GMP’s Doug Zeigler paired some of the finest regional beers with a slate of second round upsets. In his diary of the afternoon, he shares his thoughts on everything from Dayton’s patience on offense to Albany’s downright ugly uniforms.
12:00 PM: Live from the Zeigler Living Room/Mancave! In attendance is our dog Zek and our three cats, Yoda, Suki and Puma. None look excited to see March Madness on. Even my pleading and explaining doesn’t help.
I’m going to attempt to dazzle you with basketball observations as I imbibe beer. Jealous? You should be.
In trying to keep with the regional spirit of the opening weekend, I’m drinking beers that are in the area where the games are played (or as close as I can get). First up, Dayton Flyers vs. Ohio State Buckeyes being played in Buffalo, NY. Since I could not find a Buffaloian beer, I’m starting off with Captain Lawrence Brewing’s Frost Monster Imperial Stout out of Elmsford, NY. Starting strong! And heavy. And 12% alcohol. This is going to end well. It did fairly well in Beer Advocate’s assessment at least.
12:05 PM: Bill Rafftery and Verne Lundquist are making a big deal out of the fact that Dayton’s coach, Archie Miller, used to be on Ohio State coach Thad Motta’s staff. Funny, I thought Archie Miller used to run around with Jughead.
12:15 PM: Tip off. Right off, Ohio State looks sluggish. You think they’d be more fired up for playing an in-state rival. Also, Thad Motta is chewing gum like Chomp from Super Mario Brothers.
12:22 PM: The pace is pretty brisk. I’m not sure who this favors, but I would think OSU, since they have better overall athletes.
12:35 PM: OSU has an Italian player, Amedeo Della Valle, whom I would not leave alone with my wife.
12:39 PM: Aaron Craft’s cheeks are already beet red with 8:23 left in the half. That stinks. I had the under for that at 7 minutes into the game.
12:45 PM: Dayton is really patient when they’re not running. They seem to get good shots in the paint every time. Meanwhile, OSU keeps rushing their shots. It’s why Dayton is only down 1 with almost 5 minutes left in the half.
12:49 PM: Picture-in-picture time! I near forgot about Wisconsin Badgers vs American Eagles. But then again, probably most of America did, being that it’s on TruTV.
12:52 PM: I said earlier that Dayton is patient on offense. Well, If Dayton is patient, Wisconsin is the offensive equivalent of snails racing. Watching the Badgers is like watching a real-life version of Hoosiers. While great as a movie, not terribly exciting to watch as a sporting event.
12:59 PM: The first game of the day already is on upset alert! Dayton up 33-30 at half. Add to it that American is up over Hoosiers 2K14 by seven halfway through the first half, and excitement is in the air. Or maybe that’s the smell of good beer.
1:04 PM: I stand corrected. American is the equivalent of snails racing.
1:10 PM: 19-18, American over Hoosier 2K14. When is the other game getting out of halftime, dammit?
1:12 PM: American Center Tony Wroblicky shoots jumpers and free throws with one hand. No joke. And he has TWO hands. I haven’t ever seen that in a basketball game. So there’s that.
1:16 PM: Wait. . . Person of Interest is still on TV? It must be true. I saw a commercial for it and everything.
1:20 PM: An offensive explosion by Hoosiers2K14! Seven points in 2 minutes! ZZZZZzzzzzzzzzz.
1:23 PM: I can’t take it anymore. I’m switching to OSU-Dayton before I start napping with the pets.
1:26 PM: Hoosiers2K14 are up 32-22 over American. Makings of the first rout of the day. On a side note, I’m still not finished with the Frost Monster. Pacing is important!
1:30 PM: Dayton just took a five point lead and officially have “mo”mentum on their side.
1:36 PM: First beer down. In honor of that stinker of a game between American and Hoosiers2K14, which is being played in Milwaukee, I’ve switched to Lakefront Brewery’s Big Easy Maibock. Not a bad rating from Beer Advocate and still pretty potent at 7.1% alcohol. Steady as she goes, Doug. One beer an hour should be a decent pace, even if I’m drinking rocket fuel. I’ll do my level best to keep it coherent.
1:44 PM: Gorgeous alley oop by Ohio State. Sam Thompson can really jump. His head was right by the rim!
1:47 PM: OSU’s athleticism is starting to take over. Two point lead by the Buckeyes.
1:48 PM: Well, that Maibock was a big change from the Imperial Stout. WOW. Sweet and light and GOOD.
