OMDQ will close you out again tonight, and bring you whichever game they’re showing. He’ll start with Holy Cross-Southern Illinois.

Southern Illinois #4 West Region:

Conference Missouri Valley
Location Carbondale, IL
Coach Chris Lowery (since 2004)
Arena The SIU Arena
Record 27-6 (15-3)
NCAA Appearances 9
NCAA Record 4-9 (.308)
Last Bid 2006
Last Win 2005

Holy Cross #13 West Region:

Conference Patriot League
Location Worcester, MA
Coach Ralph Willard (since 1999)
Arena Hart Recreation Center
Record 25-8 (13-1)
RPI 62
NCAA Appearances 11
NCAA Record 7-11 (.389)
Last Bid 2003
Last Win 1953

“Here I am
The one that you love
Bloggin’ for another day
Understand the one that you love
Loves you in so many ways.”

Yes, it’s true – I love each and every person who is reading this right now. If I could have you all in My Five, I totally would.

Anyway, now that it’s awkward in here, let’s do this. If you weren’t here last night, my name is Brian, my blog is One More Dying Quail, and I’ll be hanging out here until the last whistle of the last game this evening. Please, join me.

9:43 – We have a few minutes before So Ill attempts to represent for the state of Illinois against Holy Cross. My wife asked me earlier, “What the hell is a saluki?”, so I thought I’d deal with that now, just in case anyone else was wondering the same thing.

A saluki is a Middle Eastern dog, one of the oldest known breeds. According to Wikipedia, they can outrun any other animal over a three mile course and are the only dog not considered unclean by the Bedouin. Exciting, huh?

If the selection committee had any sense of humor, they would have matched Southern Illinois up with the Albany Great Danes. It would’ve been the best dog related event since Puppy Bowl III.

9:58 – Sorry about the late start. The gremlins over at Blogger headquarters unplugged some cables or something. Bastards. (I should mention that I stole the gremlins joke from Tom King of the Nashua Telegraph. He uses it every time something electrical goes bad at Holman Stadium, which is often.)

10:00 – This game will not be Tennessee-Long Beach State or Kansas-Niagara; at the 15:34 mark of the first half, it’s tied at 4.

10:02 – My fifteen minutes of research on this game revealed an interesting fact (at least to me): Southern Illinois guard Cornelius Christian attended Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, NH. Don’t see that too often. Unfortunately, Christian isn’t seen too often either – literally. He’s listed on the roster as a freshman, but didn’t appear in a game all season.

10:05 – Offensive foul on the Salukis. Holy Cross commits the sympathy offensive foul on the opposite end.

10:06 – Both teams are in the top ten nationally in fewest PPG allowed.

10:07 – A pair of awful shots from Holy Cross, including a wide open ten-footer that hits nothing but glass…if this keeps up, they might not break 40.

10:08 – Holy Cross hits one of two free throws to make it 6-5. So Ill misses badly on the other end, Holy Cross brings the ball up and loses it, So Ill turns it over…we were just told that there are almost as many turnovers as points. Bill Simmons must be delighted right now.

10:09 – Holy Cross gets it inside for an easy two. So Ill finally hits an outside show, with Matt Shaw nailing the three. The Salukis lead, 9-7.

10:12 – They’re leaving this incredibly thrilling contest for a look at Arkansas-USC. Arkansas leads early, 7-4. Then it’s off to Villanova-Kentucky, tied at 18 (but you’re reading Extra P’s live-blog, so you already kwow that). And Florida-Jackson State is 9-6. Back to Columbus – woo hoo!

10:14 – Holy Cross has broken it open in our absence – four straight points for an 11-9 lead. At this pace, that might hold up for awhile.

10:15 – Two free throws for the Salukis ties it at 11 with under ten minutes in the first half.

10:16 – Shot clock running down, Holy Cross gets the ball in to Eric Meister for the bucket and the foul. He back rims the free throw, but gets the sympathetic bounce – 14-11, Holy Cross.

10:17 – Southern Illinois with ANOTHER push-off for an offensive foul.

10:20 – “This is the definition of ‘half-court grinder’.” – Tim Brando

“Half-court grinder” is a euphemism for “shitty offense”.

10:21 – Back from the timeout, Holy Cross scores again for a 16-13 lead. After a foul, junior center Tim Clifford enters the game for the Crusaders. I like him because he’s a local guy (Walpole, MA) and he wears 00.

10:23 – So Ill turns the ball over, but Holy Cross – surprise, surprise – hands it back. Salukis ball at the eight minute timeout, still trailing 16-13.

10:24 – Might be time to consider a switch to WordPress. The gremlins are back.

10:26 – “This is the floor that Ohio State plays their home games on, although of course this is not their home arena.” – Brando

What? Can somebody explain this to me like I’m a child?

