPN2 12am: Western Kentucky at #16 Wichita State, ESPN2 2am: Akron at St. Mary's, ESPN2
4am: New Mexico State at Hawaii, ESPN2
6am: Hartford at Florida Gulf Coast, ESPN2 8am: Quinnipaic at La Salle, ESPN2 10am: LSU at UMass, ESPN2 12pm: West Virginia at Virginia Tech, ESPN 2pm: South Carolina at #23 Baylor, ESPN
4pm: NC State at Cincinnati, ESPN
6pm: #14 VCU at Virginia, ESPN2
6:30pm: #2 Michigan State vs #1 Kentucky, ESPN
8pm: #11 Florida at #20 Wisconsin, ESPN2
8:30pm: #5 Kansas vs #4 Duke, ESPN
* * * *
6:30pm: I said I was going to the MU women's game! Maybe I can update from there, though...
9:30pm: aaaand back from Marquette's 52 points pounding of Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Let's see here... UT is up 19 on UNC with 15 to play, and Gonzaga is up 34 of Colorado State with 12 to play. Awkward.
9:33pm: Eight threes for Gary Bell? Daaaaamn.
9:34pm: UNC-UT just had an exchange that made me feel better about Marquette WBB's struggles with turnovers.
9:46pm: I see that the accessory trend that's popular on the men's side of things is also huge with UNC & UT.
9:58pm: UNC's back within 13, but there's 4:40 left.
10:01pm: The ESPN2 ticker tells me that former Cincinnati Bearcat Lance Stephenson put up a triple-double tonight for the Pacers. Hey, good for him.
10:13pm: And on to BYU-Stanford. I missed the very start of the game. Is that Seth Greenberg?
10:17pm: Yep, Seth. And he makes an NCAA tournament bubble joke. That man is dead inside.
10:54pm: Seth talks about how BYU head coach Dave Rice has to manage his scholarships due to the number of players going back and forth from Mormon missions. "He's working with a salary cap!" I don't think Seth knows what a salary cap is. In basketball news, it looked like BYU was about to put my "hey, if it's out of control, take a nap" rule into play, but Stanford won't let them get more than 10 points away from them.
11:19pm: Seth starts spending the money of the Google guys who got their masters degree at Stanford, calling for them to get a practice facility built for basketball. It's an arena with seats in the low seven thousands. Do they really need a whole new building just for practicing?
11:38pm: This is a hell of a performance by BYU. Stanford keeps cutting it to 7 or 8, and then BYU pushes it right back to 10 or 12. And now it's all the way up to 17 via a 9-0 BYU run. 11 minutes left, so there's a lot of time for the Cardinal to figure something out here, but with Tyler Haws and Matt Carlino going, it's not going to be easy.
11:51pm: Stanford's John Gage runs in and turns into Pushy McShovesALot because of what amounted to some incidental contact on an Eric Mika layup that was challenged by Chasson Randle. I'm amazed that he wasn't issued anything at all after the referees went to the monitor to review the whole thing. Especially because BYU is starting to pull away, now up 19 with five minutes to play.
12:06am: BOOM, BYU breaks the 100 point barrier on a pair of free throws with just over three minutes left in the game. It's probably a pretty safe bet that whatever point total BYU ends with, it's going to be likely untouchable by any other team that's going to appear in this Marathon.
12:20am: FINALLY BYU finishes with the nine point win. Man, that game just wouldn't end. Onward to Western Kentucky at #16 Wichita State!
12:31am: A solid point by the announcing crew, as they point out that I share a time zone with Wichita State, and their building is a bunch of crazed maniacs for a midnight tipoff.
12:46am: OLD LADY SHOCKER FANS SPLITTING A ROCKSTAR PURE ZERO ENERGY DRINK! Oh, man, that was fantastic. Even the one lady's "BLEGH, what is that?" face was great.
1:09am: ESPN's aware that people are actually watching these games, right? They understand that they've created a scenario where people will intentionally watch game after game, right? Taking that into account, why am I watching the exact same halftime report that I saw during the intermission of the BYU-Stanford game?
