6:45 p.m. – Sitting here courtside at the USC-Kansas State game, getting ready for our game. Some different rules for blogging at the NCAA tournament. We’re limited to five posts per half. Plus we need to provide this link, NCAA Blog Central. All the blogs from around the country are on there (including us).
The guys are getting over here at about 6:40 to watch some of this game. Usually when we play the second game of a session, the guys watch until about the eight-minute timeout in the second half. Once this game ends, we get 30 minutes on the floor.
Pat Riley is here, I assume scouting. He’s probably not happy that Beasley picked up two early fouls.
7:30 p.m. – I haven't figured out how to register with NCAA Blog Central yet. Hopefully they don't arrest me for illegal blogging or anything. We've got about 17 minutes left in the first game (KSU leading by nine) and our guys are still in the stands watching. Also in the stands is former Badger and current UW groupie Kirk Penney. If we struggle from the outside tonight maybe we can suit him up.
7:55 p.m. – With about 10 minutes left in the game, the Badgers head back to the locker room, getting a nice ovation from the UW cheering section. K-State has gone on a little run to open a 7-point lead. They've led most of the game despite foul trouble for Beasley. But as of right now he's got 16 points and nine rebounds.
8:21 p.m. – KSU wins 80-67. UW vs. Cal-State Fullerton in 30 minutes.
8:47 p.m. – We're just about ready to tip here. CSF is pretty small. They don't start anyone taller than 6-5. Three of our starters are at least 6-7.
8:59 p.m. – Marcus wins the tap. Pop turns it over. CSF knocks down a three. Another turnover by UW and Pop called for a foul as CSF goes to the basket. Reed makes one. Trevon misses on a drive but Marcus tips it in for our first points. Butch with a miss and CSF drives in for two. Trevon misses a three but Joe rebounds and gets fouled. Joe makes both. Akognon with another drive for two. Butch answers inside. CSF drives in for another two. Couple misses on both ends and CSF called for an illegal screen. TV timeout with CSF leading 10-6 with 15:59 left.
9:11 p.m. – Greg rattles in a jumper. CSF with an airball. J-Bo three rims out and CSF answers with one. J-Bo baseline jumper off the inbounds play, good. CSF scores inside. Marcus misses down low. Akognon fouled on a jumper. He makes one. J-Bo with a three from the corner and CSF misses inside. UW turns it over then so does CSF. Couple empty possesions both ways. Brian scores with a turnaround jumper. CSF misses a three then Mike with a pretty look to Brian for two and UW's first lead of the game. Mike drives to the basket and CSF called for a block. TV timeout with UW leading 17-16 with 10:30 left.
9:19 p.m. – UW turns it over. Brian steps in front and takes a charge. Joe knocks down a three as the shot clock is running down. CSF misses inside but UW turns it over. CSF misses a three but Mike's foot is on the line on the rebound. CSF scores inside. Brian gets his own miss and puts it back in. CSF misses inside and Mike hits Joe with a pretty pass for a short jumper. Marcus with a GREAT block where he just takes the ball. UW with a couple misses down low and ball out of bounds off us. TV timeout with UW leading 24-18 with 6:41 left.
9:27 p.m. – Greg with a big block. Marcus fouled posting up and will shoot one-and-one. He makes both. CSF turns it over. Marcus misses a three. CSF with a miss inside. Greg misses a jumper and CSF scores inside. Mike with a nice move inside for two. The teams exchange misses from three and Greg is called for a foul on the rebound, leading to the TV timeout. UW leads 28-20 with 3:56 left.
9:33 p.m. – CSF with a dunk to cut the lead to six. CSF called for a foul on Brian posting up. He'll shoot one-and-one. He misses the first. CSF drives in for two and all of a sudden its a four-point game and UW turns it over. CSF drive is blocked and J-Bo's arm is hacked off but no call. Marcus slides in front to draw a charge. Brian misses a jump hook and CSF scores on a drive. Joe misses a baseline jumper and CSF calls a TO. UW leads 28-26 with 46.6 left.
9:38 p.m. – Akognon for two on a baseline jumper and we're tied. Mike finds Joe underneath, he misses but Greg tips it back. Mike intercepts the inbounds pass and launches a three at the buzzer that rolls around and out. UW leads 30-28 at halftime.
9:48 p.m. – Some halftime stats. UW is only shooting .375 (13-of-32) from the field. CSF is 12-of-29 (.414). Both teams have nine turnovers. Akognon leads all scorers with 12 while Buth leads UW with eight. UW is winning the rebound battle 21-17. It will be CSF's ball to start the half.
10:03 p.m. – CSF scores inside to start. Marcus misses inside. CSF misses and then is called for a foul on the rebound. UW with a couple misses. CSF misses a three. Pop misses a three. CSF drives in and is fouled. Cutley makes one and CSF back in front. Joe drives inside and banks it in for two. CSF misses a three then Pop with a great drive for two and he's fouled. CSF calls TO with UW leading 34-31 with 16:57 left. Trevon will shoot one after the TO.
10:09 p.m. – Pop makes his FT. CSF misses a three and Marcus is fouled on the rebound. Marcus misses but Brian rebounds and puts it back in. On the other end Michael forces his third illegal screen call on CSF. Trevon drives and finds Joe but the ball goes through his hands. TV timeout with UW leading 37-31 with 15:55 left.