1:49 PM: Just switched over to the Pitt Pathers-Colorado Buffaloes game and already its 9-0 Pitt. Pitt is one of those teams (along with Michigan State) that I normally am not a fan of because they approach basketball like its hockey or rugby: Fling the ball at the rim and knock everybody out of the way to get the rebound for a close shot. Michigan State has kind of bucked that this year, but Pitt? More of the same.
1:55 PM: Thoroughly enjoying this OSU-Dayton game. Dayton is NOT impressed. They are going right at OSU. The other 2 games will have to wait on this one.
2:01 PM: Aaron Craft is the guy you hate to have guarding you in a pickup game. Cares a little too much, and not worried about injuring anybody else. Remind me to steer clear of his YMCA.
2:08 PM: Just dawned on me that if OSU loses, I’m already out of the Billion Dollar Brackets sponsored by Warren Buffet and that insurance company. How am I going to afford that gold plated fish tank now?
2:11 PM: Two missed free throws by Devin Oliver of Dayton. Ouch. Those always come back to haunt you.
2:14 PM: HUGE foul on a three on OSU. The good news is the guy they fouled is a 66% free throw shooter, although he’s perfect from the line today.
2:15 PM: NAILED ALL THREE FREE THROWS! Dayton up one. What a game! This is exactly why I love March Madness. 20.9 seconds to go.
2:17 PM: *Takes a giddy swig of beer*
2:18 PM: Craft somehow makes a fancy layup to put OSU by one. I love this shit. Have I mentioned how much I love the Madness???
2:20 PM: First upset of the day! Dayton makes a miracle layup, and then Craft almost makes a layup at the end to win. Superb game by both teams.
2:22 PM: *pours a little out in remembrance of my Billion Dollar Bracket that just went down the toilet*
2:23 PM: Just switched over to the Pitt-Colorado game, and its 42-16. Dear gawd. Did Colorado switch their players with middle schoolers? The American-Hoosiers2K14 game is 66-28. Wait. . . rescued! Harvard Crimson vs. Cincinnati Bearcats is on! Whew.
2:37 PM: Nearly every year there is a 5-12 upset. Is this the one this year? Harvard up 14-8 with 9:41 in the first half. Also, since they are playing in Spokane, Wa, I’m opening up a beer from one of my all time favorite microbreweries, Rogue. I’m going with Yellow Snow IPA. Yes, I picked that one mostly because of the name. Can you blame me? Normally I detest IPA’s because of their “chewiness” (thanks to the overabundance of hops), but I can’t just represent dark beers. I need to be more inclusive. . . or something like that. Surprisingly, not too hoppy, and pretty crisp. It’ll do.
2:44 PM: Desperation lefty three goes in for Harvard! Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. Can I ask why Cincinnati’s Justin Jackson is wearing long sleeves under his jersey? Is he planning on going for a run or to the gym after the game? I’m going with jogging or yogging.
2:51 PM: Pitt is up on Colorado by 30 and Hoosiers2K14 beat American by 40. Nice to know we can still have some uninteresting games. It makes it easier to focus on the fun ones.
2:55 PM: A basic observation: Sean Kilpatrick has a beautiful jumpshot.
2:57 PM: Since I live in upstate NY, I am obligated to turn on the Syracuse Orangemen vs Western Michigan Broncos. Are there a lot of Broncos in the UP I’m unaware of? Regardless, let’s resume our regularly scheduled game watching now that I got the Syracuse/Upstate NY plug out of the way.
3:02 PM: Harvard is playing solid, and the Bearcats look tight. The Bearcats coach looks like a very intense investment banker.
3:05 PM: Behind a pretty much flawless half, Harvard is up 36-29 over Cincinnati. No truth to the rumor that Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin is checking his stock portfolio at half time.
3:11 PM: Syracuse is controlling the game already, 17-7. Considering how spotty they’ve been playing lately, this lets our fellow upstaters breathe a small sigh of relief.
3:16 PM: DONTBREAKTHESEALDONTBREAKTHESEALDONTBREAKTHESEALDONTBREAKTHESEAL
3:19 PM: In utterly boring news, Pitt is beating Colorado, which is a higher seed, by 29 points.
3:27 PM: I really was waiting for Nick Cronin to give that reporter a stock tip.
3:29 PM: Seal broken; a nation weeps.
