THE GAME: UCLA vs Kent State
The first round of March Madness is always a good excuse to stay in and watch multiple games at once. When it falls on St. Patrick's Day - the ultimate Amateur Night at bars - even better.
This is not a good matchup for UCLA. Kent State starts two seniors, they rebound tenaciously, and they can score. If UCLA has an off shooting night, this could get uncomfortably close for the Bruins. (Combine that with the fact that this should be the last game of the night and UCLA has a penchant for coming up small when the stage is large, and I won't be surprised if this is still a game with one minute left. I would be shocked if Kent State wins, but not the least bit surprised if it's close.)
NOTES ON THE FOOD:
- Of course I used the meatballs I love from my local butcher. And there was only one possible choice for cheese on St. Patrick's Day: cheddar with Irish Porter.
- I cooked the meatballs in the oven for 45 minutes, then tossed them with this sauce that I had shipped from Ireland.
- Then all of it got piled into a soft roll, wrapped in foil, and baked in the oven for 15 minutes, until the cheese was melted and the bread toasty.
NOTES ON THE GAME:
- How far into the game can we go without a LaVar Ball reference?
- The announcer just said "Let's not count out Kent State just yet"... one minute into the game while the score was 2-0. Okay, bud, if you say so.
- Kent State has started the game 1-11. That's probably not gonna get it done tonight.
- As has happened several times this season, senior Isaac Hamilton is determined to make his mark on this game, even though he is not shooting well. (He often tries to do too much when Lonzo Ball exits the game.)
- Kent State cut the lead to 8 points at the half, which is pretty impressive considering how poorly they started.
- UCLA is playing its usual weak defense, and allowed Kent State to grab 10 offensive rebounds in the first half.
- Has Bryce Alford scored this game? (Yes, he has made one shot - I had to look it up.)
- I haven't heard Len Elmore call a game in a long time. He is terrible. He makes Bill Walton seem like he's paying attention by comparison.
- UCLA just has a lot more talent than Kent State, which is why they're winning by ten. UCLA sure as hell doesn't look like they want it more.
- Steve Alford does a good job of looking angry and gesturing wildly on the sideline when his team plays matador defense. I wonder if he's ever considered taking some of that energy and actually preparing his teams for big games. Maybe he will next year... in Indiana...
- UCLA has hit 12 shots in a row to run the lead up to 24.
- They win by 17. It's certainly possible that UCLA pulled out just enough to win, but they're going to need a whole different level of intensity against Cincinnati on Sunday.
- I don't remember a more boring first round of the tournament. I hope Saturday and Sunday's games are better. (Shit, they almost have to be.)