Monday, April 07, 2008

April Madness: Live Blogging the NCAA Championship game

8:14 - Okay, so I'm going to try my first live-blogging experience tonight with the Memphis-Kansas NCAA Championship game. Let's see how it goes.

9:19 - I like how they show the signatures for these players as they introduce them - I can use my skills in handwriting analysis to read the players...

9:21 - Mario Chalmers from Alaska? Didn't know that...maybe he played on the same court as Shane Battier...

9:25 - Anderson misses a three - Memphis is best when they're not taking threes, and are driving instead, like Roberts just did off the fast break.

9:26 - Both of these teams are great defensive teams but I think Kansas would certainly benefit more from a slow half court game.

9:27 - Arthur with a dunk - certainly not the last we'll see today I imagine.

9:28 - Memphis gave Robinson a two pointer from about the free throw line - it will be interested if Memphis keys on Rush and Chalmers like they did on Love and Collison in the UCLA game.

9:29 - Rose with the basket, and a shot at the old fashioned three point play - my money's on him as player of the tournament, but it'll of course rest in large part on how this game comes out.

9:31 - Memphis can't hit their threes yet - they don' they don't have to though - until Kansas can really stop Memphis from driving and getting easier shots, it's not an essential part of the Tigers' game.

9:33 - The music in this strange BK commercial sounds an awful lot like the opening music of the first Final Fantasy.

9:34 - First alley-oop to Kaun, Memphis best watch that back screen carefully.

936 - Memphis looks the worst when they take a lot of time, and particularly against zone, and junk defenses the likes of which teams have thrown against them time after time - the key for them is to take the ball inside without losing it, and just get past the defender enough to draw fouls.

9:37 - As Chris Douglas-Roberts (I would love to see an all hyphenated name team by the way) hits two free throws, it makes you think how remarkable the change has been in Memphis' free throw percentage over the year and in the tournament. I would love to hear a good explanation of how they did it, though at least part of it I believe is who are taking those free throws - in the tournament it's mostly been Rose and Douglas-Roberts.

9:41 - 2 fouls on Dozier - which definitely hurts Memphis, but they've been successful in the past with Dozier in foul trouble. They have enough big men to defend, or at least foul, and they can play a little zone with Dozier on the bench. Not to mention of course, the use of Joey Dorsey.

9:42 - I would probably give Dozier a rest with the two fouls so early, but it's probably not that important a call - the key is to prevent him from getting three in at least the next ten minutes of game time.

9:45 - I wonder what the longest time has gone by in a championship game without a three by either team. Maybe the announcers will tell us if it goes on for long enough.

9:45 - Announcers call Brandon Rush's rebound a "big-time" rebound - What makes that a big-time rebound as opposed to a regular rebound at the 10:57 mark in the first half?

9:46 - Douglas-Roberts did exactly what he needs to be doing - penetrate, draw a foul, we'll see if they go right back to him.

9:48 - The crowd seems to be very pro-Kansas - not surprising I suppose with Kansas far closer to San Antonio to Memphis, and also more of a national program, especially throughout the midwest. A huge slam by Dorsey either with Kansas taking a 5 point lead.

9:51 - Memphis doesn't need threes I don't think, but no one said they don't help - nothing feels like more of a blow than hitting a couple threes in the space of just a few seconds.

9:55 - I I really think Douglas-Roberts will get the better of Rush more times than not by the time this game ends, and that will by the difference.

9:58 - A terrible series for Kansas turns into a score with an offensive rebound.

9:59 - Needless three attempt for Anderson - a few feet back of the line with a man on him.

10:05 - Enough about the freshness of the big men - I don't think that's as big a factor as they say, but we'll see how that changes.

10:10 - I agree with the announers in not understanding the delay in taking a shot - if you're not going to take the last shot of the half, there's no reason to deprive yourself of precious time you could use to move around the ball, or cause a mismatch on the defense - Memphis has got to be attacking the basket.