10:22 p.m. – CSF misses on a drive. Brian misses a turnaround. Couple empty possesions both ways. CSF misses a there's a scramble for the rebound. CSF calls TO. Akognon around a screen for three. CSF called for a foul, their seventh of the half. Trevon will shoot one-and-one. He makes one and Greg taps it back. Marcus shoots inside and misses (looked like a foul, but no call). CSF misses on the other end and Mike spins in for a lay-up and is fouled. He makes the FT. Greg with a block on one end and then a baseline jumper from Mike. Pop with a steal and some pretty passing ends with a Joe lay-in. CSF calls TO with UW leading 45-34 with 12:19 left. Akognon drives in for a lay-up and is fouled. He makes the FT. Pop misses a long three. CSF misses and Pop runs out for a layup. CSF shot blocked out of bounds and it will be there ball after the TV timeout. UW leads 47-37 with 11:05 left.
10:33 p.m. – CSF rattles in a three late in the shot clock. Michael answers with a three of his own from Pop. Mike reaches in and causes a tie-up, UW ball. Robinson from CSF fouls J-Bo going for a loose ball and that's his fifth. J-Bo will go to the line for one-and-one. Trevon tweaked his ankle again. J-Bo knocks down both. CSF drives and draws a foul. Cutley will shoot two. He makes one. Brian works inside for two. Akognon scores on a step-back jumper. Brian with a miss, Marcus rebounds and fights his way inside for two. CSF misses and Brian is fouled on the rebound. He'll shoot two. He misses both but the rebound goes out of bounds off CSF. UW turns it over and Akognon is fouled going in for a lay-up. He makes both. UW turns it over and Marcus sends Akognon's shot out of bounds. TV timeout with UW leading 56-45 with 7:53 left.
10:43 p.m. – Akognon drills a three and the lead is back to single digits. Mike misses a three but J-Bo rebounds. Joe called for a travel. Akognon misses a three. J-Bo misses inside but Joe flies in for a tip. Pop harrasses CSF into a turnover then the Titans are called for a hand-check. Mike to the line and makes one. Akognon buries another three as Mike is taken out by a pick. UW turns it over. CSF with a miss inside then called for another foul outside. Trevon to the line for two. He makes one then gets his own rebound and drops a sweet round the back dime to Butch for a dunk. Akognon answers with a DEEP three. J-Bo is fouled bringing the ball up and will shoot two after the TV timeout. UW leads 62-54 with 3:37 left.
10:53 p.m. – Akognon has 31 for CSF. J-Bo makes both FTs. Akognon finally misses a three. J-Bo returns the favor by missing one. Akognon misses down low. UW rebounds and runs some time off before J-Bo gets fouled and knocks them both down. CSF tosses up an airball. UW runs a bunch of time off before Mike misses a three. Marcus rebounds and dunks the follow. CSF scores inside then fouls Trevon bringing up the ball. He makes one FT. CSF fouled going to the basket. Reed misses both and Tim J. rebounds. J-Bo fouled bringing the ball up. He makes both. CSF misses and UW will win 71-56.
9:30 a.m. – On to the second round to face K-State. Before we get there, some thoughts on last night. CSF was scrappy and Akognon was definitely a very good offensive player. Not only did he have crazy range but his quickness allowed him to get inside for some short jumpers.
We only really went seven-deep but all seven contributed solidly. With a couple bounces here and there we could have had three guys with double-doubles as Brian finished with 14 points and nine rebounds, Joe had 13 and nine and Marcus had eight points and a career-high 12 boards. Michael had his usual all-around game, scoring nine points, grabbing six boards, dishing out four assists and notching two steals, all while playing the first 39 minutes of the game.
The other two backcourt players, Trevon and J-Bo, combined for 21 points. Despite foul trouble limiting him to five minutes in the first half, Pop played 18 minutes in the second half and finished with eight points, four assists and four steals. His three-point play early in the second half provided a spark and allowed UW to grow its lead. J-Bo got back on track from the free throw line, knocking down all eight of his attempts to keep UW in control late.
Though the game may have been closer than people thought, UW led by at least seven point for all of the final 13:23. Akognon was hot early (scoring eight of CSF's first 16 points) and late (he scored 13 straight points from 9:11 to 3:49) but like Coach Ryan said afterwards, its about how many points the TEAM scores and CSF's 56 points were a season low.
After the game, we got back to the hotel around midnight. We had a true midnight snack with some pizza, chicken fingers and french fries (all health food, all the time) then off to bed. This morning, breakfast isn't until 10:30 so the guys can sleep in a little. Around 3:30 p.m. we have to hed over to the arena for our media time and practice. Then the rest of the day is clear.
Howard Moore has the scouting report for Kansas State. I sat with him yesterday during their game. Michael Beasley is the real deal. Like Joe said in an interview afterwards, the most impressive thing about seeing him in person is how big his hands are. He can just snatch the ball out of the air and he is very strong with it. Bill Walker also player really well last night for KSU. He was a high school teammate of USC's O.J. Mayo and got the best of him last night. In the second round of the tournament, only 32 teams are left so you know you'll be facing someone tough.
Last thing, all the pictures below were taken by my wife, Christine, so she deserves a little shout out. Obviously she had some pretty good seats. Pays to know people, I guess.