Tuesday, March 31, 2009

What's Next for Sports?

Five big TVs with five different games playing. Three of your favorite news reporters spread around the office. One Potbelly's sandwich in front of you.

This is my dream job, and how I spent some of the best nights of my summer. Last summer, I interned for WXYZ-TV in their sports department and had the time of my life. And while most nights were spent logging game footage with five sports games on at a time, this job taught me a lot. It combined my love for journalism and my love for sports in what was any man's dream job. I was paid (with college credit) to ask questions to some of Detroit's greatest athletes. I got to walk a golf course with John Daly and Kid Rock. I was in Jim Leyland's office after Tiger games, as he took questions with his trademark stare, cigarette still smoldering in front of him. It was unbelievable, and solidified my drive to make it as a reporter.

There is just one problem: I am a trying to make it in a dying business.

Last week, Booth Newspapers announced major closings/restructuring of many papers in Michigan. The Ann Arbor News will be going to an all digital format. Even Bill Simmons is taking time to chronicle this in his podcasts, instead of profiling his Red Sox less than a week away from Opening Day Jobs are being cut, and people are forced to find other careers. One example of this is former AAN sports writer Jim Carty. Carty, part of the duo that broke the non-scandal over independent study courses for athletes at U of M, resigned from the News last year. He is now in his first year of Law School at Toledo. The guy has gone from analyzing the spread offense to analyzing divorce cases in 18 months. Scary.

Carty is one of the few willing to go the extra mile for a new career. With Michigan's unemployment rate recently hitting 12%, choices are slim and dreams are being put on hold. With Detroit sitting in my backyard, it's hard to ignore the risks that go along with struggling industries.

But, whether or not I end up as a reporter, I want to say "Thanks" to all the sports fans out there who continue to read the papers and support the sports news industry because these are the people driving the business. Whether it be the five people who actually read this blog or the five million people on ESPN.com everyday, sports journalism (and news journalism in general) continues to be a huge part of everyone's daily life. Hopefully, this industry can pull through and keep sports and news afloat through television, radio, and written news. I know there is still a need for these types of coverage. It's just a matter of finding the right medium and price.

This week, we will see the Detroit papers cut back to a circulation of three days per week. As someone who grew up with the sports section spread out under a bowl of Frosted Flakes every morning, I'll miss seeing the paper everyday. I grew up reading guys like Mitch Albom, watching Don Shane give his sports report, and listening to Terry Foster on the radio. Journalism plays a huge role in my life, and I hope it continues to do the same in your lives. With any luck, there is a light at the end of this tunnel.

Stay Tuned.

Michigan Baseball LIVE on WCBN YouCastr

Listen LIVE today as Michigan takes on Bowling Green St. from the Fish. Game time is at 3:05 P.M. with Brandon Sinnery on the mound for the Wolverines.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Michigan Softball LIVE on the new YouCastr

Listen live today at 2 P.M. to Michigan Softball's home opener vs. Loyola University Chicago by clicking HERE.

Update: Michigan won game one of the doubleheader 4-1. Nikki Nemitz picked up the win, throwing a complete game and only allowing one hit (in the seventh) while striking out 12.

Update #2: Michigan scored 11 runs in the first inning and won game two 13-0 in a mercy-rule five-inning ballgame.

Friday, March 27, 2009

MIchigan Hockey vs. Air Force: Live from Bridgeport, CT

2:35 pm - We arrived in Bridgeport, CT at about 12:30 after a wonder, 11 hour drive in former sports director Tony Bolton's Saturn. The game is set to start in about 25 minutes and both teams are currently warming up on the ice. While we will be calling the game (see the link in the post below), we will also blogging the game live. Due to NCAA blogging restrictions, we can only post so much, but we will do our best without getting our credentials revoked.


20:00 - The puck has dropped in Bridgeport, with Carl Hagelin, Matt Rust, and Aaron Palushaj getting the start up front, captains Mark Mitera and Chris Summers starting on the blue line, and Brian Hogan getting the nod in goal. Hogan and the Michigan D are looking to rebound from a dreadful third period in the CCHA Championship vs. Notre Dame, where the Wolverines gave up 5 unanswered goals. Early in this game, the puck has gone back and forth with Michigan failing to capitalize on a great scoring chance. With 16:48 left in the period, Air Force winger took the game's first penalty (contanct to the head/elbowing) and Michgian will get an early chance on the power play.

6:22 - After failing to put the puck in the net with over a minute of 5 on 3 hockey, the Wolverines have taken 3 penalties. They got lucky when the referee Michigan is dominating the shot counts 12 to 2, but have been unable
to get a good flow going with all the penalties against them.

4:42 - Air Force 1, Michigan 0 - Air Force has scored the first goal of the game, a power play goal scored by Derrick Burnett. Air Force was starting to get something going on the multiple shot opportunities from the power plays. Michigan's defense will need to clamp down on against the speedy Falcons so that the offensive opportunities can develop.

0:00 - The first period is done with Michigan down to Air Force 1-0. Despite spending the last 4 minutes of the period in the Falcons zone, the Blue could not find the back on the net (on 16 shots). Michigan has also taken 4 penalties in the period, with 3 on Air Force, showing that the refs are calling a tight game (with questionable calls on both teams). Michigan definitely looks like the more talented team, but they seem to have a block of some sort, with iffy turnovers and lack of shot taking. The Falcons are definitely a dangerous team with some offensive power.


12:58 - Air Force 2, Michigan 0 - Air has just notched their second goal of the afternoon on just 4 shots on goal. Jacques Lamoureux, the nation's leading scorer, put in the puck on a 2 on 1. The period has been dominated by sloppy play on Michigan's part. A bad play by Mark Mitera in Michigan's zone led to Air Force's second goal. The energy show by Air Force is far eclipsing any urgency from the Wolverines. Michigan has shown that they can pass in the Falcon's zone and win battles in the corners, but a lack of shots has led to few scoring opportunities, as well as great goaltending from the Falcon's Andrew Volkening.

5:59 - Not much to say except that the incredibly poor and sloppy play is continuing from the Wolverines. They can't seem to get any breaks from the boards or refs (Wohlberg was called for embellishment) . If they want any hope for a comeback, they need to focus and get their last 3 periods of hockey out of their heads. At 4:51, Michigan will go on the power play, so the Maize and Blue faithful will look for their boys to get back on track.

0:00 - I don't really want to write any more on this period, which was one of Michigan's worst all year. No one on the team is immune to the sloppy play. Michigan will start the third period with the man advantage. UAF 2, UM 0.


20:00 - The puck has dropped on the most important period of Michigan hockey of the year. They will begin on the power play, which has started with not 1 but 2 icing calls on the Blue. Air Force has blown 2 leads in recent tournament history and every Michigan hockey fan hopes for more of the same.

13:20 - Desperation has begun to set for the Wolverines. Michigan has slowed the sloppy play, but still is playing with a less than desirable energy level. Great goalie play from Volkening continues. Michigan has tried many times to set up long break out passes, but those have frequently led to turnovers by the Blue. Carl Hagelin looks to be the only one playing with some passion. Even with multiple man advantages, it just seems to be one of those night where nothing goes Michigan's way.

6:02 - The situation has gone from bad to worse as the Wolverine's most dangerous penalty killer Carl Hagelin takes a holding call in the Falcons' zone. The Michigan bench and fan section look stunned and completely out of options.

0:00 - The Michigan Wolverines hockey season has come to an end with a 2-0 loss to the Air Force Falcons. Offensively Michigan could really have done nothing more, as they put 43 shots on Andrew Volkening with no success. Almost everything, from the bounces to the questionable officiating, went against the Wolverines. It just seemed like the hockey gods wanted Air Force to move on in this tournament. The player of the game has to be Volkening, whose 43 saves anchored the Falcons. The Air Force defense seemed to know exactly what players to shut down, as Palushaj and Caparusso got roughed up for most of the game. While the season ends in a very disappointing fashion, Michigan fans can just shake their heads and laugh about this. The Wolverines were just not meant to win this one.

