The NCAA tournament took off in full swing.  My bracket’s already taken a hit.  Michael’s doing okay.  Of the three of us, Amanda’s doing the best.  Her biggest problem is that she picked USC to go two rounds and they lost their first game.  Other than that she’s doing pretty good.  She forgot to fill out her bracket before the games started, but she didn’t look at any results before she got home.  She had questions about the teams and conferences and such and made some good, informed decisions I think, considering that she doesn’t keep up with basketball all that much.  This is the first time I know of her filling out a bracket.

I had games on while I was working, and there were a number of good ones on.  I’m not going to bother recapping everything because there were just too many games to do that. 

Oh, our rebate for the TV we bought back at the end of December finally came in yesterday.  I was going to follow up with the rebate people today since it was supposed to take up to eight weeks to come in and ended up being ten or so.

Back to basketball.  Michael came by after work.  He’d asked me to text him a few score updates while he was at work, and when he got off he asked the score the the Duke and Belmont game.  Duke was up, but not by much.  Duke got up by ten but Belmont didn’t want to go away and it stayed pretty much a one possession game the whole time.  When Belmont took the lead I threw my newer Duke hat on the ground (as I am wont to do).  I figured thought maybe I’d wear it today to get some good mojo going for it, thinking Duke should have a decent time with a 15 seed.  That wasn’t working so I put on my old hat.

A little later Amanda put my new hat on and Duke made a three, so we thought maybe something was going on with that.  Belmont went up again though and, by the end of the game, both Amanda and I had thrown our hats on the ground.  In the final seconds of the game Belmont was up one.  Gerald Henderson, one of the only players really playing, grabbed the ball, went the whole length of the court and made a basket, putting them up 71-70 with about four seconds left.

Belmont took it to their end of the court and got an inbounds pass snagged by DeMarcus Nelson (one of the only good things he did tonight).  He promptly got fouled and missed the first of a one-and-one.  Belmont called a time out with about two seconds left, inbounded the ball to halfcourt and was just a little to the left on a halfcourt shot.

Don’t get me wrong, Belmont played great.  They hit threes, they messed with Duke’s defense, but it was a bit embarrassing to watch.  Only five two seeds have been upset in the first round of the NCAA tournament, and Duke was this close to being the sixth.

I’d been hoping Duke, with the rest and all the negativity from the major sports outlets, would have a fire lit under them and play like they had earlier in the season.  Instead they played stiff, without much confidence.  There was little rotation in the roster so the guys need to make sure they’re rested up for meeting West Virginia on Saturday.  And hopefully, hopefully, the team who played so well the first two-thirds of the season will show up to play.

Zach Dotsey