You would think that watching a basketball game between two top-25 teams would be easy. Apparently that is not the case on an NFL Sunday. In Central Florida the NFL is king. The first three sports bars we tried were unwilling to change even the smallest television to the game.
Even our hotel was of no help. We called to see if they had WGN and they told us they did. We left Disney World and hustled back to the hotel only to find out that the person on the phone gave us erroneous information. We tried to look up another sports bar only to find that our hotel room had two residential white pages, but no yellow pages. A trip downstairs to the information desk proved fruitless. The information desk did not have a phonebook either and we were not allowed to call information.
Finally we found a Friday's that would switch on the game and we were off. Getting to the Friday's we had to talk to two hostesses, a couple of servers and a manager, but finally the game was switched on. Even better we only missed the first 2:00, but we did miss a trio of MSU threes and the Bulldogs had a 9-4 lead as I tuned in.
15:55 in the first
It looks like MSU is content to run with the Wildcats. This could be a good sign for the Wildcats. Few teams can match bucket for bucket with a Lute Olson team.
13:37 in the first
MSU goes zone, which is no surprise. What is a bit of a surprise is that the Cats are showing patience against it.
12:56 in the first
Frye draws a charge. Although Frye is at the spot it was a pretty nice acting job to draw the charge.
11:50 in the first
On one possession the Cats get five or six chances and can't score. At least they've padded their offensive rebounding stats. Of course a bucket would be a nicer stat.
11:01 in the first
After starting 3-for-3 from behind the arc, MSU is 0-5. The Bulldogs are cold.
10:03 in the first
Salim Stoudamire, however, is not cold. He just nailed a three.
8:49 in the first
Jawann McClellan is on the floor. This may not sound like much, but that kid is always sprawled out on the hardwood. Just watch the next game, he'll be down at least three times. The good news is that most of the time he is down because he is hustling for a loose ball.
8:19 in the first
Three more offensive rebounds for the Cats. You got to love the hustle on the glass, but they need to make these shots.
7:57 in the first
Cats up the lead to 11 and seem to have some of their swagger back. They are on a 14-3 run and now they need to go for the kill shot. They need to put this team away.
7:51 in the first
Pat Riley is in the crowd. His hair is still slicked back, but it is getting really long in back. Is Riley going back to his 1960's hippie look?
7:41 in the first
Another third chance for the Wildcats. They must have upwards of nine offensive rebounds.
7:14 in the first
Mustafa Shakur jacked up a bad three and is promptly pulled from the game. Even the "Golden Child" can get on the bad side of Lute Olson.
6:45 in the first
Isaiah Fox accidentally cracks Winsome Frasier with an elbow. Not quite Gene Edgerson at BYU, in fact it was not malicious at all, but he did open a nasty cut over the shooting guard's eye.
6:24 in the first
Cats have an in-and-out shot. Right now the biggest difference is that the Cats misses are all close, while many MSU misses are quite bad.
5:31 in the first
MSU gets their first field goal in a long time, almost 7:00. The Cats are playing great defense right now.
4:40 in the first
Salim makes a great pass to Fox down low. The big man moves well without the ball and is alone under the basket.
3:10 in the first
Hassan Adams' mother Connie talks on television about how Hassan was dunking at age 10 or 11. Are you kidding me? Dunking at 10? I am not sure I could dunk on my nerf hoop by age 10. That just shows you the ridiculous athleticism that Adams possesses.
2:08 in the first
Bret Brielmaier is in the game. No really, he is. Olson chooses to go to the walk-on freshman rather than expose players with two fouls to the chance that they will pick up a third.
1:00 in the first
MSU is within seven with the ball. The Cats just couldn't put this one away.
42.8 in the first
MSU gets four looks at cutting the lead to five but can't finish. Frye has a big rebound and after a foul he makes both free throws. He has clearly come to play.
19:50 in the second
MSU is back in the zone defense and has really extended it out. The guards are coming five feet past the three-point line to pressure the UA guards.
18:00 in the second
Lawrence Roberts exerts himself for one of the first times all game. He needs to step up or MSU has no chance.
17:44 in the second
Lute pulls Fox after his third foul, only it wasn't his third, it was his second. The PA announcer got it wrong. To their credit the officials allow Fox to remain in the game when the mistake is figured out.
17:03 in the second
Just looked over at another set and the Eagles are up 35-0 on the Packers, IN THE FIRST HALF. That is just ridiculous.