Signing off from the Arena at Harbor Yard in Brigdeport, CT, this is Kevin Gregus saying Go Blue.

NCAA Hockey Tournament: #1 Michigan vs #4 Air Force

Michigan Hockey's march towards a second straight Frozen Four begins today in Bridgeport, Conn. LIVE coverage of Michigan-Air Force can be heard beginning at 3pm on YouCastr with Andrew Seid and Christian Montgomery on-hand for the call.  The game will be re-aired at 7pm on WCBN tonight for Game of the Week. GO BLUE!!!

The Mixer: March Edition

A night before an interview important enough where I can't go out with friends to GTC or The Peak? Sounds like the perfect time to grind out an overdue edition of The Mixer. It's been a while, but like Andy and Red at the end of Shawshank, you just wanna embrace it and pick up where you left off.

(Sidenote: Every time I quote Shawshank, or relate something back to the movie, I feel I should be paying Bill Simmons a right's fee. It's sad because this really was one of my favorite movies and now Simmons has conered the market with this movie and all its analogies. Dammit!)

Anyways, let's get to it!

What to do with the eight dollars you earned this week: Go see Adventureland. I just got back from the advanced screening here on campus and it exceeded my expectations. It's a little bit like Superbad (same director and Bill Hader has a small role), but with pieces of Good Will Hunting and Animal House mixed into the story. I also saw the new Fast & Furious this week, and Adventureland was more enjoyable by far. Seeing it on the big screen in a cramped auditorium with half the audience totally blazed was priceless...even if I saw it for free. Definitely worth the money for a second time, though. Here is the trailer:

NBA's MVP: If you haven't seen this yet, you will definitely hear about it on Monday morning. LeBron James does 60 Minutes and hits a ridiculous shot while filming his interview. This is a shot Jordan could only hit in McDonald's commercials:

More Mascot Fun: I got this video from the Club Trillion blog done by OSU backup Mark Titus. This is how I always explain Titus' position to Michigan Bball fans:

Michigan Fan: Who is Mark Titus?

Me: Bench-warmer for OSU with his own blog

Michigan Fan: Wait, who?

Me: The OSU eqivalent to Eric Puls

Michigan Fan: Ooooooooh! Totally got it now.


Michigan Fan: Dude, Puls should have his own blog!!!

Me: I couldn't agree more.

Anyways, I highly recommend the Club Trillion Blog (give it time; it grows on you) and here is the video:

Take your Medicine, Maize Ragers: I loved this 2009 Basketball season. It gave me everything I wanted and more for my last year in Ann Arbor as a student. But I'm not close to being satisfied, and neither should you. So, as bulletin board material for next year, I give you the video that the 2010 squad should be watching from now till opening tip in November:

Michigan Baseball...kinda: Throughout our broadcasts, I've noticed that fans and students have been calling super-sophomore Ryan LaMarre "Heddley." Now, most guys my age probably have no idea where this nickname came from. I'm guessing "Blazing Saddles," but I could be wrong. Anyways, in honor of Ryan's inspired play of late, I give you the "Pledge to Hedley Lemarr."

The first line of the pledge could easily be edited to be used following a LaMarre highlight catch. I'm talking to you, Michigan Media Relations Department.

Hope the Mixer was as good for you as it was for me. Look for baseball posts and a Lacrosse story later in the week.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sims and Harris 50-50? Don't count on it

I've been slacking on my posting for a few reasons. UM Baseball has kept me pretty busy, while NCAA basketball owned my previous weekend before last. I'm working on a story right now that is some of my best stuff, so look for that in Mid-April as I still need to attend one event before finishing the column. I'm trying to finish a paper right now, so thanks for your patience (again, my apologies) and here is something small to read:

A few days ago, ESPN's Chad Ford put out his newly minted Draft Board for the 2009 NBA Draft. Ford divided up the names into underclassmen who were locks to jump, probables, 50-50 guys, and guys who have already said they are coming back. Manny Harris and DeShawn Sims both made the board...as 50-50 guys.

The deadline to declare isn't for a while, so both these guys have some time. And I'm sure I'll put up another post about in the next few weeks. But I think it'd be a huge mistake to make that jump this year. As I've said before, it'd be the worst move since Randolph Morris decided to jump from Kentucky. This program could make the Sweet Sixteen next year (more on that later), so why ruin both that run and your chances at a first round pick in 2010? Doesn't make sense. But like I said, we got time.

Interesting Notes:
  • Evan Turner says he will be a Buckeye next year: I think this is a solid move. Turner can get to the hoop better than anyone in the Big Ten, and he's solid from 17 ft and closer. One more year, and he is a lotto pick and could be similar to Gerald Henderson this year. If Mullens stays, this is a pre-season top-10 team.
  • Jonny Flynn stays at 'Cuse: I'm not holding my breathe on this pick. Flynn has been flying up draft boards since February, and was projected as a late first rounder this year. If the Orange make the Final Four, or he has a strong showing in the Elite Eight, I think the pull of pro ball would be too great, and Flynn gets drafted at around 14 or 15 in the first round.
  • Vasquez declares: Couldn't figure out if he was declaring for the Euro League or the NBA Draft. This is a terrible move for the junior Terrapin. Good thing he hasn't hired an agent, or else he'd be handing Goran Suton water when both play for Maccabi Tel-Aviv in 2009. Anyways, NBA Draft.net doesn't have him on the board and neither do I.
OK, time to get back to the paper. Baseball, Basketball, and maybe some Lacrosse by the weekend.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

NCAA Tournament Times & Announcers (Regional Semifinals)

                                 Thursday 3/26
7:07 #1 UConn vs #5 Purdue @ Glendale: Enberg/Bilas
7:27 #1 Pitt vs #4 Xavier @ Boston: Verne/Raftery
9:37 #2 Memphis vs #3 Missouri @ Glendale: Enberg/Bilas
9:57 #2 Duke vs #3 Villanova @ Boston: Verne/Raftery

                                   Friday 3/27
7:07 #1 Louisville vs #12 Arizona @ Indianapolis: Gus/Elmore
7:27 #2 Oklahoma vs #3 Syracuse @ Memphis: Nantz/Kellogg
9:37 #2 Michigan State vs #3 Kansas @ Indianapolis: Gus/Elmore
9:57 #1 North Carolina vs #4 Gonzaga @ Memphis: Nantz/Kellogg

Games in bold will be seen in the Detroit area. 

Live Drive Blog

Why live blog a 12 hour drive? Why not? One disclaimer - any posts made while I was behind the wheel were retroactively blogged once I became a passenger.

8:30 PM (CT):
After the heartbreaking loss to the Oklahoma Griffens, we departed the wonderful Kansas City. To our delight, the cashier at our parking garage was unattended with the gate open - free parking! We decide to take the $12 per car savings to the nearest Sonic. Despite the bombardment of tv ads for Sonic in Michigan, none of our group of seven had ever actually eaten at this drive-in wonder. We agree to stop at the first Sonic we see on our way home.

8:40 PM (CT): Well, that sure didn't take long. Second exit out of K.C. yields a Sonic. Instead of utilizing the drive in feature, our group decides to take advantage of the warm weather and sit at a table outside. My thoughts on the Sonic experience:

  1. The drive in option is pretty cool, but slows down the whole fast food process and probably leads to a significant number of car accidents in the south.
  2. I was VERY dissapointed that our waitress was not on rollerblades. They were sitting in the window, why didn't she use them. I felt a bit cheated.
  3. The food was very average, but they did have an excellent variety. From breakfast burritos to french toast, to patty melts there was something for everybody.
  4. The drinks! By far the most appealing aspect of Sonic. Too bad it wasn't happy hour which would have made the drinks 50% off!

