Sunday, March 22, 2009


Ball State 71, Tennessee 55.

A 12 seed upsetting a 5 seed isn't that unusual, but in 28 years of the women's NCAA tournament, Tennessee had never lost a first (or second) round game, & won those games by an average of over 20 points. & the Vols, though having an off year, were still loaded with high school All-American freshmen & coached by Pat Summit & her sideline brain trust, & they are the defending champions. So here come Ball State, a mid-major playing in their first tournament, with a first year coach who hadn't even recruited the players. It didn't take long for Ball State to realize they could run with the Vols, who played like an inexperienced team. When the Vols' best player went out with a knee injury before halftime, Ball State knew they could win. They came out in the second half & kept playing a patient game, establishing themselves as the superior team, hitting beautiful three pointers & forcing turnovers. At last, even Summit knew it was hopeless, stopped yelling & sat down. It was a marvelous game to watch. The heavily partisan Vols crowd was stunned. They're like Yankees fans.

14 seed Liberty U never had a chance against Louisville. Four years ago, Liberty recruited tall triplets Megan, Molly, & Moriah Frazee. Only Megan played tonight. Liberty dominates Big South, but is handicapped at taking the program to the next level when only born again girls would want to play there, & the best ones would get equally strict, Baptist discipline from C. Vivian Stringer at sinfully secular Rutgers.

How come CBS, with TV rights to all the men's games, doesn't get the NCAA to stagger the start times farther apart? Basketball is a game of flow & momentum, which why double digit leads are quickly erased. It was insane when CBS tried to cover the finishes of three games at once this afternoon. The game to stick with was 9 seed Siena versus overall 1 seed Louisville. Louisville had pulled slightly ahead in the final minutes but is a poor free throw team, so Siena's end game strategy could pay off in a win or tie. CBS kept switching games so fast that the announcers didn't know when they were on the national broadcast, & as a viewer, I could hardly keep track of what I was watching.


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