Friday, March 16, 2007

DudeSpin's Own SportsGal Reports From the Duke-VCU Debacle

We're witty here at DudeSpin, but not always that original. Of course if you believe that imitation really is the sincerest form of flattery, then we've already flattered Deadspin, and we're also paying tribute to Bill Simmons and wife (though somewhat sarcastically) by having our very own SportsGal. As The Dude has already noted, ours is actually a professional journalist, though she seems to have somewhat divided loyalties as you'll see by reading her report from the NCAA first round games in Buffalo:

First of all, I did not promise to be funny and I don't think Bill Simmons' wife is lame. You guys just don't know enough about celebrities to see the genius in her humor. Love her. Let me also add that I was at work today and went out to feed the meter (one quarter per 7.5 minutes) and the meter maid had written me a ticket and had already put it on my car and when I said I was just about to put in a quarter he took the ticket off. What a day!

So yesterday... Jason and I get a bit of a late start, hit traffic and horrible rain on the way, and then had to average approximately 85 miles per hour the rest of the way to make it in time for the 12:20 Maryland tip. Unfortunately, the New York state police didn't think too much of our plan and pulled us over, only making us later. The best part was when she was giving us the ticket (Jason had told her we were speeding to get to the game on time) and she looked in the car at Jason's Maryland jersey (Len Bias) and my Duke sweatshirt and says "What game are you going to?" Anyway, I'm able to drop Jason off in time for the tip and then pay $10 to park deep in the Buffalo housing projects.

(Right: The Cooler SportsGal poses with her partner - who is apparently a younger version of R.E.M. lead vocalist Michael Stipe)

There weren't many Maryland fans near us, and I didn't see a single non-student Davidson fan outside their little section. Sort of weird for Jason to be there watching Maryland but pretty much screaming and yelling just by himself with everyone around us not caring. Don't you worry- I had a Maryland T-shirt on under my Duke sweatshirt. When I took the sweatshirt off, the guy next to me asked if I had all the teams on. Anyway, the Md-Davidson game was really tight. Maryland got pretty much every defensive rebound in the second half, which was the only thing that saved them. The crowd gave Stephen Curry a standing ovation after he fouled out, which was nice.

Then came the most boring 40 minutes of college basketball possibly ever played. Not only do Butler and Old Dominion play super-slow, they missed pretty much every shot. The only suspense was whether either would get to 20 by the end of the first half (yes, Butler, 20 exactly). Half the crowd left before that game was over, partly because they empty the stadium during sessions and they wanted to get a seat somewhere rather than roam the cold streets of Buffalo. We first moved our car and then paid $16 each for a buffet at the bar where you could sit down and be warm, and we couldn't have been happier. People felt free to heckle me on the street for wearing Duke. That said, there were SO many people wearing Duke gear inside the arena. I'd say of the people who had some type of team apparel on, at least 3/4 had Duke stuff. The cheering for Duke was way louder when they introduced the starting lineups. But as Duke started to struggle in the game, the crowd seemed to turn about 3/4 (at least) toward VCU. Which means that either people wearing Duke stuff were also cheering against them or they were extremely quiet (Jason used a word synonymous with cats to describe them). Puzzling, nonetheless.

(Left: The NCAA granted DudeSpin exclusive floor access to cover Duke's opening round tip off against Virginia Commonwealth - an unexpected coup for a 1st year Blog. As self evident, the SportsGal's seats had a floor beneath it)

The Duke student/alumni section was extremely disappointing. Every other school wore their colors, but there were just a few blue shirts in there and they didn't cheer in unison or anything. The ending was exciting but kind of a bummer, though it did validate our decision to go Thursday rather than wait for the Saturday games. Not so much heckling on the way out... people were too damn happy. Our seats were not good, but we could see fine, and my camera is not that good for zooming, so the pictures aren't great. I can't find the camera cord though, so I don't have any yet anway. We left before the Pitt game and got home around 1:30 in the morning. We're still deciding whether to go see Maryland and Pitt tomorrow...


Head Dude said...