9:05 AM (CT): On the road again, I-35 north heading towards Des Moines, Iowa.
Ground covered: 10 miles; Road: I-35 N; State: Missouri

11:05 AM (CT): Cross into Iowa, greeted by the welcome sign: "Welcome to Iowa, fields of opportunity"

11:58 AM (CT): Well, there sure are fields. Not a whole lot else though. We pick up 80 East in Des Moines.

12:25 AM (CT): The other car in our two-vehicle caravan pulls off the highway at the exit for Brooklyn. Upon exiting, they immediately get back on. Our car was confused as to what they could possibly be expecting to find at an exit where there was not a single light to be seen in any direction.

12:30 AM (CT): Finally a sign of civilization in the form of a gas station as we exit the highway 20 miles east of the nearest city which is called, Wat Cheer. Awesome name. We stop to use the restroom and refuel our stomachs and our gas tanks. Only in Iowa would there be an advertisement for “virtual cigarettes” above the urinal, “cigarettes you can smoke anywhere, anytime.” Oh, Iowa.
Distance covered: 270 miles; Road: I-80 East; State: Iowa.

1:34 AM (CT): We arrive at the much anticipated Largest Truck Stop in the World (pictured at right) off exit 284 on Route I-80 in Iowa. We get snacks from the Wendy’s inside this cavernous truck stop and take some time to appreciate the vast array of novelty souvenirs available at this bi-level truck stop. Some personal favorites:

  1. An entire rack of Jesus themed T-Shirts including a white t-shirt reading: Jesus loves You Too in the design of the Youtube logo.
  2. Shot glasses from each of the 50 states. Iowa’s read: Iowa, the state of tall corn.
  3. An entire rack of Iowa postcard, most of which featured broken down barns or cornfields.
We switch drivers as Tom takes over. Distance covered: 350 miles; Road: I-80 East; State: Iowa.

1:51 AM (CT): Two states down, three to go as we exit Iowa! “Welcome to Illinois, Land of Lincoln.” I lose cellphone reception. Figures, T-mobile would be solid in Iowa but not in Illinois. Perhaps corn transmits wireless signals well?
Distance covered: 353 miles; Road: I-80 East; State: Illinois.

3:21 AM (CT): First radar shooting policeman sighting. The backseat of our car wakes up as Tom slams on the brakes.
Distance covered: 490 miles; Road: I-80 East; State: Illinois.

3:29 AM (CT): Speed limit on I-80 East drops from 70, to 65, to 55, to 45 over the course of about three minutes. Momentum breaker, but it is nice to see Toledo on a road sign.

3:35 AM (CT): 45 mph? Really? It’s 3:30 in the morning and we’re stuck going 45. Why?

3:38 AM (CT): Speed limit is back up to 65. I can live with that. 4ish hrs to go. I’ll take this opportunity to give my top five highlights from our trip to K.C.
Top 5 moments of the trip (in no particular order).
  1. Cramming four semi-grown 21 year olds into a 2001 Toyota Echo (great car for gas mileage, not so much for legroom) for a 12-hour overnight drive.
  2. Cramming eight semi-grown 21 year olds into a four person hotel room and then being covert enough to steal extra towels off the housekeeping cart when it was left unattended and being sure to stagger our exits every time we left the room.
  3. Turning the Arthur Bryant’s BBQ Restaurant into a pseudo Michigan party as coincidentally 25 Michigan fans all decided to make the trip to this one particular BBQ joint which was well off the beaten path.
  4. Running into Spud Webb along with another group of Michigan fans at a bar to watch #13 seed Cleveland State blow out #4 Wake Forest and #9 Siena knock off #8 OSU in Dayton, OH in double OT.
  5. The world’s largest truck stop in Iowa
4:12 AM (CT): I’m back behind the wheel as we make our way into our fourth state and our third and final highway of the trip, the familiar I-94 E in Indiana
Ground covered: 573 miles; Road: I-94 E; State: Indiana

4:30 AM (CT): Pass the exit for Chesteron, Indiana – home of Michigan freshman power forward (wow, I really just labeled him a power forward) Zach Novak.
Ground covered: 590 miles; Road: I-94 E; State: Indiana
--Cross into Eastern Time Zone --

5:42 AM (ET): We’re back in Michigan! “Great Lakes, Great Times” reads the sign.

6:20 AM (ET): Brett becomes our third driver of the trip as we enter the home stretch around Kalamazoo.
Ground covered: 673 miles; Road: I-94 E; State: Michigan

8:30 AM (ET): Arrival back in Ann Arbor!
Ground covered: 764 miles; Road: State St.; State: Michigan

Saturday, March 21, 2009

CCHA Championship: MICHIGAN HOCKEY vs. Notre Dame at the Joe

The puck has dropped at Joe Louis Arena for the CCHA championship as #3 Michigan takes on #1 Notre Dame in the Battle for the Mason Cup. Since Rob and Stu are broadcasting the men's basketball NCAA tournament game on the sports stream, you can tune in to WCBN's live call of the CCHA championship on Youcastr. Click here to listen LIVE to Michigan hockey! 

NCAA Tournament 2nd Round: #2 Oklahoma-#10 Michigan

WCBN will return to the Sprint Center in Kansas City tonight and have LIVE coverage of Michigan's 2nd Round NCAA Tournament game. It won't be easy as the Wolverines will have to deal with Blake Griffin and one of the best teams in the country. Tip-off is slated for 5:50pm or 30 minutes following the conclusion of Memphis-Maryland. A spot in the Sweet 16 awaits the winner... it's #2 Oklahoma vs. #10 Michigan.  LISTEN LIVE ON THE WCBN SPORTS STREAM!!!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Congrats to Many Wolverines

First and foremost, congrats to the Michigan basketball team for that great win tonight.

Next up are the congratulations which are in order for the men's hockey players who took home awards Thursday night for their great play in the CCHA this season.

First up is senior Tim Miller who took home the best defensive forward award. All season long, his great play on the defensive end has been greatly appreciated by the Wolverine goaltenders, especially on the PK. He is the shining example of how to kill off an opponent's powerplay with his tenacious forecheck, creating turnovers all over the ice and creating scoring opportunities for both himself and his teammates. A great way for Mr. Miller to end his CCHA career, with yet another score at JLA, this time in the awards category.

The other Wolverine to win a CCHA award tonight was David Wohlberg, winner of the CCHA Rookie of the Year. Congrats to David on his outstanding contributions this season, as he has stepped in and helped fill in a spot opposite Louis Caporusso. His 14 goals and 15 assists have been a big reason why the Wolverines attack has been so balanced, as they have been able to split up Palushaj and Caporusso, while keeping the scoring machine rolling on.

Finally, a shout out to Caporusso, as he grabbed a Hobey Baker finalist nod tonight as well. He has been absolutely lights out all season long, grabbing goals as the go-to goal scorer in place of Kevin Porter this season. He has been part of this season's version of the Dynamic Duo replacing last season's version of Porter and Kolarik, as he and Palushaj have led this team to many victories and a place near the top of the college hockey polls no one would have predicted following the first couple months of the season.

Now for the Friday game, Michigan gets ready to take on an Alaska team that picked up a CCHA Coach of the Year award for Dallas Ferguson and CCHA Player of the Year award for Hobey Baker-finalist Chad "Don't Call Me Ocho Cinco" Johnson. Should be a tough match-up for the Wolverines and we will have the broadcast, starting at 8:05 EDT live from JLA, on WCBN 88.3 FM Ann Arbor.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

NCAA Tournament 1st Round: #7 Clemson-#10 Michigan

We have made our way down to the Sprint Center in Kansas City. We have great seats, right behind the scorers table at mid-court and look forward to watching the Memphis-Cal State Northridge and Maryland-Cal games early today. Join WCBN for LIVE coverage of Michigan's 1st NCAA Tournament game in 11 years tonight versus Clemson. Coverage begins at 7pm with the opening tip slated for 7:10pm. It's #7 Clemson vs #10 Michigan... LISTEN LIVE ON THE WCBN SPORTS STREAM!!!


