Tourney Log: Freaky Friday

BOISE – Friday is an ‘off day'. That means that the Wildcats just go through a grueling practice and watch a lot of tape on UAB. For the media it means that you don't have to work quite so early or quite so late. It also meant a chance to watch a lot of basketball.

11:14 a.m.
We're coming to you live from the Holiday Inn near the freeway. Just five minutes from the campus of Boise State. The announcers just said the SE Louisiana played a perfect half of basketball. They are down nine. I'd hate to see if they played poorly.

11:51 a.m.
Charlotte is blowing a huge lead against NC State. The Wolfpack is within one with 10:24 to play.

11:53 a.m.
NC State just took the lead. Luckily we don't have Dick Vitale screaming about how good the ACC is. I can hear him now "NC State knows how to come back baby. They know about tough competition from playing in the ACC. If you have to share the court with Duke, you know competition. I bet Herb Sendek called Coach K during the television time-out for advice. I think all coaches should call Coach K for advice. I bet the president and the pope call Coach K…"

11:56 a.m.
I probably should have written that in all-caps to convey the loudness of Dookie V.

12:04 p.m.
Matt Messina just noted that Oakland is the second 16-seed to be nicknamed the "Grizzlies". I note that they will be the second "Grizzlies" to get bounced from the Tourney.

1:39 p.m.
Nance and Packer just read a promo about the David Letterman show and then discussed a thwarted plot to kidnap Letterman's family. How did I not hear about this? Is this common knowledge or did they divulge something from a CBS company memo that the general public was not supposed to know about?

2:20 p.m.
Despite getting over eight hours of sleep last night, Matt Messina is taking a nap. Worse is the fact that we have to leave in like 20 minutes to get to the arena.

Due to unforeseen circumstances I was unable to update this the way I wanted to. I took notes, and can still give a rundown of the day's events, but I won't have an hour by hour account.

We get to the arena just in time to head to the locker room so we can interview the Cats. They are very loose. Some of the guys were reading the official tourney program, while others played handheld video games until someone requested an interview.

The most fun seemed to come from a laser pointer which a few of the guys would use to distract other guys during interviews. The laser pointer was almost like a hot potato as it got passed around the room so that no one player could be held responsible for having it.

Although they were very loose, they are fixated on UAB. Every answer to a question wound up being about the Blazers. I asked one player what was most different about the tournament compared to the regular season and after a brief mention of the popularity of the NCAA's he began talking about UAB's speed and quickness.

Another popular topic was Channing Frye's supposed love of the Cartoon Network. According to his roommate Jawann McClellan, Frye was upset that the team hotel did not have the cable channel. Frye did not deny it, but it was hard to tell if he was serious or if the whole thing was a goof.

On Thursday Frye was repeatedly prompted by student manager Joe Williams to drop potato references during his interviews. The theme continued Friday as a Boise reporter jokingly asked him about the potatoes and Frey launched into a commercial worthy spiel about the delicious local fare.

The biggest challenge was getting back to the media center. The door we all came through was locked and the security guard would not let us back through despite our credentials. Several television crews had equipment on the other side of the door. He almost didn't allow the team to go through the doors until one of the staff members got a little assertive and assured him that the team needed to go that direction to get to their bus.

The same assertiveness did not work for the media and we were told "if you don't want to play by the rules you can be escorted out of the building." The irony was that to get back to the media work room we had to leave the arena out a side door and walk around the building, so we had to leave the building anyways. It really wasn't a huge deal, but it made little sense and the only explanation we got was "that's just the way it is."

The UAB interviews were not quite as much fun. The two players brought out to the media had that laid back Southern attitude, but came off as focused and serious. Their coach Mike Anderson is a great salesman for the program. He is fiery, funny and very charismatic. He spoke quite a bit about his mentor, former Arkansas coach Nolan Richardson. In fact he was on the Razorback staff in 1994 when Arkansas beat Arizona in the Final Four.

Throughout the interview Anderson referred to Channing Frye as "Shannon". It wasn't meant as disrespect, but was simply an honest mistake.

The Blazers bill themselves as the "Fastest 40 Minutes in Basketball", although many call them "40 Minutes of Hell II". Interestingly enough, the Cats have called UAB's style "40 Minutes of Controlled Chaos".

My bracket was shot to hell as Vermont beat Syracuse and Bucknell beat Kansas. I had the Jayhawks in the Elite Eight and the ‘Cuse in the Final Four. Despite having almost no shot at winning my pools, I was so rooting for the Catamounts and the Bison.

I am dismayed that Stanford lost by so much. At one stretch the Cardinal made 10-12 shots and scored on like nine straight trips. Sadly, Mississippi State was just too good in the second half and the Pac-10 is now 2-2.

As I type this there is a commercial for a place called ‘Farm City', welcome to Boise. Apparently they have all of my cowboy and cowgirl needs.

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