10:28 – Tim Clifford is a big dude, but he looks too friendly to be much of a player. Although he did average almost twelve points and five rebounds this year, so maybe I just don’t know what I’m talking about.

10:30 – So Ill goes on a 4-0 run and leads 17-16.

10:31 – Holy Cross guard Keith Simmons averages nearly 18 points a game. He just scored his first tonight, on a game tying free throw.

10:32 – Torey Thomas with a great steal for the Crusaders, leading to a decent shot inside. It doesn’t fall, but Simmons is fouled again and drains both freebies. So Ill answers with their first field goal in over four minutes (thanks, TB) to retie it at 19.

10:33 – This hasn’t been a well-played game thus far, but it’s compelling nonetheless. Neither team has demonstrated a willingness to take over and pull away.

10:34 – Tatum to Shaw for the alley-oop and it’s the Salukis by three, 22-19. That play looked like the lobs we used to throw in junior high school, when no one could jump high enough to dunk but we all wanted to look cool anyway.

10:36 – Timeouts suck. We just had one, So Ill scored on a goaltending call when Greg McCarthy took the ball off the rim, and now we’re in a TV timeout. Ridiculous. It can’t be easy for a less-talented team to deal with the constant starts and stops like that.

10:39 – Bryan Mullins picks off a Holy Cross pass and takes it the distance for two. The Salukis are working on that run I was just talking about. Holy Cross scores a two, then another lob pass nets two more for the Salukis.

10:41 – After a missed three and a foul, two free throws make it 28-23 Southern Illinois.

10:42 – Again the Salukis force a bad shot and fast break it out, but the layup won’t go. Holy Cross turns it over on a travel. They can’t afford to fall too far behind – the way they’re shooting tonight, any deficit over ten will be damn near impossible to overcome.

10:43 – Shaw sinks two free throws to make it 30-23. Meister answers on the other end with a short jump hook in the paint – 30-25.

10:44 – Big play right before the half – Southern Illinois tosses up a wild shot at the last second, Shaw goes up for the rebound and lands on Pat Doherty’s foot. He was down for a couple minutes but managed to limp off. At the half, 30-25, So Ill.

10:49 – Run Up The Score! said…If I was playing against Florida, I’d send my most athletic benchwarmer down the lane to kick Joakim Noah in the fucking face. I actually daydreamed about being that benchwarmer about 30 minutes ago.

I had to share it with someone…

I’m proud that you chose to share that with me. You should be doing the Florida game with inner rage like that.

10:50 – Speaking of Florida…who wants some bonus halftime coverage?

10:51 – Florida led by eight just moments ago…Jackson State is on a 9-2 run to cut it to 38-35.

10:52 – Offensive foul on the Gator. I have seen enough offensive fouls tonight to last a lifetime.

10:53 – “The longer Jackson State hangs in there, the more of this neutral crowd they’re getting.”

It’s official – Jackson State is Rocky, Florida is Ivan Drago.

10:54 – Joakim Noah sits. Brewer hits two free throws to push the lead back to six, 41-35.

10:54 – Show of hands…who expected Jackson State to be anywhere near the lead at this point?

10:55 – Excellent defense by State, knocking the ball loose and creating enough chaos to get a breakaway. No payoff, however – the ball is mishandled under the basket and goes out of bounds.

10:56 – Young with a three at the buzzer, but it won’t go. Florida leads Jackson State by six at the half, 41-35.

10:59 – Holy shit, this is inspired! The classic moment CBS chooses to show is Laettner’s shot against Kentucky in the regional semifinals what, fifteen years ago? The fact that this aired the day after Duke’s worst tournament performance since 1996 might mean that CBS is my new favorite network.

11:03 – I know you’re all still wondering about salukis, so here you go:

11:10 – Just to be fair, here’s a self-styled “crusader”. I was gonna say something about his World of Warcraft comments, then I realized that I am live-blogging a basketball game. So yeah…never mind.

11:12 – I made a vow to not commment on this game anymore until someone scored. So Ill finally got on the board at the 16:20 mark. The second half scoring thus far? 1-0.

11:13 – Make that 2-1; it only took four minutes, but Holy Cross scored the first field goal of the second half. They’re down four (31-27) at the TV timeout, with “Little” Torey Thomas headed to the line for two shots.

11:16 – Back from the break, Thomas hits both free throws to cut the lead to two. Word on Shaw is that he has a high ankle sprain and probably won’t return. Foul away from the ball on So Ill…doesn’t matter, though, as they steal it back on the next trip down the floor.

11:19 – Salukis finally hit their first field goal of the half. Celebration time, come on!

11:20 – Beautiful pass from Jamaal Tatum to Tony Boyle for two. He threaded the needle perfectly on that one.

11:23 – Under thirteen minutes to play, Southern Illinois leads by six. And they’ve done it while scoring a whopping five points in just over seven minutes.