On To the Round of 32!!! Click below to re-live Michigan-Clemson in its entirety...

It's the most wonderful time of the year....

Below is my annual "Ode to March Madness." I've waited all year for tomorrow's viewing extravaganza, and it's finally here. And the fact that Michigan is in the tourney, and the fact our President is on ESPN filling out a bracket, makes this one of the tournaments I've been most excited about.

I'm interested to hear everyone's stories about how they've enjoyed the first day of the tourney. Leave them in the comments section.

Without further ado...

Tomorrow is the greatest weekday for sports viewing out of the entire year.

At noon, the NCAA tournament and its 64 team field will begin its frantic run for the national championship. It is arguably the greatest day to be a fan because for the next two days, college basketball games will be running for almost 12 hours, starting at noon and ending around 12:15am. Say "Good-bye" to soap operas, and "Hello" to Gus Johnson.

Some of my favorite memories from middle school and high school were on this day when the guys would sneak to the teachers lounge to catch part of the game at lunch time and then take 6 bathroom breaks per class period to keep checking the scores. My religion teacher probably thought I had the prostate of a sixty-eight year old man. This was obviously before the days of laptop computers, and the widely used strategy of college students who bring the computer to watch the games on-demand. Last year, I got to witness a great early round upset by Davidson while in "Media Effects" class, because of the on-demand program from CBS.

I'm not going to remember what was said that day in class a year from now, but I'll always remember what Steph Curry did for his team in that first game during his team's run to the Elite Eight.

We all enjoy March Madness. Even if people don't follow college basketball, they are still filling out a bracket or flipping a coin to decide on who they should pick. Watching the evening games with friends is one of the best things about all the coverage. It brings together people who you might not have seen since this time last year, but you still remain the best of friends because of The Tourney and your annual NCAA pool. So with that...

Let the Madness begin.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

NCAA Tournament Podcast

Listen to the WCBN crew preview the 2009 Men's Division I Basketball Tournament.  A consensus WCBN bracket is developed along with individual Final 4 and National Champion picks.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Tickets? Anyone Got Tickets?

Michigan has made the tournament for the first time in eleven years. This fact has been well documented by most news outlets and media people around the area for the past couple weeks. This is a big story: A once prominent basketball powerhouse escapes the hole they dug themselves with NCAA sanctions and are now back to basketball prominence. Every Michigan fans loves this story and loves the coverage it gets.

Here’s the problem: Up until Greg Gumbel called Michigan’s name and number on Sunday, a lot of people didn’t care. The Basketball dept. had to make student tickets free for over 60% of home games, and then bribe students with free pizza just to get them in the building. So, to reward the few fans that actually did buy season tickets this year, only season ticket holders are eligible to receive tournament tickets from the athletic department.

This effectively stalled ANY momentum the program had after holding a great Selection Show party Sunday night.

Let me explain: Michigan is given an allotment of tickets following their placement in the tournament (Let’s say Michigan is given 1,500 tickets for fans). Now, if Michigan only sold a couple hundred student season tickets, and those kids agreed to shell out the 73 bucks it will cost for a single ticket, that leaves about 1300 of tickets left over for the alumni season ticket holders in the “Blue Seats” at Crisler. The drive to Kansas City (Michigan’s first round site) is about 12 hours from Ann Arbor. Do you honestly believe alumni (and most students) will travel 12 hours to KC for a game we aren’t favored to win? And, in the event we do win, are faced with George Mason-like odds to beat Oklahoma? I mean, these are the same people Maize Ragers have to yell at in order for them to “stand up and applaud” during basketball games!

The scenario I have just presented is probably more unstable than the Tommy Amaker era. I get that. But here’s something else to keep in mind: Most of the students that bought season tickets this year are freshmen. The athletic dept. doesn’t release these stats, but you can tell by how many kids only have the current season’s Maize Rage T-Shirt as game-day attire. Upper classmen don’t buy tickets because the Juniors and Seniors in Ann Arbor are still trying to get over losing 4 straight games in ’07 to miss the tournament, and are still trying to forget about how badly Amaker butchered the career of Courtney Sims (aka the D-League MVP). These kids paid 120 dollars a season to watch Brent Petway practice for his future as a D-League Slam Dunk Champion.

The reasons they had to stop buying tickets were valid. The marketing department had to cater to a group that didn’t know any better (i.e. the 2012 class). But then how do you expect your freshman fan base to get to KC when most of them have nowhere to park a car on Michigan’s campus?!?!?

The worst part about this is that most Wolverine students didn’t buy season tickets at the beginning of the year because the tickets were FREE for all but three or four home games. That means you could have been a huge supporter of U of M Basketball, attended 13 home games this season, and not been eligible for a NCAA ticket. Yet, the student who bought the season tickets, and didn’t use/scalped his tickets, is now eligible for a trip to Kansas City.

The athletic department had to beg, plead, and even bribe students to attend these basketball games this year. Most times students were allowed in for free, and would be eligible for free M-Den goodies just for swiping their M-Cards. And, now that these students are willing to pay big bucks and travel 12 hours to see this team, the athletic department is telling them “No?” Awesome! There is 7 months of hard work in promotions and marketing down the drain.

Here is my solution: Allow the students that attended these games for free to have a crack at these tickets. If you are a student and attended a game, your M-Card was swiped for “reward points” purposes. They have these records lying around somewhere. Go back, find these numbers, and allow the kids who attended 11 of the 13 home games to be eligible for these tickets. This would open up the ticket base to those elder classmen, who actually cared enough about the program to brave the cold to walk to Crisler in the winter. These future alumni are the ones the Athletic Department should worry about winning over.

Michigan threw one hell of a party on Sunday. Crisler looked like it had electricity that hadn’t been there since Duke was handed their first loss in December. Some student fans were newer than others at the party. But they all wanted to be there to support Michigan Basketball.

I say we let them put their money where their mouth is.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

NCAA Tournament Times & Announcers

12:20 #8 LSU vs #9 Butler: Nantz/Kellogg
12:25 #2 Memphis vs #15 Cal St Northridge: Brando/Gminski
12:30 #8 BYU vs #9 Texas A & M: Enberg/Bilas

2:30 #5 Purdue vs #12 Northern Iowa: Harlan/Bonner
2:50 #1 UNC vs #16 Radford: Nantz/Kellogg
2:55 #7 Cal vs #10 Maryland: Brando/Gminski
3:00 #1 UConn vs #16 Chattanooga: Blackburn/Bilas

5:00 #4 Washington vs #13 Mississippi State: Harlan/Bonner

7:10 #7 Texas vs #10 Minnesota: Nantz/Kellogg
7:10 #7 Clemson vs #10 Michigan: Brando/Gminski
7:20 #3 Villanova vs #14 American: Enberg/Bilas
7:25 #4 Gonzaga vs #13 Akron: Harlan/Bonner

9:40 #2 Duke vs #15 Binghamton: Nantz/Kellogg
9:40 #2 Oklahoma vs #15 Morgan State: Brando/Gminski
9:50 #6 UCLA vs #11 VCU: Enberg/Bilas
9:55 #5 Illinois vs #12 Western Kentucky: Harlan/Bonner

12:15 #3 Syracuse vs #14 Stephen F Austin: Eagle/Spanarkel
12:25 #8 Oklahoma St vs #9 Tennessee: Verne/Raftery
12:30 #3 Kansas vs #14 North Dakota State: Gus/Elmore
12:30 #6 Marquette vs #11 Utah State: Bolerjack/Wenzel

