The greatest conference tournament in the world kicks off with what is probbaly my favorite match up of day one. Villanova is one win away from being in and one loss away from sweating it out on Selection Sunday, while Depaul is probably two wins from having people starting to bring up their huge wins earlier in the season.
If you have any thoughts or comments throughout the day, email me at MikeRuth5@aol.com.
12:01- Strange opening rap/dance montage featuring some guy with long hair wearing a Palacios jersey that actually said Palacios on the back. The delightful team of Raftery, Bilas and McDonough has the call for game one.
12:05- Reffie Redding starting in place of Mike Nardi who is nursing a calf injury.
12:07- Depaul lives and dies with Wilson Chandler, a player who could have been first team All-Conference if he really wanted to. If Chandler looks like he's come to play early then 'Nova's in trouble, if he doesn't, then they're not.
12:08- Chandler misses his first shot and then has the ball go out-of-bounds off his foot. 5-0 Nova.
12:10-- Depaul looking awful early, Scottie Reynolds drills a deep three and it's 8-0. Timeout called by Jerry Wainwright who is probably the worst coach in the league.
12:12- Depaul comes out of the timeout and runs a brilliant play that results in a turnover. Chandler hits a pull-up after a Reynolds miss. 8-2.
12:13- Under 16 timeout, 8-2 Villanova. Daddy needs some lunch. Also this year's theme music is already bugging me.
12:17- Scottie Reynolds' hot streak might be the undoing of this team, kid doesn't look like he can pass anymore. 8-6.
12:20- Nardi checks in, but then heads back to the bench a minute later. We might not see him again. 12-8 'Nova, Curtis Sumpter looks very active and effective ealry on with 7 points.
12:23- Reynonds buries another deep three after almost turning the ball over to make the score 15-9. Depaul throws the ball away at the other end and we're at the under 12.
12:30- McDonough makes enough jokes about Bilas' "lavish" lifestyle that I think he's truly jealous and upset. 'Nova 19-12 with nine minutes to play.
12:32- Pace really picking up and so are the turnovers. Draelon Burns gets a steal and then Nova is called for goaltending on his lay-up. 21-16 at the under eight. Depaul playing with a lot of energy which is good since not showing up from time-to-time has been their main issue all season.
12:37- I really don't think Depaul is coached, they just have enough talent that it isn't blatantly obvious. There's no excuse for Wainwright not guiding this team to the NCAA Tournament. Sumpter continues to dominate with 13 points and its Nova 25-18.
12:40- Chandler with his thrid consecutive miss, he's one miss away from completely quitting.
12:40- Awful charge call on Burns that should have been a three-point play, Wainwright shakes his head and says nothing to the official.
12:41- Reynolds is killing Nova. Takes an awful shot, gets a steal, misses a lay-up, and then takes and misses a bad three after the offensive rebound. Mejia and Burns score on back-to-back jumpers and its 25-24. Timeout Nova.
12:43- Sumpter and Reynolds both miss, and then Cunningham grabs the rebound and walks. It's a one-point game at the under four. Yay.
12:45- My little sister, who claimed at the beginning of the day that she was "going to get really into basketball so this day would go by faster," is now officially reading Cosmo and not talking. It should be noted that the women in my family refuse to watch anything that doesn't involve a red carpet or sexual predators being surprised by hidden cameras.
12:47- Nova goes zone. McDonough hates Bilas, he really does.
12:50- Reynolds hits an NBA three to break an 0-for-8 slump by the Wildcats. He's 3-for-12 this half and has 11 points.
12:51- Reynolds turns it over and its Sammy Mejia to the rack to the end the half. 28-26 Nova at the break. Kid needs some food.
12:52- Digger says "Mike Nardi needs to get involved" in his opening comments. It's blatantly obvious that he was sleeping during the entire first half, trying to beat the morning after spins.
1:00- I still can't believe that American kid lost the staring contest, can we deport him or something.
1:07- I spent my halftime taking a quiz from Cosmo and eating a Lean Cuisine, if you don't hear from me for a stretch in the second half it's because I'm looking for my testicles. By the way I am a Kiss-a-holic.
1:10- Sumpter hits back-to-back threes and the lead is 8.
1:11- Reynolds with a jumper and its 36-26. Must have been one hell of an inspirational talk going on in the Depaul locker room.
1:16- Redding buries a trey and its 39-28. Depaul looks a bit panicked.
1:20- Chander hits a jumper, him going crazy is about the only chance the Blue Demons have I think. 39-30 Nova at the under 16.
1:25- After a loose ball foul on Redding:
Raftery: "I don't know where the foul came."
McDonough: "He had him by the face."
1:27- Depaul en fuego. Burns for three and all the sudden its 40-37. There is no method to Scottie Reynolds' madness.
1:29- Depaul's killer instinct is in the negatives. They go three possessions while Nova is ice cold and have two turnovers and a miss. 'Nova 45-37 now.
1:30- Marcus Heard is fouled by Will Sheridan on a three and he'll shoot a trio of free-throws after the under 12.
1:40- Hanging around, hanging around. 49-44 Nova.
1:41- Nova 13-of-14 from the line, every grade-school coach in America is Tivoing this game to use in his inspirational pre-city tournament speech.
1:43- Reynolds throws it away and Depaul is fouled on the break in a game that is turning into a bit of a free-throw contest. 51-46 Cats at the under eight.
1:46- It's a three-point game again, here we go, time to get intense, this is going to be great, and...more free-throws.
1:47- Oh my goodness Wilson Chandler. Amazing reverse lay-up to make it 53-50 Nova, kid could be all-world.
1:49- You can see why Deapul hasn't been overly successful this season, and why they're not going to win this game. They just don't do the little things that good teams do in close games. They have some momentum and need a stop, and then inexplicably let Scottie Reynolds drive unimpeded to the basket for a lay-up. 57-50 Cats.
1:52- Love, love, love Sammy Mejia. He would have been a star at a place like Louisville. 57-52.
1:53- This announcing team wants to be on each other, there's no doubt. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
1:54- Demons miss an easy lay-in and then foul Reynolds. Such a Depaul move. Scottie will shoot after the under four.
1:59- Demons miss another close one. This is very close to being over.
2:00- Chandler for three and they've got some life. 59-55 Nova with 2:34 to play.
2:01- Huge shot by Reggie Redding who then comes up limping. With Nardi out, Wright's running out of guards to sub in.
2:02- Nardi's in. 61-57.
2:03- Nova 21-of-22 from the line, but Depaul just keeps fouling. 63-59 with Reynolds (9-of-10)about to shoot two more.
2:05- Mejia scores two more as the Demons get the lead back to four and Wainwright uses his last time out with 1:06 to play.
2:08- 67-61 with Reynolds about to shoot two more and 46.2 to play. This one's over.
2:10- It's almost time for today's main attraction...the unveiling of the new form fitting Nike jerseys being worn by Syracuse!!
2:14- Depaul refusing to take a three even though the laws of mathematics require it. 73-67 with 12 seconds left.
2:16- I don't understand the down eight, four seconds left, fouling. Never will. Sammy Mejia leaves the floor for the last time, he had a hell of a career and I'm sad to see him go.
2:17- Final: 75-67 Villanova.
2:18- I've got Nova making it all the way to the title game in my BE Tourney bracket, but without Nardi and Reynolds' current propensity for playing out of control, I'm not sure if they can take Georgetown. It's a team that Sumpter can't dominate, and if Nardi's not playing, they can't win if 34 doesn't score 18 or 20.
2:20- Syracuse/Connecticut and awesome form fitting jerseys coming right up.