1:21am: Things are exploding in Wichita as the Shockers go up 11. WKU calls timeout and I take advantage of the free time to look up how to spell the name of Wichita's point guard. It's Fred Van Vleet, but I keep hearing the announcing crew saying "Fred Van Bleep," which is infinitely funnier.
1:50am: I really don't think ESPN needs to be running that Corona holiday ad with the lights on the palm tree this early in November. And did they just try to encourage me to watch Sunday NFL Countdown with the logic of "You get to hear what Keyshawn Johnson has to say about the topics of the day?" NO THANK YOU.
2:21am: I get that it's a midnight start in California. But for a program that's been as successful as St. Mary's in recent years, this building is VERY empty.
2:27am: After 10 minutes, it's SMC 15, Akron 13. This extrapolates to 60-52. No thank you. I'm voluntarily going to get some sleep before this game knocks me out instead. We'll check back in around halftime of New Mexico State/Hawaii, although I was kind of looking forward to Sim Bhullar.
7:01am: Well, not so much on the check in, huh? Here's what happened: 5am, alarm goes off. I wake up, snag my phone, open up the Watch ESPN app to see what the score of New Mexico State/Hawaii game is. I get a "confirm your internet service provider" prompt, which apparently made my brain say "SUCK IT, ESPN" and the next thing I know, my usual morning alarm is going off just a few minutes ago. So, I grab the iPad, fire up the Hartford-FGCU game stream..... AND IT'S THE SAME DAMN HALFTIME PACKAGE I WATCHED AT 1AM. Honestly, ESPN. If you're making a big deal about all of this live basketball in the middle of the night, why are you running the same pre-recorded halftime bit for each one? We can't get a D level studio host and two C level analysts to stay up all night? I'm not saying they have to be doing halftmes for every game all day Tuesday, but if you're encouraging people to stay up all night watching hoops, the least you could do is have some studio employees staying up with them.
7:08am: Anyway. Time to watch Jamail Jones and FGCU, and they're up 1 on Hartford right now. Jamail's wearing #5 out there and he's got 6 points.
7:27am: Chase Fieler has a career high 26 for FGCU, and there's still 10 and a half minutes left! Why couldn't this game have been on at 2 am!
7:35am: Let's see what I missed. Saint Mary's ended up beating Akron 85-63, so thanks for showing up after halftime, jackasses. New Mexico State beat Hawaii 95-88, which sounds like it could have been piles of fun. 7'5" Sim Bhullar had 15 points and 10 rebounds in 30 minutes, which doesn't sound super exciting given his size.
8:11am: FGCU comes away with the win, Fieler finishes with 30, and MY GUY! Jamail Jones had eight points. On we move to Quinnipiac and La Salle, so it's time for some Southwest Philly Floater action! Where's Tyrone Garland?
8:43am: I'm at my computer desk, working on some posts for later today and watching La Salle-Quinnipiac via WatchESPN on my iPad. I'm starting to suspect that WatchESPN knows I have an iPad and insists on showing me this "teacher who likes Microsoft Surface 2" ad as many times as physically possible.
8:55am: OH COME ON, ESPN. IT'S 9:55 AM IN BRISTOL, WHY AM I WATCHING A HALFTIME REPORT THAT WAS RECORDED 12 HOURS AGO.
9:00am: As I make myself some coffee in my Daniel Bryan mug using my Keurig machine, I'm struck by a revelation: Wide Awake Coffee makes a big deal about not having the plastic outsides on the little K-cups, instead just the mesh bottom to keep the grounds in. This allows the cups to be used by multiple brands of individual coffee makers as the packaging tells me, but it also requires putting all of the cups in a little plastic back that has a sticky tape on it so I can reseal it to keep the coffee fresh. So, you eliminated the plastic part of the cup, but you have to manufacture the bags to put the cups in and the tape to keep it closed? Are we really saving packaging at this point?
9:30am: Quinnipiac ain't going away. Just took a 50-49 lead, and now there's 10:34 to play. COME ON SOUTHWEST PHILLY FLOATER.
9:46am: OH MAN, IT'S OUR FIRST CLOSE LATE GAME!
9:47am: YES! Three straight airings of the Teacher Microsoft Surface ad! That's all I saw for that entire commercial break! I'm almost to the point of liking chalk and erasers myself at this point.
