It’s 9:55 pm, I’ve had a rough week both personally and with my day job, and I have consumed a few beers. I can’t wait for this game and am feeling a little salty. It’s a Sweet Sixteen matchup of the Miami Hurricanes vs the Iowa State Cyclones. I will try to keep my composure, at least language-wise. As far as the game: I am quietly confident but cautious. Looking at the team statistics, Miami has a lot of advantages: points per game, turnovers per game, and team rebounds per game are close. If Miami can create turnovers, get on the fast break, and make shots, we have a fantastic chance to win. I am now nervously typing; let’s enjoy the pregame and make fun of some commercials/tv promos!
9:59 – There’s another pregame besides the one with Charles Barkley?! I’m just kidding; I knew there was. But why would anyone want to watch a pregame without Charles Barkley? Ernie Johnson and Kenny Smith help as well. Never mind, Ernie is hosting this pregame. Ah! Where’s Chuck and Kenny?
10:05 – Kansas Jayhawks vs Providence Friars highlights. I was not impressed by either team. Providence came back after a large Kansas lead. This region has lined up nicely for Miami: an 11 seed, then a vulnerable 1 seed. I’m getting ahead of myself. I’ll stop.
10:09 – I love Miami, but it sucks we’re playing at the same time as the UNC Tar Heels vs UCLA Bruins game. That is the most interesting game of the weekend in this wannabe sportswriter’s opinion.
10:11 – Baylor Bears coach Scott Drew picks Iowa State. Shocker. Everyone else picks Miami. I am not upset by this, more terrified.
10:15 – UCLA is beating UNC, 20-14 with ten minutes left in the first half. Ugh. I want to watch this game!
10:18 – Is America being brainwashed by showing us the same commercials over and over again during a three-week period? Is there subliminal message in some of these ads? Am I losing it? Maybe.
All of the commercials in March Madness were designed to brainwash society - NCAA #MarchMadness— Illumanti (@WeRIllumanti) April 8, 2014
10:20 – The Jordan statue! Yes. The Last Dance was one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen. It should be required viewing for teenagers across America.
10:21 – We have Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller, and Dan Bonner announcing the game tonight. Reggie Miller annoys me. Just my opinion. And many others’ opinion.
10:22 – Tip-off. Miami gets it and a quick three-pointer by Kam McGusty. Miami leads 3-0.
10:23 – Defensive foul on Isaiah Wong. Robert Jones on ISU misses both free-throws. Nice.
10:24 – After a steal, Jordan Miller gets an easy layup at the end of some beautiful passing. ISU calls timeout less than a minute and a half into the game. Miami leads 7-0. (Deep breath).
10:26 – I am officially sick of the “which color blue is better” Corona commercial. Corona sucks. It’s a marketing company that sells beer.
10:28 – Steal by Miller and he’s fouled on the layup. Let’s go.
10:29 – Gabe Kalscheur on ISU finally scores. Followed by a rare errant pass by Charlie Moore. ISU capitalizes again, Miami now leads 7-4.
10:31 – McGusty misses a jumper followed by an ISU layup by Tyrese Hunter to take the lead, 8-7.
10:32 – Never mind. Sam Waardenburg three-pointer. Miami back up 10-8.
10:33 – Waardenburg with a strong rebound and fouled. Under 16-minute timeout.
10:34 – Does anyone else hate the Reggie Miller Wendy’s commercials? Do we need more Reggie Miller? I don’t think we do.
10:37 – A second Charlie Moore turnover leads to an ISU dunk. Waardenburg answers with a straight-away three-pointer. He’s coming to play offensively tonight.
10:39 – McGusty makes a contested three-pointer. I like his confidence. Miami leads 16-10.
10:40 – Reggie Miller talks about ISU playing nine to ten guys and wearing Miami out tonight. I don’t see that happening.
10:41 – Isaiah Wong loses the ball on his way to a layup. (Generic curse word.) ISU ball. Miami leads 16-12 at the under 12-minute timeout.
10:43 – Pop quiz: what does GEICO stand for? Government Employees Insurance Company. Who would’ve thought that company would now be known for producing annoying commercials that seemingly air nonstop?
10:45 – Another Miami steal by Bensley Joseph. He then bricks a three-pointer. Anthony Walker then drops the ball out of bounds as he goes for up for a dunk. Oh my gosh. Miami has five turnovers after having seven total in their first two tournament games. Yikes.
10:48 – This is some ugly basketball. Both teams turning the ball over and missing shots. Another ISU turnover. I’ll take it. And another Miami turnover. Holy lord. Through 12 minutes tonight, Miami has as many turnovers as they did through the first two games total. That’s bad right?
