Typically, the excitement that builds from Selection Sunday until tipoff of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday dissipates by around 5 p.m., thanks to early games that often don’t end up: a) an upset; b) in overtime; or c) particularly close. In one game at the NCAA Tournament, we darned-near had all three. And mock our Northeast Conference obsession all you want, but we’ll be gobsmacked if it didn’t come from those Robert Morris Colonials.
Honestly: It has been a terrific 2 1/2 hours. The lede, of course, was little Robert Morris, which took mighty Villanova to overtime before heroically ceding to three players’ fouling out in a 73-70 loss. Not every tournament has a signature upset anymore, and Robert Morris – or “Bobby Mo,” as we took to calling them by halftime – almost made this tournament one that they owned. (Karon Abraham is pretty much our favorite player in the world.) Honestly, by the end of overtime, we were ready to move to Pittsburgh and enroll.
It was a Valiant Effort, and a proud moment in Northeast Conference history. Now, if you’ll excuse up-and-coming coach Mike Rice Jr., he’d like to take a job at Seton Hall now. (Sorry, Fordham.) Though he might want to look into some Valium. Dude’s got bug eyes.
That’s not to forget the double-overtime Brigham Young victory over Florida, a game whose moral equivalency boggles one’s mind. Jimmer Fredette, who is actually named Jimmer Fredette, scored 37 points.
And, if you enjoy disliking Notre Dame … the Irish went down too, 51-50, to Old Dominion, which, as Spencer Hall of SB Nation has pointed out, is the best team left in the tournament whose name sounds like a malt liquor.
Whew. We’re not sure we can handle any more of this, and we have another month to go.