The Madness Has Started Early

Posted: March 2, 2006 in Big Ten, College Basketball, Illinois Fighting Illini, Sports

Great sports and TV day yesterday – spring training baseball games began, new episodes of American Idol and Lost were on, and most importantly, there were three great college basketball games with important implications that all came down to the final seconds with wacky and bizarre endings.  A quick recap of the early start of March Madness:

1) Ohio State 56, Northwestern 53 – This was the game that all of Illini Nation was watching last night.  The Wildcats blew the game in the last minute, which in turn eradicated their chances for an NIT bid along with all but shutting the door on Illinois grabbing its third straight Big Ten title.  That last sequence by Northwestern at the conclusion where they took about ten minutes worth of timeouts to set up a play with 1.3 seconds left, only to throw the ball out of bounds on the inbounding pass, was maddening.  Illinois can just forget about the Big Ten regular season championship and set its sights on the Big Ten Tournament and the NCAA Tournament since there’s no way that Ohio State is going to lose to Purdue on Sunday.  Lesson learned: never trust your rival to ever help you in any shape or form.

2) Florida State 79, Duke 74 – There’s no team I hate in all of sports more than Duke.  I absolutely love seeing them lose.  However, last night’s game in Tallahassee was one of the most bizarre endings to a game I’ve seen in a while.  The “Free Shoe U” students rushed the floor prematurely with 1.7 seconds left in the game.  The officials had to clear all of the people off the floor and awarded two technical foul shots to Duke.  Luckily for the Seminoles, those technical foul shots didn’t change the outcome of the game.  After the game officially ended, the FSU students of course rushed the floor again.  This wasn’t just a game against the #1 team in America for FSU; the Seminoles were also playing for their NCAA Tournament lives.  They were fortunate that they weren’t screwed because of their idiot fans. 

3) Texas A&M 46, Texas 43 – P.J. Tucker of Texas dribbled around at the end of regulation intending to allow the tied game to go into overtime.  The problem was that there was a 5.9 second difference between the game clock and the shot clock and he didn’t realize it for some reason.  As a result of the Longhorns’ shot-clock violation, the Aggies got the ball and subsequently nailed a three-pointer at the buzzer to win a game over its arch-rivals and possibly clinch an at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament.  Acie Law, the A&M player that hit the game-winner, is going to remember that shot for the rest of his life.

What’s even better is that this was just an appetizer for college hoops fans.  I seriously cannot wait for Selection Sunday to get here.

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