10:50 – McGusty makes one of two free-throws. Make two! Damnit!
10:52 – Under eight-minute timeout. Miami somehow leads 17-14. It feels like we’re losing.
10:53 – The Boban State Farm commercial strikes again! Does he get residuals from each showing? Hmm.
10:54 – I will take my bathroom break during the Rosario Dawson AT&T commercial.
10:55 – ISU coach T.J. Otzelberger during the in-game interview: both teams need to clean up their turnovers. I appreciate the honesty.
10:56 – Three-pointer by Kalscheur of ISU. Tie game at 17.
10:57 – McGusty with a sweet jumper. Miami leads 21-17.
10:58 – The pace has picked up significantly. I can barely keep up. Jordan Miller had two big layups. Both teams are missing shots. Isaiah Wong is missing jumpers. ISU offensive foul.
11:00 – Under four-minute timeout. Miami leads 25-21. That was an insane four minutes of basketball. I wish Miami would’ve come out of that scramble with a bigger lead.
11:01 – The Progressive Insurance Turning Into Your Parents commercials are the best! By far my favorite ad campaign running right now. Why can’t other giant, soulless companies be more creative when it comes to advertising? (Sigh).
Most Progressive commercials are trash but I like the "turning into your parents" series, especially the new one at the movies that raises awareness for the awful practice of clapping for a film. No. 1 pet peeve.— Scott Fontana (@Scott_Fontana) March 26, 2022
"No one who made the movie is here." Indeed. pic.twitter.com/KbD1lEwFB8
11:04 – Miami forward Wooga Poplar misses a jumper off the bench. He shouldn’t be allowed to shoot.
11:05 – I don’t like that we’ve only scored 25 points through 17 minutes. I don’t want to play this game in the 50s. If we score 65 points, I think we win.
11:06 – Another Miller layup. I will take that all night. Miami leads 27-23.
11:07 – Great possession by Miami. McGusty layup. ISU’s Izaiah Brockington comes back with a layup of his own.
11:08 – Three-pointer by McGusty! He is on his game tonight. Aljaz Kunc on ISU comes back with a jumper.
11:09 – I hate all college refs. They love calling charges so much it’s incredible.
11:10 – Coach Larranaga calls a timeout with 4.2 seconds left in the first half. Miami up 32-29.
11:11 – Miami can’t score before halftime. I need a couple minutes to gather my thoughts. I think we blew some chances in the first half. Coach L made some great adjustments in the second half against Auburn so we shall see.
11:12 – Coach L was VERY relaxed in his halftime interview. That makes me feel better for some reason.
11:13 – The new Powerade commercial: Pause is Power. Huh? So, we’re celebrating athletes pausing? When are they pausing? Randomly? Simone Biles talks about mental illness during the Olympics and now she’s profiting off it with a Powerade commercial? To be kind, it seems odd.
11:15 – Bathroom and quick snack break. Be right back.
11:20 – Rex Chapman speaks for four seconds: saying McGusty is shooting well this game. Thanks for the insight Rex. Then, Candace Parker proclaims Miami is shooting well from three and ISU has 15 bench points and that “something’s got to give”. I’m not sure what that means. Miami hasn’t had a bench all year. Can we fly Barkley in?
11:23 – St. Peter’s is in the Elite Eight. Incredible. I’m still not positive where St. Peter’s is. New Jersey, right? Who wants to live in New Jersey, let alone go to college there? Good for them. They deserve some sort of trophy no matter what.
Lifelong St Peter’s Peacock fan pic.twitter.com/YJKKpKmdJT— Bryce Pratt (@BrycePratt48) March 26, 2022
11:25 – Few halftime thoughts: Miami played panicky. They fell into ISU’s hands of sloppy, hectic play. Miami is great on the fast break and playing swarming defense. They can’t make dumb decisions and turn it over when they have the advantage. I have faith Coach L will make some effective adjustments for the second half.
11:29 – This feels like an extra long halftime. I hope Miami comes out ready to play.
11:33 – ISU starts with the ball. I’m nervous. Moore gets fouled with no call. Tyrese Hunter then carries the ball with no call and makes a layup. That’s frustrating.
11:35 – Waardenburg misses a three-pointer. It was a good look. He makes up for it with a big block on defense! And gets fouled after securing the ball. Love that hustle.
11:36 – Wong gets his first bucket of the night. That helps. Miami leads 36-31.
11:38 – ISU with back-to-back buckets. The lead is down to one for Miami. We looked so much better against Auburn.
11:39 – Moore with a deep three-pointer. Bang!
11:40 – Waardenburg commits a loose-ball foul. Under 16-minute timeout. Miami leads 39-35.
