The madness officially begins with the NCAA Tournament Selection Show in about 27 hours, but any college basketball-related lunacy from here on out is going to struggle to live up to the standard set by yesterday's action.
Let's quickly review what went down, beginning with (as always) the parts that affected us.
1. You couldn't have really asked for a much better day if you're a Louisville fan being held hostage by terrorists who say they'll only kill you if the Cards don't snag a three seed (hang in there Schmuck).
Vanderbilt lost to Arkansas in the SEC quarters
Xavier lost to St. Joseph's in the A-10 semis
Purdue lost to Illinois in the Big Ten quarters
Indiana lost to Minnesota in the Big Ten quarters
Stanford did, however, manage to knock off Washington State, which knocked the Cougs out of the race for a three seed, but likely made the Trees a lock for the same distinction. I'm going to go ahead and say that Stanford is the tenth team that's a lock to be seeded above us, which means we now have a handful of teams fighting for two three seeds.
If I had to guess - and I don't have to, but I will, because I love you - I would say that right now those two three seeds go to Louisville and Xavier. That's just a hunch, I have no idea what goes on behind those closed, skull encrusted doors in Indianapolis (of course the members of ESPN's G Team of announcers do because they participated in that "mock bracket" deal, and now they feel the need to talk about it for 20 minutes every game...you suck Mark Adams). The committee could just as easily give a break to Butler or Drake, or bump Michigan State if it wins a pair of games over the next two days.
It's all speculation for the next day, but as I watch this whole thing unfold, I'm more and more confident that the we're not going to see a number higher than four next to our names tomorrow evening.
2. Alabama/Mississippi State is the game of the year.
I'm every bit as disgusted by the SEC Tournament as you are, but there isn't going to be another contest in the next three weeks that can match the action on the floor, the crazy pair of finishes, and the bizarre backstory that we saw in Atlanta last night.
The first 40 minutes were tremendous in their own right. Jamont Gordon was predictably spectacular, and had the Dogs up three with less than three seconds to play. 'Bama - throwing the ball in bounds from the left sideline - found an open Mykal Riley, whose buzzer-beater went down, came out, and then went down again to send the game into overtime.
After a foul call about three minutes into the extra period, an extremely audible rumble could be heard, and then that rumble was accompanied by a shaking scoreboard and panicking people.
My first thought: earthquake. My second thought: bomb. My first thought after I found out what was going on: tornado.
Both teams left the floor for more than an hour while the Raycom camera crews got some awesome shots of debris that they'll be able to use for the next 70 years.
The game resumed, and culminated with 80% free-throw shooter Ben Hansbrough at the line for two with a chance to secure the win for MSU. He missed both, and after a blocked shot, Alabama had one more shot with .5 seconds remaining. The trigger man found Riley again, whose potential game-winner went down, came out, and stayed out this time.
It was likely the wildest American sporting event of the year so far, but the succeeding hours proved to be - and are still proving themselves to be - even crazier.
After about a half hour, SEC officials determined that with another storm on the way and the stability of the Georgia Dome unclear, the best move was to postpone the Georgia/Kentucky game. Of course these are the same damage specialists who were somehow able to determine in an hour that the Dome was structurally sound enough to finish the first game, but whatever.
After the initial decision made, there was talk of playing the game at 9 a.m. at Georgia Tech's 9,000-seat stadium, of giving tickets away on a first-come, first-serve basis, of having co-champions, and of having the tournament canceled completely. It was ultimately determined that the game would be played at Georgia Tech, that - in order to avoid rioting Kentucky fans - only family members and program officials would be allowed inside the gym, and that the winner would play its semifinal game later in the same day.
And so the game naturally goes into overtime.
Kentucky loses, but even if a loss to Georgia on Friday night would have knocked them out of the tournament, I'm not sure a loss to the same team on Saturday produces an equal result. The committee likes to have a pretty set bracket by the time the first games tip on Saturday, and my guess is that with the vast majority of the other bubble teams falling, they went ahead - if they hadn't already - and penciled in UK.
Georgia now plays Mississippi State this evening with a shot at Sunday's 3 p.m. final on the line. The 'Dawgs have a shot to pull off perhaps the most impressive - or at least the most interesting - four wins in four days in conference tournament history.
3. There were no weather delays in the Big Ten Tournament, just an unbelievable finish and a massive upset. Illinois became the first ten-seed to ever advance to the B-11 semifinals, doing so by knocking off second-seeded Purdue in overtime. The Illini won it's opening round game over Penn State with a lay-up just before the buzzer, which was the the best finish in the tournament before Minnesota and Indiana took the floor.
Fast forward to the final seconds, as Eric Gordon is sent to the line with his team down two and just 3.8 seconds to play. Gordon bricks the first, intentionally misses the second, and the ball catches enough of the rim that D.J. White is able to get himself in prime position for the board. He grabs the rebound, scores, and is fouled all in one motion. The call is borderline, but acceptable.
White goes crazy, but then forgets he still has to make the free-throw, which he doesn't. However, he misses so badly that the ball lands in his general area, and he's in the right place at the right time as an official decides he feels like calling a completely ridiculous rebounding foul to give the game to IU. White again misses the first free-throw, but sinks the second to seemingly put the game away. With just 1.5 seconds remaining, the Tubster draws up a play, and the subsequent length of the court pass falls into the golden hands of Blake Hoffarber, whose twirling left-handed floater sails through the basket. Hoffarber goes crazy, Tubby goes crazy, I go crazy.