2:45 #6 Arizona State vs #11 Temple: Eagle/Spanarkel
2:55 #1 Pitt vs #16 East Tennessee St: Verne/Raftery
3:00 #6 West Virginia vs #11 Dayton: Gus/Elmore
3:00 #3 Missouri vs #14 Cornell: Bolerjack/Wenzel

7:10 #5 Utah vs #12 Arizona: Eagle/Spanarkel
7:10 #1 Louisville vs #16 Alabama St or Morehead St: Verne/Raftery
7:20 #7 Boston College vs #10 USC: Gus/Elmore
7:25 #4 Xavier vs #13 Portland St: Bolerjack/Wenzel

9:40 #4 Wake Forest vs #13 Cleveland St: Eagle/Spanarkel
9:40 #8 Ohio State vs #9 Siena: Verne/Raftery
9:50 #2 Michigan St vs #15 Robert Morris: Gus/Elmore
9:55 #5 Florida St vs #12 Wisconsin: Bolerjack/Wenzel


2 Hours and Counting Til Selection Show

Michigan is IN the field of 65 and are likely to be either a #9 or #10 seed. Now the question is over where they will play on either Thursday or Friday.  Below are my odds:

Kansas City 3/1
Minneapolis 5/1
Greensboro 7/1
Dayton 12/1
Philadelphia 15/1
Miami 25/1
Boise 40/1
Portland 100/1

Now some Selection Sunday predictions:

#1 seeds: Louisville, Pitt, UNC, Memphis
Last 4 Teams IN: Dayton, Maryland, Minnesota, Creighton (Last Team IN)
Last 4 Teams OUT: Penn State (Last Team OUT), St. Mary's, Arizona, San Diego State
Michigan: #9 seed playing #8 LSU in Dayton (#1 Louisville looming in 2nd round)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Michigan/Illinois Hoops Archive

1st Half 

The 2009 All-Broadcast Team for B10 Tournament

A lot of media people here are former players and athletes. I wrote this during a timeout during the WISC/OSU game. I was going to use it in the live blog, but I thought it deserved its own post.

That said, I give you “The All-Broadcast Team” in attendance this weekend at the B10 Tournament this weekend. These are all media personalities in attendance. If I were going to start a team today, here are the media people I would use. Again, to be eligible for this select cast, you must have been in “media row” this weekend.

Without further delay, your 2009 Big Ten All-Broadcast Team!

Shon Morris, C; Big Ten Network. The former Northwestern Forward still looks like he could still suit up and play the post. His jump hook would be a nice weapon to have. Put a jersey on!

Jim Jackson, G; Big Ten Network. One of OSU’s top career scorers. I don’t know about mobility, but he can probably still hit a jump shot or two. However, Jim and Eddie George both drink wine…Not that there is anything wrong with that. We saw this at the BTN party Friday. This doesn’t have anything to do with him playing on this team. I just thought I would point that out.

Mark Titus, G; Club Trillion. Titus is still on the OSU Basketball team, but doesn’t play. Ever. He has two total minutes this season…But, the kid has a blog currently being plugged by Bill Simmons on ESPN.com. I’m not crazy about the blog myself, but I’ll qualify him as “media.” Based on the average age of this team (35 years old), and Thad Matta’s high praise of his shooting abilities, he’ll be taking a Kobe-like amount of shots for this team.

Steve Lavin, F; ESPN. I’m running low on able-bodied reporters, so I’m throwing the former Bruin coach into the mix. Lavin has a stocky build, but looks like he is tall enough to play the 3-spot. This team needs a floor captain and a leader setting things up. Also, the gelled hair makes him more aerodynamic and sneaky fast.

Jim Nantz, F/G; CBS. I would rather have Nantz in my foursome for a golf scramble, but his long arms should translate nicely to the hardwood. It’s a toss up between him and Gus Johnson for this spot. Johnson stands at about 5’9, so I don’t see him being a two-position player. Nevertheless, I need Johnson to be the one calling the game.

Johnson: Nantz… To Titus… FOR THE WIN…..OHHHHHH MY GODNESS!!!

No offense to Gus. He’s just too good to not be calling a March game.


Alex P, G; Michigan Daily. This kid has got game. Real nice jump shot. His team played against mine in the IM Finals at UM for Basketball. He must have had 20 of his team's 55 points. I’ll vouch for his skills.

Dave Revsine, G; BTN. Every team needs the small white guy on the end of the bench waving a towel. We have our man!

Pat Forde, F; ESPN. A football guy, but I like his upside with regard to his size and potential rebounding ability (He’s about 6’2 and around 200). I’d use him like Izzo uses the MSU football team for his bench.

Running Diary: Illinois/UM from Friday

Night number two of our Live Blogging here on M&B. Again, apparently Canseco Fieldhouse has the worst internet server to ever be created. So we did this running diary during the game and edited it early this morning. Thanks for the patience.

Alllllllllright!!!! Back for Round Two! Between now and when we finished last nights game, here’s what happened:

  • Rob and Stu were forced to share a bed after I won odds/evens throw-down to win the single.

  • We saw LeBron make a case for defensive player of the year with his block on Jason Richardson.

  • UConn/Syracuse played the game that never ended.

  • Talked to Gus Johnson over beers.

  • Drunk Iowa BTN intern spit all over Stu while trying to start a conversation with us and WOLV-TV

  • I attended a job fair that didn’t take resumes

OK! Good times. Now on to the game…

Crowd has filled in nicely to the Fieldhouse. The fans are 80-20 in favor of Illinois. This feels like a UI home game.

“Queme los barcos”: The UM team comes out of the locker room wearing shirts with this phrase on the back. It means “Burn the ships” and was the message Cortes told his troops before storming the New World. Basically, it was a “leave it on the court” metaphor.

(By the end of the game, I was calling for the team to burn the shirts along with the ship they traveled in).

GAMETIME: Like the show 24, events occur in real time,

17:54 Douglass puts it on the floor and gets called for a 5 second. At least he put it on the floor as opposed to the picking up of his dribble. Of all the players on this team, Douglass has the biggest identity crisis. Scores 20 against UConn, and then disappears down the stretch in the B10 schedule. He plays great defense, and then we don’t hear from him for three straight games. I give up trying to figure this kid out.

16:33 Zack Novak hits the deck and is bleeding. The official tells Beilein “He’s bleeding again.” I swear Novak loses more blood a week than any other player in any sport I’ve ever seen. They really should set up some sort of charity deal with the Red Cross where U of M will donate 100 dollars for every time Novak loses blood on the court. This would be the biggest charitable donation in U of M history. Guaranteed.

15:14 McCamey for three. 7-4 Illini. Anthony Wright into the game for the Wolverines. He attempts his first three and it’s way off. Over/Under Anthony Wright taking 2.5 shots on the next three possessions…or until he feels better about himself.

13:28 Davis with another turnaround over Novak. He is getting whatever he wants off the low block. I’m feeling Déjà vu from last time we saw him, where we made him look like Antonio McDyess 11-9 Illini.

11:40 Douglass for three!!!! Davis answers with a jumper. He looks like Sims last night. This could get ugly real fast.

This is a good time to mention that Michigan is going to be in trouble during the tourney if they face a team with a big front line that can pass (See Memphis or MSU). Right now, they have Novak playing the 4-spot. I know he’s a great shooter, but they NEEEEEEEEED Jevohn Shepherd to be ready come next Thursday. Hell, I’ll take Wright, too. But if they insist on starting four guards against a frontline that all hovers over 6’8, I would suggest everyone save their money and not even book a hotel room for the first round.

10:00 Coach Beilein just called the Illini “not a good rebounding team.” Irony?

9:10 Novak takes a charge underneath the hoop. I’ve seen this call go either way 6 times today in the previous two games played here today. The rule change that needs to happen most is the charge under the hoop. If this happened, Manny Harris would set the record for foul shots in a month.