11:41 – Another AT&T commercial. Did Zooey Deschanel get some work done? She looks..different.
11:42 – Five-second call on ISU inbounding the ball. Hell. Yeah.
11:44 – Miami runs the same alley-oop out of bounds play for Jordan Miller that they ran at the beginning of the Auburn game. Miller gets fouled instead and makes both free-throws. Love it.
11:45 – McGusty pull-up jumper. He has 18 points to lead all scorers. And another turnover by ISU. And timeout ISU. Miami up 43-35. Biggest lead of the night.
11:47 – TV and technology issues. (Groan).
11:51 – Moore airballs a three-pointer. He is hot and cold tonight.
11:51 – Wong with a clutch three-pointer. Miami up 46-37.
11:52 – After a huge defensive play, Waardenburg is somehow called for a travel, despite being pushed. Ugh. It’s fine. We can’t expect college basketball refs to be competent, can we? CAN WE?
11:55 – UNC beats UCLA, 73-66. They move on to play St. Peter’s. You have to like their chances. The ACC is representing themselves very well in this tournament.
11:56 – Walker and Waardenburg would not let ISU score underneath the basket! Yes! That was huge. Wong misses a three-pointer. That would’ve been a dagger. And of course, ISU answers with an easy layup.
11:58 – Another layup by Robert Jones of ISU. The lead is down to five for Miami. Timeout Coach L.
11:59 – Anyone watching Severance on Apple TV? Is it good? I’m not going to watch; just curious.
Severance (Apple tv+) is partially filmed in the Bell Labs Homdel Complex (NJ). Several Nobel prizes projects have been brewed there. It is interesting when you see on TV an unusual place where you have been before. Why this place? pic.twitter.com/c2PTFzjudD— Sergio A. (@raviaxo) March 24, 2022
11:59 – McGusty with a big three-pointer! He’s got some guts tonight. Brockington on ISU answers with a three-pointer of his own. ISU won’t go away.
12:01 – Waardenburg with a steal and dunk! He is playing great tonight despite the missed three-pointers.
12:02 – Travel on ISU caused by great McGusty defense. Under eight-minute timeout. Miami leads 53-44.
12:03 – Watching LaVar and LaMelo Ball shill for AT&T makes me want to keep Verizon.
Is AT&T really that desperate that they have to use the Ball family for commercials?— funwithnumberz (@funwithnumberz) March 26, 2022
12:06 – Wong gets blocked after trying a layup that stood no chance. Dumb.
12:06 – Waardenburg is playing incredible defense. Offensive foul on Joseph. Bad possession for Miami.
12:08 – Moore with a nice turnaround jumper. He needed that. Miami up 55-44.
12:09 – Another miss by Hunter on ISU. Bad offense by both teams again. This is a theme tonight.
12:10 – McGusty falls on the ball on offense after losing control of it. Sadly, his move didn’t fool the defense. Jump ball. Possession Miami. Under four-minute timeout. Miami leads 55-46. I can only type in short sentences right now.
12:14 – Shot clock violation by Miami. That is not what you want coming out of a timeout.
12:15 – Waardenburg with a clutch three-pointer. What a shot. And Miller is fouled after a defensive rebound. Phew.
12:17 – Miller makes two free-throws after a foul. Miami up 60-46.
12:17 – Miami breaks the pressure and Wong makes a sweet layup, and the foul!
12:18 – Caleb Grill makes a three-pointer for the enemy, I mean ISU. Miami leads 62-51. Timeout ISU. 2:15 left to play.
12:19 – I only had to sit through one terrible GEICO commercial before the game came back. Sweet!
12:20 – Alley-oop from Wong to Miller! I am too nervous to get excited.
12:21 – The ball gets knocked out of bounds. ISU ball with one minute left. McGusty fouled after a miss. He goes to the free-throw line for a one-and-one.
12:22 – McGusty makes both. (Deep exhale). Miami leads 66-53
12:23 – It’s going to be a fouling contest now. Moore to the line. He makes both. Boom shakalaka.
12:24 – Miami is going to the Elite Eight for the first time! Woo! Final score: Miami 70, Iowa State 56.
12:26 – Coach L kisses McGusty on the cheek during the post-game interview. He really loves this team. So do I!
Final thoughts: Another great game by Miami. Coach L is humming right now with his overall game plans and in-game adjustments. The players have executed these plans to perfection, and without any meaningful bench production. Their second halves against Auburn and ISU were near perfect. They imposed their will and made their opponent uncomfortable in trying to play the hectic style of The U. I don’t know anything about this year’s Kansas team, but I like our chances. This only means one thing: I am a good luck charm and have to come back for the Elite Eight!