10:11 - Tied at 28? Little miss up by the announcer. Anyway, with a five point lead for Kansas a ton of basketball left to play - I'll stick with my call that Memphis will win, but I'm wary. Memphis still certainly has a lot of firepower, and can score fast, but that doesn't mean they will.

10:34 - We're back and within a minute this game is tied.

10:36 - Arthur has been the star for Kansas, and continues. Will Dorsey/Dozier and co step up the interior D? Perhaps we'll see some double teams.

10:38 - Silly quick shot by Kansas from three - let to a great running opportunity for Memphis.

10:44 - Good move, bad shot by Memphis - but doing the right things driving, I suspect if they get more of those opportunities they'll score.

10:45 - Nothing more depressing than have four point blank opportunities and not getting any points, as Kansas did a couple of possessions back.

10:51 - Memphis needs to get more offensive rebounds. They're going to miss their share of shots, so they have to count on getting some put backs.

10:53 - Great defense on that possession by Memphis - swarming on the perimter - forcing a horrible, long three point attempt.

10:55 - Dozier's awful free throw shotting certainly not helping Memphis here.

11:05 - A stupid ticky-tack foul for Douglas-Roberts - he's going to the bench with 3 fouls - not too many for this point, but Memphis won't want to keep him out too long.

11:07 - Memphis is rolling here - there's a 50/50 chance (really going out on a limb here) that this roll could just lead them into double digits and effectively be the end of the game.

11:09 - Shot of the tournament - no - but most important shot of this game - maybe - still enough time, but it's drawing nearer.

11:16 - This goes without saying, but Kansas needs stops it's not getting. I'm going to say it's over, we'll see if it's premature.

11:18 - Well, here comes the Mississippi State game - Foul city - and now the game may come down to whether Memphis can hit its free throws. The key is getting the ball in to Rose and Douglas-Roberts.

11:21 - An absolutely stupid foul by Joey Dorsey. There is less than no reason and now he's out of the game. Memphis needs to keep the pressure on by scoring every time down the court and hitting free throws now.

11:24 - Wow, within 2 - this is a game after all. Missed free throws, or free throw could end up being the culprit. I was way wrong about even attempting to call that, Memphis has to at least try to get call.

11:26 - Memphis would have preferred to get that score rather than go to the line there, but at least it's CDR.

11:27 - Wow, story of Memphis's team all year, missing free throws, getting offensive rebounds.

11:30 - 3 point chance to try it - who takes it?

11:30 - Wow - missed free throws kill them, but still a chance. Mario Chalmers, incredible.

11:33 - I like this Time out by Calipari - straighten them out now. There isn't time to fuck around and see how they're going to come out.

11:36 - Chalmers to Arthur. Memphis must score here.

11:40 - Memphis is in Kansas's shoes from regulation. One possession to try to stop them before they have to foul.

11:41 - Chalmers just fired up one of those shots that makes you think - if he hits this it's over - also why is Rose taking a three there?

11:42 - That was a better three at least - totally open - but down 6 - they're in trouble. And yet, as seems to happen sometimes in these tight games, when he absolutely needs it, CDR gets the three.

11:44 - Like the announcers, I hate the foul there - if you're absolutely going to foul - you have to do it earlier in the possession, and really think about who you're fouling. Why waste your defensive effort? Teams rarely come back after they really start fouling to catch up.

11:46 - Well, I totally fucked this up making a premature prediction earlier - but now there's really not enough time left and Kansas hits free throws, it's over. I hope I'm wrong.

11:46 - Back to Memphis? You have to be kidding me - I still don't think there's enough time, but we'll see.

11:47 - Okay, it's really over. Tournament done, Congratulations Kansas.

11:49 - It ended the way many predicted it would for Memphis. They couldn't make their free throws when they had to. It's sad to see a game come down to that, but it did - credit to Kansas though, especially in the overtime.

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