7:33 Mike Davis has ten points. Anthony Wright back into the game as Merrit knocks down a three. Wright puts a bigger body on Davis. I like this match-up. Maybe not as much as with Jevohn Shepherd, but we are up 22-18. I’m going with it.

5:28 Zack Gibson with his second reverse in as many possessions. Good thing Illinois doesn’t watch film, or else they’d know this is all he does on the low block.

4:22 Heat-check 3 by Gibson. Way long. CJ Lee just said “Don’t leave McCamey! Leave Jordan” in the huddle. Stu said “That’s the first time any one has ever said ‘Don’t help on Jordan!’ in a basketball huddle.”

3:49 Timeout on the floor.

I need to mention quickly that Larry Fitzgerald Sr. is here covering the tournament for his Minnesota newspaper. Fitzgerald Sr. was the subject of a ton of coverage for the super bowl because his son (Larry Jr.) was playing. He said he refused to cheer in the press box if they he scored, in order to not appear biased.

Good to see Larry Sr. holding his journalistic integrity to the highest degree.

…However, it hasn’t stopped him from wearing a Cardinal’s No.11 jersey this whole weekend. Each day. At least it was easy to tell who he was.

2:36 Wright. Shepherd. Lee. Sims. Harris. Lineup combo 102098756 for Coach Beilein this year.

1:19 Meachem on Harris. I’m thinking mismatch. Michigan thinks otherwise and settles for a Novak fade-away three that lands way short.

23.5 Manny with an incredibly awkward looking three point. He shot that as if he was walking a tightrope with one foot in front of the next. Something is not right with this team…

0.00 Illinois misfires at the end of the half, but keeps a one point lead. 25-24 Illini. I’m trying to figure out whether I should be looking for a hotel, or drinking more coffee for the ride home.


Stu has nothing to add. Terrible shooting half. This team almost looks like they won the first game vs. Iowa, and then collectively thought “Uhhh so… what do we do now?” They just look a step slow.

Here is our Halftime exchange with Rob:

Rob: We are playing well!

Stu: Is that sarcasm?

Rob: No, it wasn’t Iowa yesterday but if they play that was in the 2nd half they win.

Stu: They are shooting 9-30!

Rob: Relax. It will work out.

10 minute pause….

Rob: Alright. Well, these stats are worse than I thought.


19:22 Tisdale hits the Illgauskas-patented 16 footer off the high screen and roll. Sims answers with a deuce of his own. 27-26 Illini

16:56 Davis with the full court reception and bucket…Then the steal….and then the dunk. Partisan crowd roars with approval. Bruce Weber is one of those coaches that likes to run the wacky schemes that have you pass up open shot, but also wants to run when he can. Well, they are definitely running. Timeout Michigan. 33-26 Illini.

14:13 Douglass has a two-on-one with Harris cutting to the hoop. Here is my thought process:

GO! Nice steal! He's got Manny on the wing. Take it- wait…

What’s he doing? He’s slowing… He’s not going to sho- NO! #@$%!!!!!!!!!!!

(Missed three)

Uhhhhhh, OK. Five steps more and he’s got Harris on the low block. Wide open.

5 seconds later...

Coach Beilein: "Five more steps for the wide open lay-up!"

See? Me and Coach see eye-to-eye on plenty of stuff.

12:26 Meachem with a dagger three. Manny with the runner that goes too long. Crowd is roaring behind us. It looks as if Illini was the only team to buy second session tickets.

Bill Martin just used his phone to cancel his hotel reservation for tonight.

10:27 Sims with a steal and the forced foul at the other end. Splits the pair. Just notced Jeffrey Jordan has a “Jumpman” tattoo on his entire right shoulder. Jeff, your dad is Michael Jordan. Everyone knows this! This might be the worst tattoo decision I’ve seen in a long time.

9:20 Sims walks after getting good low post presence. Mich looks a step slow and every three is landing short. That’s a sign of tired legs. See Iowa/Mich live blog below.

7:08 Davis has 20 pts and ten boards. I don’t know what they thought was going to happen defensively here, but he can’t miss. This is just unbelievable. If they send Wright out there to guard Davis, Tisdale runs the pick-and-pop with McCamey. They just don’t have the weapons and strength to guard UI at this point.

4:12 Sims for 3 from 19 feet… even though Rob had the call and said it was a 30 footer! Like Belushi giving his speech in Animal House, Rob was in the moment and we are letting it slide. Momentum is starting to swing slightly at this point.

3:29 Sims on the lay-up. Down by 7. UI controls. Here we go.

2:55 Davis squashes that run with the turnaround. Novak tosses it off Sims’ hands and into the back court. Over and Back. This is the basketball equivalent of “blue balls.”

UM Band plays “Living on a Prayer.” Cliché and not necessary.

1:06 Someone just yelled out “What are you doing Hightower?” That’d be great except… Eddie did the first game at noon. Valentine (the ref from this game) probably gets this a lot, but looks nothing like Ed, except for the fact that they are both black. For future reference, Hightower has hair… Valentine has very little of it left.

0.00 Terrible finish. 60-50 Mich loses. Interesting towards the end, but I’m not really happy with how things went. Michigan shot terribly and got very little from both Sims and Harris. We all know how what happens if both those things occur. Leaving the game tonight to head back, as are the kids from WOLV and the Daily.

Best Moment of the Weekend: We have a tie! Getting to meet Gus Johnson over beers at the BTN media party, or getting to say “hello” to Erin Andrews. Media Relations director Bruce Madej got a hug from EA, so this trumps anything WCBN achieved this weekend. Although I got to give props to Gus for taking a couple minutes to chat and let us ask some questions.

We’ll be back next week, hopefully with a full broadcast. Hope you enjoyed the blog, and we’ll have a tourney preview (with a special guest) hopefully later this week.

Until then…

Friday, March 13, 2009


Game 2 for Michigan and our second attempt at broadcasting.  Join WCBN LIVE at 6:30 tonight for the Big Ten Quarterfinals.

Coverage begins on YouCastr on 6:30pm and continues on WCBN at 7pm.

Want a Job?

...Me too. Currently, I am looking for employment in one of the worst job markets of the past 80 years. I have been looking for jobs all over campus and there really wasn't much available, so I met with academic adviser and she suggested that I attend the Big Ten Career Expo.

When I first heard this I thought, "Hey! This is great. I'll be there for the tournament AND get a job AND miss class! Sweet." I would go to the first game against Iowa and then stay for the fair the next day, or lose. Stu and Rob would both join me and we would hit the market for work. Things were looking up.

Wrong. Very Wrong. In fact, we were more wrong than the Ann Arbor News trying to bust Prof. John Hagen.

The Expo was, to put it nicely, was terrible. Here is an indication of how bad things actually were:

1. The NCAA, the biggest sponsor of the event, wasn't taking resumes or applications. Strike One.

2. U of M actually had their own booth set up for jobs within the University. However, when I talked to the woman standing at the table and told her what my major was, she cringed and pity-walked me to a table she thought might have something for me. They didn't. Strike Two.

3. The majority of companies were looking for student interns with the potential of hiring someone for free via school credit. Clever, but not what the grown men and women of this expo wanted to hear. Strike Three. We're done. This all happened from 10am to 10:30am. You think Canseco Fieldhouse serves breakfast? (In case you were wondering if they did.... that would also be a "No.")

This job fair must have had people of all ages there, alumini and students from all Big Ten schools and others. However, most came away with the same feeling. Stu printed off 10 resumes and only gave out 2. I gave out 2 of my 6 resumes printed. I can't imagine things were much different for other folks.

People are looking for answers to this crisis everywhere. Whether it be the Big Ten Career expo, or your university academic adviser, no one has the answers for what to do. A lot of landing a job these days is who you know and, in some instances, just dumb luck.