11:25 – Mullins hits the second three of the night for So Ill to make it 38-29. Doherty answers back with a three at the other end. Brando points out that Doherty is only the third Holy Cross player to score a field goal in this game. Torey Thomas becomes the fourth moments later with a breakaway layup that trims the lead back to four, 38-34.

11:27 – This game reminds me a lot of Gonzaga-Indiana last night; the Hoosiers maintained a constant small lead, then extended it to about ten and held it there until the end. So Ill is doing the same thing, although with twelve minutes left they haven’t been able to hold the lead above four or five points.

11:31 – The Salukis use a 4-0 “run” to get the lead back to eight.

11:33 – Three Holy Cross field goals trim the lead back to five, 42-37.

11:34 – Brando and Mike Gminski inspire me with a discussion on famous Southern Illinois alumni. They mention Walt Frazier; Wikipedia gives me Brandon Jacobs and Patti McGuire. I’m efforting a McGuire picture as we speak.

No mention of Bill Simmons during a similar Holy Cross discussion.

11:36 – Down six, Holy Cross misses an open layup, gets the rebound, misses again, gets the rebound, then turns the ball over when the player who receives a pass is standing on the end line. Great offensive possession.

11:46 – The last ten minutes just disappeared into the Internets thanks to Blogger. They’re fucking sucking shit tonight. Can you tell I’m upset.

11:47 – You should be too – now you have to wait longer for a nice picture of Patti McGuire.

11:48 – Alright, here she is, courtesy of the PMG Appreciation Site:

(Disclaimer: There is some NSFW content – boobies and stuff – when you scroll down in that link. Consider yourselves warned)

11:52 – Holy Cross hits one of two free throws to cut it to 52-46. At the other end, Tim Clifford commits his fifth foul – he’s gone with nine points.

“He’s a 40% free throw shooter, so that’s a victory of sorts.” – Brando, after a Holy Cross player made one of two from the line.

11:54 – Clifford weeps.

11:55 – Holy Cross is shooting 32% from the floor. Torey Thomas (1-for-12) and Keith Simmons (0-5) are turning in less than memorable performances.

11:56 – What does “Game Reset” mean?

11:57 – The Salukis lead 55-47 with under two minutes to play.

11:58 – “Tatum, ooping for Falker.” – Brando.

11:58 – “That was an alley-oop.” – Brando, literally two seconds later.

11:59 – Southern Illinois has the lead up to nine. Holy Cross turns the ball over with 1:29 left. I normally try to remain optimistic at all times, but this one is over. No way the Crusaders score nine points in the next 89 seconds.

12:00 – Looks like about six minutes left in the Arkansas-USC matchup. I’m guessing we’ll get kicked over there pretty soon. Villanova-Kentucky is a final (67-58 Kentucky – the Wildcats get Kansas in Round 2) and Florida Jackson State has devolved into a blowout in the second half (112-69 Gators – just went final. RUTS will be happy).

12:03 – Exactly a minute to play, 61-47 Southern Illinois. Holy Cross is pressing but not fouling, which is good – no sense delaying the inevitable.

12:04 – The Salukis will face Virginia Tech in the second round. Will Leitch cannot be pleased.

12:06 – The final is in – Southern Illinois wins it, 61-51. Holy Cross should be satisfied with 51 points, considering how poorly they shot the ball.

12:07 – Simmons weeps.

12:10 – Yup, they’re sending us over to USC-Arkansas. It’s a close one – 69-54, just over three minutes left.

12:11 – March in New England: on Wednesday we had sunshine and temperatures in the low 70s. Today? Six fucking inches of snow.

12:13 – USC’s Dwight Lewis might be the least fired up person in this game right now. He just dunked on someone, drew a foul, and looked almost embarassed. I like him.

12:14 – Two minutes to go, Lewis scores again to make it 76-54, and he’s ecstatic about it.

12:15 – “Dwight Lewis with another deuce.”

Maybe he should see a doctor.

12:16 – extrapolater said…OK, Patti McGuire trumps Ashley Judd. That totally brings back memories of finding my dad’s Playboy’s under his bed.

I know what you’re talking about, E. I commonly refer to those times as “the good old days”.

12:17 – Twenty point lead means we get a glowing collage of O.J. Mayo, destined for USC next season. The play-by-play guy made a comment about how James, Oden and Mayo don’t LOOK like high school kids. His partner started talking about how they carry themselves differently, play differently, blah blah blah.

No, the difference between them and most high school kids is just what the first guy said: they look like they’re pushing thirty.

12:20 – 77-60 USC, final. The Trojans didn’t even toss up a token last second shot at the end to try for the even twenty.

12:26 – That does it for Day Two of the tournament. It’s been my pleasure to share it with all of you. As always, I am Brian from One More Dying Quail (and for the next 23 1/2 hours, Our Book Of Scrap). Stay drunk.

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