9:58am: "Unable to play video: EXPIRED" I'll tell you when my interest in this game expires, WatchESPN! It's definitely not going to be with 72 seconds left in a five point game!
10:16am: Aw, phooey. La Salle made their free throws and iced the game. The PBP guy for the LSU-UMass game keeps threatening the presence of Jeff Goodman. I hope I don't have to be signed up for Insider to be able to hear him talk during the broadcast.
10:41am: OH MY GOODNESS PUTBACK DUNK BY UMASS
11:04am: The discussion of fouls in the LSU-UMass game reminded me that I wanted to look at foul numbers in the Marathon games. Research in progress....
11:32am: So, here's the story: 41.9 fouls per game, 20.9 fouls per team. That's averaging out to everyone hitting the double bonus in both halves. That's really not that high, when you think about it. Now, we're already up to 36 fouls in this game, which *IS* a lot, considering that there's over 14 minutes left.
11:56am: Noted awesome guy Chaz Williams heads to the bench with his fourth foul with over 5 and a half to play. LSU has their own problems on the foul end of things, but Williams is the straw that stirs the drink for UMass.
12:20pm: I admit I dove into a soccer wormhole for a moment there and missed what appears to have been a great ending to the LSU-UMass game. And now we switch to ESPN, and I have to watch a basketball game on a court with volleyball lines taped on it. This is worse than watching volleyball on a basketball court.
12:34pm: Virginia Tech is down 15 less than 14 minutes into this game. You are fired, guy who replaced Seth Greenberg. At the absolute least, you are supposed to be causing Bob Huggins to be yelling at his players.
12:41pm: There is a giant industrial fan in the rafters of Virginia Tech's basketball arena slowly spinning around. Is this actually a livestock barn when they're not playing basketball or volleyball? And I think I'm listening to Bruce Pearl call this game.
12:55pm: I put some egg rolls in the oven. Is this a game yet? 41-33! HEY GO HOKIES! LET'S SEE SOME SCREAMIN' HUGGY BEAR!
12:56pm: Woah, Montrezl Harrell was supposed to go to Virginia Tech? He was released from his letter of intent after Seth Greenberg got fired? Nice job, Seth. BUZZER BEATER FOR THE HOKIES! 12-1 run to close the half! Huggy's gonna be doing some screaming in the locker room! It's only a five point game now!
1:21pm: Hokies are ROLLING here. Adam Smith (presumably NOT the famous economist) hit a three to tie it at 41, and now they're up 44-41.
1:31pm: VaTech was up 10 for a moment there. WVU is choking this away worse than Kevin Jones choked away his chances at Big East Player of the Year. (h/t MrsB)
1:43pm: Nice random (presumeably) live wide shot of Baylor's court, ESPN.
2:05pm: And WVU comes back to take the lead. Under 4:30 to play as VaTech hits two free throws to go back up by 1. Come on, Hokies, make Casual Huggy Bear shout!
2:08pm: Scooby-Doo trying to sell me State Farm insurance >>>> Aaron Rodgers trying to sell me State Farm insurance
2:19pm: As time runs out for the Mountaineers, I have to go on intermission to acquire people who insist that they can not walk home 4 miles from school.
5:17pm: Woah, that got out of control quickly. Back at home briefly before heading out to the Marquette-Grambling game. I see that the Baylor game ended in whacky fashion. Cincy & NC State are in a tightly contested game right now. This will be the last update until after the MU game, so see you on the far side of things!
9:02pm: HA HA HA EAT IT, DEPAUL.
9:02pm: None of you actually bought one of those 40-0 Kentucky Tshirts, did you?
9:12pm: The hell, Florida? I thought more of you.
9:23pm: Wisconsin's up TEN? The Kohl Center's a fortress, sure, but it's not magical or something.
10:10pm: We make fun of Bo Ryan a lot for being an ageless vampire who survives by sucking the life out of college basketall around here, but Billy Donovan's got a hell of an Eddie Munster widow's peak going on.
10:37pm: Hey, remember when Jabari Parker attended Marquette Madness and we all had to remind ourselves that he was only there to support Steve Taylor?
10:48pm: Ok, I'm checking out of the live blog to actually watch the rest of this Kansas-Duke game. It's been fun! G'night!