3:31 PM: Syracuse is up 15 on Western Michigan. I really thought that WMU would give them a challenge because of their experience. I forgot to factor in that the Orange are far more athletic. Silly me.
3:33 PM: Harvard (not surprisingly) is playing smart. Packing their defense in against everyone but Kilpatrick and making the Bearcats shoot from outside. Excellent strategy that is working fantastically.
3:38 PM: Since Syracuse is up by 20 already, I’m toggling between the Orgeon Ducks and their yellow sharpie uniforms vs. the BYU Cougars and Harvard vs Cincy. At this point, I’m just wanting close competitive games. Comedic touches are a bonus though.
3:43 PM: Nice lefty hook by The Running Man, Justin Jackson.
4:02 PM: After a brief step away from the TV since my wife got home from work, I’m back! And Harvard is still up 5. I know Will Hunting was a janitor at MIT, but if Harvard wins this, can they borrow a phrase from MIT and that movie and yell at Cincinnati “How about THEM apples!”
4:07 PM: Airball by Harvard, Bearcats down by two. UH OH.
4:09 PM: Harvard doing a great job of icing out Kilpatrick. Cincinatti’s leading scorer hasn’t scored in 10 minutes.
4:15 PM: Yellow Sharpie Team up 8 at half and Syracuse is stomping the shit out of Western Michigan by 22. Since the Florida Gators vs Albany Great Danes (!) just started, I’m sticking with Harvard-Cincy.
4:21 PM: Harvard just missed a dagger three. Maybe they are so smart they decided missing it was the humane thing to do.
4:29 PM: Second upset of the day! C’mon Tommy Amaker. Say it in the press conference. SAY IT! “How about THEM apples!”
4:38 PM: OK, Albany. . . you win the ugliest uniform contest. I thought Oregon had it wrapped up, but NOPE. Wear that Yellow and Purple monstrosity with pride, Albany. Also, my wife wants to emphasize that the Albany Great Danes have yellow butts.
4:50 PM: Albany is only down 4 to the team I picked to win it all. I can only guess it’s because Florida is distracted by the Danes’ outlandish gear.
5:00 PM: Florida is up by only 6 at halftime. I have a feeling Billy Donovan is going to ream them out and we’ll see the real Florida team in the second half.
5:03 PM: I switched to the Yellow Sharpie Team-BYU game. Oregon is winning the game but losing the bad uniform war. I was also called out for my stating that Michael Smith was the founder of Mormonism. I confused a contemporary Christian singer for the founder of a religion. Oh beer, why do you fail me so?
5:09 PM: I vote to change the mascot for BYU from Cougars to Romneys. Cougars are middle aged-women who are attracted to younger men. Romneys are. . . well, Romneys. It fits.
5:15 PM: Delaware Blue Hens.
5:19 PM: Poor Mormons. They are getting housed by the Yellow Sharpie Team whose mascot is a Fighting Duck. The Mighty Mighty Blue Hens are hanging tough against the Michigan State Spartans. Just picture those mascots in real life squaring off. I dare you. DO IT. You have my permission to giggle your ass off.
5:30 PM: Albany is down by 2 to the number 1 team in the country. I still blame the unis. BYU loses to Oregon, setting the stage for Albany’s oooogly uniforms to trump them.
5:30 PM: Annnnnd, I forgot to have my last regional beer before I sign off! As homage to The Florida-Albany game, which was played in Orlando, I’m cracking open the only beer I could find that was remotely close to Florida: Evil Twin Brewing’s Even More Jesus Imperial Stout. It’s out of South Carolina, sure, but it’s the closest I could get to the Sunshine state. It’s also the highest rated on Beer Advocate. At 12% alcohol, it’s tied for the strongest of the brews I’ve tried today.
5:34 PM: That beer definitely lives up to its billing. Damn. This could be my undoing into inebriation.
5:42 PM: Pardon me, Florida, as you’re pulling away from the Albany Ugliest Uniforms Ever, while I take another slug of this delicious nectar of beer. I think you’ve got this in hand.
5:50 PM: Thanks for saving my brackets from oblivion, Florida.
5:56 PM: As the Spartans are distancing themselves from the Mighty Mighty Blue Hens, leaving the game in no doubt, I think it’s time I sign off and finish this fine stout in blissful peace. I leave the second half of this glorious sports day in your hands. Enjoy the games and whatever beverages you are pouring. Now time to go put on my yellow and purple uniform to scare my wife.