As we left the job fair, our will to work having been slightly broken, we saw some kids we know from WOLV-TV heade towards the career fair. They smiled, said, "hello" with their portfolios in hand. They asked us how the job fair was with smiles on their faces.

All we could do was utter a disappointed chuckle as we head toward the stadium to find breakfast.

So I've got a few hours until the Wolverine game tips off. What should I be doing? Where should myself, and others, be looking? Tips for applications and resumes? Leave them in the comments section.

Also, look for a live blog later about the Michigan/Illinois game. Until then....

LIVE Blog: Syracuse vs UConn (from the 5th OT on)

We at WCBN have a tradition where any game that goes into five overtimes gets a live blog. So here we are, 12:45 AM in a Holiday Inn Express in Indianapolis live blogging from bed.

When we got back to the hotel at about 10:30 we were planning on watching the Cavs/Suns game. Flipping through the channels, we saw that the Syracuse/UConn game was close with five minutes or so to go in the second half so we decided to watch the end of that and then flip back to LeBron and Co (which had just tipped off).

Well here we are about two hours later still watching UConn/Syracuse as the Cavs/Suns enter the fourth quarter? What are the odds this college game ends before the Cavs?

4:30: Ofensive foul, must mean someone else has fouled out. In another minute or two we're gonna get the waterboys to suit up. Adam Sandler anyone?

3:45: Another offensive fouls...too bad the refs get paid by the game, not by the foul...they'd be raking in the dough this game.

3:15: Flynn's going to have played over 60 minutes by the time this game is over...West Virginia's gotta be sleeping well tonight knowing whoever they play might not wake up by tip-off tomorrow.

2:30: These teams are exhausted. Can we get a mercy timeout?

2:01: ESPN threw up the stat earlier - this is the fourth quadruple OT game this season in the NCAA. Really? Who played the other four

2:00: There goes Devendorf...Syracuse now has two guys in there who hadn't played a minute all night before the OT's started.

1:55: ESPN's crew is making a big deal about a walk-on coming into the game right now for Syracuse. Big Deal! Michigan regularily plays two walk-ons!

1:30: I proposed this back in the third OT before we felt the need to live blog: I say that for games that go to OT, players are allowed one extra foul before fouling out. This way you don't have guys who haven't played all year deciding the Big East Championship.

1:20: We've been watching this so long that Rob's foot's fallen asleep.

1:05: It's been an hour and twenty minutes since Devendorf hit what appeared to be the game winning three. As Rob said, I bet the refs really wished that they had just counted that bucket and ended it.

1:00: Jim Boeheim wins the award for best facial expressions of the NCAA postseason thusfar. It's a surprise that he has any hair left on his head at this point.

0:56: Even the bench players have fouled out at this point. Another OT or two and it's going to be a 3-3 halfcourt game with make-it, take-it.

0:35: He's played two minutes all night but he might have hit a game-winner right there. Who's he? I have no idea. Hagelson? What's a Hagelson?

0:20: Gotta love Johnny Flynn's body language which helped that second free throw rattle it's way home.

0:00: No way. OT #6 here we come! Current debate in room 215 is what exactly one calls a sixth overtime. Sextuple OT, right?

How come everytime this college game goes to a timeout the cavs game is a commercial as well? The Cavs game is going to end before the college game despite starting two hours later!

Syracuse has never led in any of the overtimes. That is astounding.

OT #6
4:45: Finally, Syracuse has their first lead in overtime. Matt's right, this is like a bad pick-up game on one of the CCRB side courts. Matt's making a lot of good points:

  1. Most the starters will be fine and rested for tomorrow since they've been fouled out for the last three or four OT's
  2. It's a good thing Ed Hightower isn't on this game or there wouldn't be anybody left to play on either side
3:20: UConn is just forcing terrible shots, Syracuse has a chance to pull away. Looks like this won't tie the NCAA record of 7 OT's

2:50: Do you think that kid woke up this morning thinking that he'd get his first rebound of the season in a sixth overtime tonight?

2:34: That could be the dagger. Walk-on #11 got stuffed by the rim but stayed with it getting the basket and the foul

2:30: The timer is falling asleep as the clock didn't start for a few seconds after the free-throw.

2:25: Apparently they taught Jay Bilas how to play Sodoku at Duke. He just compared the line score to the game.

1:38: Game time thus far is three hours and twenty minutes. Seven players have fouled out. I think it's just about safe to say that this one is over. I think UConn keeps their #1 seed

1:16: Wow this race is close. 1:16 left in the college game, 1:46 left in the Cavs game. Which will end first? It's going to be close. Matt has the college game, I'm going to go with the Cavs.

0:58: UConn is doing it's best to keep it interesting but Syracuse is going to come away with this well deserved win. They didn't lead until the sixth overtime but they hung tough and hit the clutch shots when they had to. Great college basketball game and great way to start the madness. We'll be back with you tomorrow live blogging Michigan vs Illinois. By the way, the college game finished about a minute and a half before the cavs game ended.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

LIVE BLOG: Big Ten Tourney: Game 1

After a pilgrimage-like drive through the cornfields of Indiana, we arrived in Indy for the 2009 Big Ten Tourney. Our (Me, Stu, and Rob) original plan has us sneak-broadcasting, but given that we are two rows behind the bench, someone would notice. So we went with the live blog instead. Always fun, entertaining, and very off the cuff. I was a little intimidated since I saw the LaX live blog that Stu did this week. The response was good…. So good that we had an actual celebrity write Stu to give him praise (I’ll let Stu tell that story later… we may even get this woman to do a podcast. Who knows?)

Anyways, here is the live blog. This was written at the game and then edited after we got back to the hotel. Enjoy!

1:47pm: Minnesota vs. Northwestern is still going on, so me, Rob, and Stu are trying to see the game through the glare off Tubby Smith Jr.’s bald spot. I won’t complain with courtside seats, though. Good game though! The first half was slow with the Gophers getting out to the early lead. The media hospitality room started showing the Providence/Louisville game because it was so bad.

(Speaking of the Big Ten, Stu has 7 teams from the B10 in the tourney right now. I agree. Rob is skeptical, but willing to go along with this assessment).

1:56: Northwestern down 7 with 1:11 to go. Hellooooo, NIT!

2:04pm: Gophers beat up on the Wildcats and stretch it out to a 13 pt. win. The Gopher mascot is the last person in the “sportsmanship line” for shaking hands with the other team. If I were Kevin Coble, I’d hit him in the face. That’s just insulting. I would’ve gone “Randall Simon” upside his fury head.

OK, so we are about 25 minutes to tip-off at this point. I got to hand it to Minnesota. They traveled extremely well and had a nice little cheering section across from their bench. Same with Northwestern. As for your Maize and Blue? Nope. Barely any students and no group seating.

2:24pm: We have our first Erin Andrews sighting of the day! Talking to assistant coach Jerry Dunn… during which she was heckled by two 30 yr. old men behind me. It’s real hard to feel sorry for someone that pretty, but she gets this everywhere she goes! More on EA later. 4 minutes to tip-off.

2:30pm: The UM band just tried to start the GO-BLUE chant with five fans sitting in the middle section courtside. This school has seen prouder moments.

GAME TIME: The time counter will now coincide with game-clock.

18:03: Officials for today’s game are Steed, Gray, and Crawford. Eddie Hightower did the MN/NU game, so this game shouldn’t stop every 30 seconds. Gotta love Ed’s animated calls though. Dick Bavetta he is not.

16:49 : Sims draws a foul on Cole after a nice post-up move. Sims can get basically anything he wants from these guys but whenever I watch him play, I can’t help but think he ends up like a Corliss Williamson-type player in the pros: A guy with huge upside, but kind of a tweener without a niche. I reallllllly hope I’m wrong about this.