16:35 in the second
After two hustle plays on the same possession Worthy is raving about Hassan Adams. Adams gave the Cats possession with a steal and then kept the drive alive with an offensive rebound where he fell down and kept his dribble. Worthy is putting Adams in some elite company in talking about his athleticism.
12:40 in the second
MSU had the chance to get within 10, but despite being out of position Frye makes two nice plays and leads the Cats on offense.
11:59 in the second
Frye is making up for the sub-par games on the East Coast by thoroughly outplaying Lawrence Roberts. While writing this he had a nice put back to put the Cats up 54-42.
11:17 in the second
Time to see what the UA is made of. Despite outplaying MSU, the Cats are up only eight. As I write this Frye puts the Wildcats up 10 with a baby hook and he just swatted an MSU shot.
9:30 in the second
Sloppy Arizona offense has MSU within five. The cats are rushing shots and not taking care of the ball. Two straight breakaways off of steals sparked a run. Verdejo promptly came in and turned over the ball. So much for his chance to make an impact.
7:07 in the second
Two highlights on one play. Frye has a monster swat which winds up in Shakur's hands on the break. He caps the play with a lob pass to Adams for the dunk.
6:22 in the second
Frye has his shot rattle around the hoop, but it falls. Last week that would have been a miss.
5:31 in the second
Adams does a great job keeping the ball alive, only to have Rodgers rush the shot. Chris is so desperate to score that he's costing himself playing time. He just doesn't get it. He'll get more playing time by playing good defense and being smart on offense, not by being a big-time scorer. He does not need to jack up shots, but when he does he gets pulled quickly.
4:18 in the second
The Wildcats' shot selection is deplorable. MSU has a chance to get within three because Arizona continues to get bad looks.
Here's a fact I did not know. MSU's Lawrence Roberts is the nephew of ESPN/ABC's Robin Roberts. I smell a conspiracy. You see Roberts transferred from Baylor before last season and was down to Arizona and Mississippi State when he chose the Bulldogs. His Aunt works for the same network as ASU grad Al Michaels. Could she have persuaded Roberts to reject the Cats in an effort to appease the legendary Michaels?
3:05 in the second
Two rebounds have slipped through the hands of two UA centers. The Cats had two chances to pull down missed MSU shots but can't hang on. MSU is now at the line with a chance to get even closer.
2:45 in the second
Arizona keeps slowing things down on offense and it is not working. When the Cats get conservative they struggle offensively. Roberts just bailed out the Cats by fouling Frye. Frye had the ball beyond the three–point arc with just three seconds left on the shot clock and was being double teamed when he got fouled.
1:41 in the second
MSU is within one. The Wildcats are no good in the slowdown and MSU is converting.
1:01 in the second
Arizona calls a timeout and does not properly set up a play. There were just 13 seconds on the shot clock when they called the timeout and they end up rushing a shot so as not to get a shot clock violation. Someone screwed up here. You have to know how much time is on the shot clock, especially out of a timeout.
We have some weirdness here. The Cats made two great defensive plays and it looks as if they could be in trouble, or are they? Adams gets a steal, but MSU gets it right back. Frye gets the big block and MSU retains possession.
Here's where it gets weird. Adams steals the ball and the clock keeper resets the shot clock. The only problem is that Adams never gains possession. He never got two hands on the ball before giving it back to MSU.
The officials huddle for a long time and finally agree that there should be just three seconds on the shot clock. They consulted the replay and each other. The thing that is nice to see is that they got the call right. MSU was not happy, but it was the right call.
29.0 in the second
HUGE block by Hassan Adams. I am not sure how he did not foul the man, but he got all ball.
21.5 in the second
MSU had three fouls to give. Finally they foul Jawann McClellan to the line. The true freshman hits 1-of-2 and the Bulldogs are still in this thing.
4.7 in the second
Finally, Frye ices the game with two free throws. He came to play posting a 16 and 16, while holding Roberts to single digits.
3.1 in the second
Lots of praise for Lute from Worthy. He admits to being an ACC guy, but he keeps saying great things about the Wildcat head coach. He should know a good coach when he sees one, he played for Dean Smith.
The Cats win, but it was too close. They let MSU go on a huge run to get back into the game. Turnovers and shot selection killed them. The Cats have to learn how to put teams away.
E-mail Brad at firstname.lastname@example.org