If you read my previous blog you know I was lucky enough to get tickets to all four Thursday games in Providence at the Dunkin Donuts Center for the first round of the NCAA tournament. Well I got a little strapped for time and was only able to talk about to first two games....here are the second two.
South Region #3 Miami Hurricanes v. #14 Buffalo Bulls
When I found out the games for the Thursday slate this was the least intriguing of them. I don't really like Miami at all in any sport, kind of a scumbag school and who cares about Buffalo with anything? In a matchup that sounded more like a meeting of AFC East foes the U took on Buffalo. A game that could only be possible in the tourney.
I missed like the first 10 minutes of the game because in the break between sessions my friends went to dinner while I walked around the mall to not be tempted while on my cleanse. Since on paper this game looked like it would be a blowout; none of us were too worried about missing a little of it.
When we finally got back to our seats and saw Buffalo was still in the game I know I was excited. Nobody wants to sit and watch a blowout between two teams you don't care about.
In the second half Miami got up to like a 12 point lead and it looked like it was going to end of being the blowout Vegas expected. Buffalo wouldn't go down without a fight though and got within 4 late to make it an interesting last two minutes. Even with that this game was whatever. Pretty boring, and was very hard to follow up after the amazing Yale-Baylor game. Maybe if I was able to write more about it on Friday I'd have a better memory of it, but this game despite ending kind of close was pretty forgettable.
This game is a perfect example why they have a staggered schedule so multiple games are on TV at once. If I was at home there is a 100% chance I'm changing the channel on this game. Snoozefest city. There was even a guy sitting a row in front of me reading a Sports Illustrated. I was blown away. First off it had to be old because I saw pictures of Clemson's QB from the National Championship. Don't remember his name, maybe if they had upset Bama and I won my bet on that game I'd know his name. Second, who the hell brings a magazine to a sporting event? You're gonna drop a couple hundred bucks on tickets and read a magazine during the game? Very odd to me. People are so weird sometimes.
My number one highlight of the entire game was the Miami mascot going off for two hours.
South Region: #6 Arizona Wildcats v. #11 Wichita State Shockers
This was the game I was most looking forward to. Despite my love for Gronk I was with the Shockers all the way.
I've sorta adopted Wichita St as my tourney team the last few years just because they're an underdog despite all the success they've had keep getting disrespected by the NCAA. Last year WSU was ranked in the top 10 then lost a game in their conference tourney and got a 7 seed in the tourney. I'm no math major but with 4 regions the 7 seed should be the teams that are around 28-31 in the country....how does one loss bring you from #8 team in the country to 30???? (proof I've always had WSU's back check the dates)
Plus the fact that WSU had to play in the play in game this year is a joke and they were really underseeded. 11 is a joke. Should have probably been around a 7. They have a great senior class too in Fred VanVleet, Evan Wessel and Ron Baker. Being a good team lead by a solid cast of seniors is a rarity in college basketball nowadays.
When the game started most of my friends (and half the dunk) left because the Providence-USC game was starting too and they wanted to go watch their Friars. I however stayed because I'm a diehard (since 2016) WSU fan and had to see them play. Plus fuck PC.
A lot of the experts said this was going to be the best game of the first round and I agreed. It was a match up of two great teams with a lot of upperclassmen and experience. However that was not the case and my Shockers kicked Zona's ass. They went on a little run late but WSU still won and covered with ease.
This post isn't really to talk about the games though, it's more about my experience there and boy did I have a blast at this game.
So as I said most of my friends left to go watch PC at a bar. It was just me and my guy Don (3MP co host)left. As the game went on, more and more people left so we kept moving down to better seats as they opened up.
We ended up watching the last 10 or so minutes of the game from literally right behind the WSU bench. You can see in the pic how close we were.
We were right behind security where this guy who needs to just needs to accept the fact he is bald was holding down the fort.
Someone on WSU blocked the shit out of some bum on Zona and I can't lie I was pumped. Ive been following this WSU team for days and have fallen in love. I was amped for my guys, so I stood up and screamed "GET THE FUCK OUT" as you do after someone gets their shot swatted up into the nosebleeds.
Captain Braid-o did not appreciate this and came storming towards where I was sitting (2 feet behind him) in a fit of rage that I'm assuming was because I dropped a hard F bomb but also because he's angry that his forehead goes on for days.
He did not know who the culprit was and I'm was not gonna snitch on myself so I didn't say anything.
He just said "knock it off there are kids here" which to me is the lamest thing ever. Kids swear more than anybody. When I was in elementary and middle school (and still today) kids talked like sailors so don't give me that load of shit. When you're 9 you think you're the coolest kid on the playground when he say a bad word.
Anyways the game ends and this is where my night is truly made. First another great clip via my snapchat showing how close Don and I were.
I'm so bummed I didn't get a video of this.... After the game there was kid in a Duke jersey who is trying to get a picture with everybody on the team. WSU coach Gregg Marshall came by and took a picture but covered up the Duke on the kid's jersey. I have so much respect for that move. I loved it because first off I hate this kid for being a "Duke fan" and secondly I thought it was hilarious that Marshall covered up Duke before agreeing to take a picture. Shocker Nation doesn't fraternize with the enemy.
It's BS that just because you're a kid you should be able to get whatever you want at a game. Like if you catch a foul ball at a baseball game you're supposed to just give it to the kid by you. Fuck that, if I ever get a foul ball that ball is mine. Adults can have dreams too. I've wanted to catch one since I was a kid. Just because you're 7 doesn't entitle you to the foul ball I caught. I'm getting a little off topic but that really does piss me off.
Then after the post game handshakes and stuff with Arizona the Wichita St team runs into the tunnel and is giving everybody high fives because thats what you do after a game. Everybody is pumped that WE just moved on to the round of 32.
I got a high 5 from everybody on the team (NBD) I let them know they are my squad and that I think they have watch it takes to make the Final 4 (I'll address that in my next blog) and just let them know that I'm the biggest WSU fan in Rhode Island because it's true I am.
The only players left on the floor are VanVleet and Baker as they ARE WSU basketball and are getting interviewed. Ronny boy being the great guy that he is first goes over to the WSU fan section and sees the fans and hugged someone that I'm guessing is his mom. What happened next was the best thing that has ever happened to me. Also if you watch the whole thing you can see the Duke kid I was talking about.
Finally after WSU clears the court they put the end of the USC-PC game on the jumbotron (PC's jumbotron is AWFUL) were PC was down 1 with 3 seconds left. They inbound the ball and hit a layup/dunk couldn't really tell to take the lead and eventually win the game. I hate PC but it was pretty cool to be in the Dunk when that happened. There were a few thousand people left, mostly PC fans and they went wild. It's crazy to me how it worked out that were this game and all the post game on court stuff finally ended that there was still like 3 seconds left in the PC game and we were all able to watch the game winner in the Dunk.
I've been to a ton of memorable sporting events. I saw the Red Sox win the 2013 AL Pennant on top of the Green Monster, I've been to Patriots playoff games, I had a day where I went to Fenway during the day and a Bruins playoff game at night. Those were all awesome and definitely better just as a fan but being able to go to an entire day of the NCAA tournament in my home state was very cool and is something I'll always remember. It was a long exhausting day as I spent close to 10 hours inside the Dunkin Donuts Center but was awesome and is something I'd recommend all sport fans do once in their lifetime.