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Overlooked NCAA Games From 11-12

I have a lot of excuses for not using Twitter more often.

1. I am extremely cheap.

2. I don’t have enough time.

3. Writing witty things in real-time is a skill.

There is a reason Grantland’s content is filled with retro-diaries and not live-blogs. The most amusing writing takes time to develop. There are a handful of people who can think on their feet and make amusing observations in real time, but not that many.

(This is one of the reasons that announcers get a bad rap. They have to make observations in real time for hours at a time. How many of us have watched a sporting event with a group of people and had someone say: “Hey, I could do better commentary than that guy.” Maybe, but I doubt it. It is very hard to talk for three straight hours and not say something stupid at some point.)

But the most important reason is simple:

4. I own a DVR.

I have said it before, and I will say it again. The DVR has made almost everything on TV better. It eliminates the commercials. It eliminates the endless shots of the leaderboard in golf. It eliminates the time between the icing whistle and next puck drop in hockey. It eliminates the annoying time between the foul and the free throw when they run ads for Franklin and Bash. And it can even make events like the Spelling Bee into riveting television. (If you love the thrill of competition, watching Gifton Wright spelled harengiform was pure magic.)

But the DVR is the bane of Twitter because Twitter is best absorbed when it is live. For some reason I tend to have my most witty observations when I am watching a game on a 90 minute tape delay. And while I’m sure someone would get a kick out of me living in perpetual delay, I prefer to keep those comments to myself.

The DVR also keeps me off Twitter because Twitter is the easiest way to spoil a sporting event I have on pause. I have a tendency to look things up online during a game. Wow, South Florida’s Anthony Collins seems to be playing great basketball. Are his stats as good as he looks? But I always forget that twitter has no “pause” button. One nonchalant look at the Twitter feed and I see that South Florida’s rally just came up short. Doh!

But while the DVR is bad for tweeting, the college basketball season was full of moments that were best appreciated with the magic of recording technology.

Feb 8th, 9pm

Main Event: Duke vs North Carolina, Part 1

But the DVR saw: Notre Dame trailed West Virginia by three at West Virginia with 2:45 to go in the ball game. The Irish hit three 3’s in a row (Eric Atkins, Jerian Grant, and Scott Martin) to take the lead and pick up the win.

Why it matters in 2012-13: Mike Brey’s team does not have a lot of Top 100 high school prospects like most teams projected in the Top 25, but it has a bunch of players that can execute his offensive system. Winning at places like Morgantown is never easy, and the fact that Notre Dame could win that game is exactly why the Irish will be an upper division Big East team next season. Atkins and Grant are rising juniors, and Martin was granted a 6th year by the NCAA, so the key pieces from that road win are back.

Feb 5th, 3pm

Main Event: Getting ready for the Super Bowl

But the DVR saw: Northwestern had lost to Illinois at home by a point and were significant underdogs. Illinois was 5-4 Illinois and had just defeated Michigan St. But with the game tied at 56 with five minutes left, Northwestern made several key buckets and held on to win by 4 points.

Why it matters in 2012-13: This was the type of win that saved Bill Carmody’s job. Northwestern has blown a lot of games against key opponents, but they out-executed Illinois in this game and now Carmody gets another year to try for the school’s first every NCAA bid. With Louisville’s Jared Swopshire transferring to Northwestern and with Swopshire being eligible immediately, perhaps Northwestern can have a semblance of a defensive presence on the interior. Under Carmody the offense has usually been fine, but the defense is what needs to upgrade to reach the next level.

March 15th, 7pm

Main Event: Duke upsets Lehigh, Ohio upsets Michigan

But the DVR saw: Purdue had gained a reputation for blowing leads and not being able to close out games thanks to early season losses to Xavier and Butler. And when the Boilermakers blew an 11 point lead against St. Mary’s in the NCAA tournament, it looked like history was going to repeat itself. But the Boilermakers made some late free throws and allowed Robbie Hummel to go out with an NCAA win.

Whit it matters in 2012-13: Rising Junior Terone Johnson scored 21 points in the game, and ended the year with eight straight double-figure games. The Boilermakers lose a lot of key players to graduation, but with Johnson’s improvement late in the year, there is reason for optimism next season.

 

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