14:44: Michigan has worked the ball in the post nicely so far. Sims all but two of the Wolverine points…Nice block by Stu Douglass! Talk about a kid who has turned things around mid-season. He looks more comfortable in transition and doesn’t pick up his dribble anymore.

12:48: Sims is 6 for 6 with 12 points, all within 8 feet of the hoop. Iowa has no answer.

12:20 Sims again with a fall-away J at the free throw line! He has alllllll of Michigan’s points and is on fire! 14 points in 8 minutes.

***Just as I’m typing this, Beilein takes Sims out of the lineup!! What?!? Talk about taking your foot off the gas. (Post Script: Looking back on the game, this was a good move by Beilein. Sims was really pumped and this move probably evened him out a bit. I criticize his lineup changes a lot, but Beilein made the right move here).

10:51 Sims turnaround on the low block! I’m beginning to see a pattern…. (PS): This was the point in the game where we all thought he was going to go for 30+. The Michigan Daily guys floated out the idea and it slowly started gaining momentum.

10:28: Harris with the “And-1” off a pretty feed from David Merritt. Michigan looks like-dare I say it- a tournament team. I thought this day would never come! Somewhere, Robert Traylor is eating his 6th slice of cake to celebrate.

9:44: LLP with his second three of the game. This guy must love big arenas because he’s had his both his biggest games in big arenas (The Barn and the Palace). Bright lights and big stage. However, he looks to have taken my advice and is extending the follow through nicely. He must read the blog.

7:58: The Big Ten and the Big Ten Network are taking this tournament as an opportunity to advertise their new shows, including Eddie George’s new show. I’ve seen the commercial 5 times and still can’t tell you what this show is about. Great job, BTN. Stu has a list of every time we see the commercial. The over/under has been set at 20 for the day. I’m taking the under.

6:00: Gibson got a nice feed in the post, chucked it high off the backboard and ball over to the Hawkeyes. One interesting note about Gibson. Each team is given a booth in the concourse area to show off jerseys and trophies. His jersey is the only one Michigan has in their little booth. Were Nos. 34 and 3 sold out at the M Den? Hell, I would’ve opted for a CJ Lee jersey!

5:08: Harris Dunk. 30-17 Wolverines rolling!!!

3:10: Michigan SID Tom Wywrot gets a little hug from Erin Andrews. Tom’s one of the best SID’s Michigan has in the Media Relations Dept… and I’m not saying that just because I’m hoping he gives me her number. Tom also just became the envy of all the men sitting in Section 8 of the lower bowl. Sims hits a pair of FTs for 18 points IN THE FIRST HALF. He looks like a young Antonio McDyess (Rob says I’m being too generous. Probably true, but 18 points in 20 minutes? Just for today I’m going with this)

1:19 Michigan up 38 to 17 on Iowa. Nice little 8-0 run the past few minutes. ..Timeout on the floor. Zack Novak is bleeding (go figure). A cut on the hand. He should be back. He’s a hockey player.

HALFTIME: Here is the Halftime story as told by Stu Zaas:

Deshawn Sims has dominated, leading all scorers with 18 points on 8-8 shooting from the field and 2-2 from the free throw line. Seven of his eight buckets have been assisted on and if Manny Harris can finish off a triple-double he’ll have Sims to thank. Harris has eight points, five boards, and five assists (four of them to Sims) at the break. Michigan as a team has been passing the ball around extremely well as they have 12 assists on 15 field goals. The extra passes have led to great looks and a much improved shot selection which has contributed to the team’s torrid 68.2% field goal shooting percentage.

I’ll take this opportunity to add that Conseco Fieldhouse is one of the nicest places I’ve ever taken in a basketball game. It reminds me of the Palace but a whole lot smaller and thus more intimate. The seats are only about 40-50% full for this game with Indiana fans dominating the attendance as the Hoosiers will look to pull the upset and end Penn State’s NCAA Tournament hopes in this afternoon’s final game.

****Quick note before the second half: In the media hospitality room, I got coffee right next to Erin Andrews and we exchanged pleasantries. From now on, I can say I “got coffee with Erin Andrews.” No one is going to take this away from me. I refuse to hear otherwise. Mike Titus, eat your heart out.


18:35: Iowa scores two quick unanswered hoops. CJ Lee answers with a nice move to the rim. Look at old-man grad student being assertive! The WCBN/Daily Coalition agree that Lee was probably the kid in 3rd Grade YMCA Leagues who always had his shirt tucked in, and got way too excited over pass deflections out of bounds when he is cheering on the bench.

17:01 Sims from the baseline. 9 of 10 from the floor and 20 points on the day. Ridiculous. Nasty. Stupid. I’m running out of adjectives… 47-26 now off the Douglass triple.

15:45: Sims dunks the lob from Manny Harris. 22 for Sims on 2nd alley-oop dunk of the season.

Timeout Iowa. SLAMMM IT HOME, DeSHAWN!!! During the timeout, we see two commercials on the Jumbotron…. And there is Eddie George!...again, plugging his show. I’ve asked five people what that show is about and no one knows. This commercial has been plugged more times than The Watchmen.

15:16: Three for Sims! 25 points and shooting the lights out. Guess he took the 2nd Team All-Big Ten thing kinda personally.

Kelly gets his fourth for Iowa. 54-28 Wolverines. Looks like I’m going to have an extended stay in Indy, Dad!!

13:25: Gibson gets a nice dime from Harris on the high screen and roll. Harris is 10pts, 6 Rebs, 8 Asts. He’s obviously looking to pass, hitting Douglass who misses a three. He’s been watching Lebron this week, and thought the triple double might be fun. 56-32 Big Blue

Timeout: Stu and I have come up with the rankings of preferable tournament cites we would like to cover for Michigan’s first round game. They are ranked in order with estimated drive times: Miami( 22 hrs.), KC (11hrs), Philly (8hrs), Greensboro (11hrs), Boise (27hrs), Dayton (3 hrs), and Portland (34 hrs)

6:25: 61-36 Wolverines…. BUT Sims and Harris are still in the game. The Coalition all are trying to figure out why the two best players are playing in a blowout when the prospect of 4 games in 4 days looms overhead.

6:09: Harris hits a three to go up 64 to 36. Uhhhh, Coach B? Hello?….

4:38: Harris with a stat-padding three…. IN A GAME YOU’VE ALREADY WON!!!! What are you doing?!?! Keep these last 10 minutes in mind when you are watching the Illinois game. I need a cigarette… and I don’t even smoke.

4:26: Lee and Sims and Harris come out of the game… I’m putting down my cigarette

3:29: Timeout Michigan. Erin Andrews was just put up on the Jumbotron for the “Flex Cam” and showed off the guns. Highlight of the game! I always worry this will happen to me, much to the disappoint of all in attendance. I better see this on Youtube tomorrow.

2:48: CJ Lee says, “Start drinkin’ for tomorrow!” on the bench. Good advice from the captain… Grady into the game for the first time.

1:45: Douglass with the jam! Starters up off the bench in approval… Novak looks jealous.

47.5: Eric Puls into the game after Beilein says “This is how we earn victories!” Over/under 0.5 three point attempts for Eric Puls. I got the over. Stu has the under. Fasten your seatbelts.

46.1 Puls into the stat sheet with one foul! Cyrus Tate (who really fell of the map after last season) makes a pair. 73-45 Blue.

9.2 Puls for threeeeeee!!!!!! A miss…. But I still win the bet. I’ve been 1 for 2 on over/under bets today.

0.0 Game. Set. Match. Illinois tomorrow. Sims with 27, Harris with 18, 7, and 8.

Final Thoughts: Sims says that he “Can get a little crazy” sometimes and said he never started a game as hot as he did today. Coach Beilein is very happy with the maturity of his players.

Assuming things go like they did today, we’ll be doing this again tomorrow. Hopefully it lived up the Lacrosse blog.

Until tomorrow…