Well done!
It's also a reminder that the biggest misconception about the NCAAs is that there's any electricity in the first two rounds. We've all seen them in person, and know that when you split up an arena into eighths, unless you're somewhere like Lexington or have a marquee program to root against like Duke, the net effect is a lot of quiet basketball. At least in the Regionals there's more intensity, and the Final Four definitely is electric, but otherwise conference tournaments have a lot more juice. Of course, if I'm ever in driving distance of a Duke game (like last year), I still go without second thought, I'm just speaking more of the general basketball fan -- they're better off watching all of the games at home.
For our own purposes, I hope our correspondent sticks around for the Maryland game tomorrow. Especially if they lose, it's always great fun to be around. I remember the 2001 ACC tournament, where Maryland was talking before the tipoff against Duke in the semis about who they'd rather face in the finals. They were probably doing the same thing in this years ACCs, until they lost to the 12 seed.

The Dude said...

In keeping with the remote blogging theme, I will add in some tidbits from day 1 in vegas.

I, being asian, decided to print out the Sagarin Ratings at the office the night before I got here - thinking that all I would do is compare the point differentials as determined by the Sagarin pure points predictor, compare it to the line, and bet on any games where there was more than a 2 point differential between the Sagarin spread and the line.

The strategy worked beautifully, if by beautiful, you mean Britney Spears of the post K-Fed era. Not only did I do the math wrong in a game and picked the wrong team, I managed to hit the rare 5 bet parlay where I lost EVERY single bet I made. My law school roommate didn't fare much better, going 1 for 5 on his bets. Obviously, this meant that we ended the night at a Dave and Busters type of place beating 12 year-olds in pop-a-shot basketball, and I felt good about it.
We're going to catch a quick nap before going downstairs for some early morning poker. I'm going to take VCU tomorrow, and I'm not going to let Jeff Sagarin tell me otherwise.

The Franchise said...

I love it! It's DudeSpin Global this weekend with correspondents checking in from Israel, Vegas and, um, Buffalo! Catch DudeSpin fever!

Now if only that damn NCAA Tournament thing wouldn't be hurting our traffic so much. People, learn how to surf the internet and watch hoops at the same time. You'll be glad you did.

Head Dude said...

Of course I haven't seen a minute of it, but what a lackluster first two days this appears to have been. Only three games where the lower seed won, and none better than a 6 seed? That's a tremendous bust, especially when all the "experts" were predicting a wild weekend because there were no dominant teams and a lot of parity. Instead, the top 20 seeds all survived. Of course, this could also make for a much better second round, and more importantly, third and fourth round, when you have fewer low seeds sneaking in. Let's face it, outside of George Mason last year, the mid-majors are fun the first week, but usually dilute the quality of games the second week when they get hammered.

The Franchise said...

I don't know, the second day's games were better. There were some close, back-and-forth type games, it's just that the higher seeds pulled them out. But when there are only three first-round upsets (and one was a 9-8, so that shouldn't even count) AND one whole half of the bracket where all the higher seeds won AND some of the top seeds really, really annihilated their opponents, it's hard to argue that this tourney is anything but a stinker so far.

Now if Winthrop and VCU are still alive next weekend, then we might have something.

SportsGal said...

update: We sold the tickets last night to our next door neighbor, so we're not going to go today. If Duke were still in I think we would have made the drive again, but it's a lot of driving just for Pitt and the Terps. Now we're just hoping that these are not the two greatest second round games ever played.

The Dude said...

Day 2 morning update from Vegas.

Apparently, playing poker isn't like riding a bike. Having not played a single hand for money in a strangers game since the last time I was in Vegas. My reading and poker skills have diminished considerably. I am now down $300 for the weekend after donating $200 to the other players at my table this morning. The big news was that one Jose Canseco was spotted playing in the same poker room we were in about an hour before we got there. One of the other players made the remark that Jose's date didn't seem all that hot, to which the dealer quipped, "she's plenty hot for the Excalibur"- a sentiment with which I did not disagree, despite having not see Jose's date. Unfortunately, Jose did not decide to stick around to play 1-3 NL hold'em at 3 in the morning. We're hoping, however, to catch him playing at the $35 buy in NL tournament we're fixing to play in 30 minutes. I would assume that he'll make another appearance there. Despite my one side bloodletting so far, I did put down the best bet I've ever made this morning - $10 on the Journey to win the tournament at 3 to 2 odds. I fully intend to use that betting slip as legal tender at some point this weekend - given the certainty of it cashing. Next update after today's slate of games.

Head Dude said...

Looks like a weak first round led to a scintillating first day of the second round. And adios to Maryland!

On an unrelated note, what's happening in the NBA? The Suns get hammered by the Pistons and are now losing to Denver by 35, and the Spurs just lost to the Cs?!