NCAA BK

HILL: Tourney offers little bit of everything

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Randy Hill

Veteran columnist Randy Hill is a frequent contributor to FOXSports.com.
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With only one Peay in any pod, the NCAA Tournament offers a little bit of everything.

And on Day 2 of March Madness, we even noticed that two teams from the mighty (jargon alert) power conferences actually were defeated teams linked to power-outage conferences.

The first losing squad was Oregon, which received a relatively grotesque first-half performance from one of my favorite players, .

The incongruity was not lost on CBS broadcast hyena Billy Packer, whose nonpareil blather will be reviewed later in our show.

You just knew the Ducks were doomed when super-sub stripped off the Oregon warm-up top before entering the game and quickly realized his jersey was on backward.

With that last name riding across his chest, Andre must have thought he had transferred to St. Joseph's.

Anyway, did produce Friday's top maneuver during its loss to Utah when the Duck mascot lifted his right foot to deliver the following message written on the bottom:

"Support Our Troops."

It was the best thing I've read on the web this year.

The Duck was joined in Nashville by another high-performance mascot, the Hawk from St. Joseph's.

It has been brought to my attention that, according to custom, the Hawk is obligated to flap its, well, wings during the entire game.

With St. Joe's pushing to overtime, the Hawk's effort took the tournament's longevity lead away from arm-flapping and disqualified coach Bob Huggins.

The Hawk even found the time to model a Utah jersey for the purpose of provoking crossover disharmony with the Duck.

Overall, the Hawk was slightly less impressive than St. Joe's point guard . More on him (Nelson, not the Hawk) later.

Friday's day session began on CBS, but was bounced to ESPN when the coalition's "Shock & Awe" bombing phase was initiated in Iraq.

Taking over on CBS was Dapper Dan Rather, whose delivery was proof that some intern completely blew off a run for Red Bull.

Tournament advertising delivered slightly less torture than on Thursday, although Jiffy Lube's "Bearmobile" commercial remained alive and oily.

But a spot for the movie Dreamcatcher was less of a factor, greatly reducing our opportunity to see that trailer with a Noah's-Ark variety of animals retreating in the wild.

"It's not where they're running," said one character on this popular clip, "it's what they're running from."

According to Hollywood and basketball sources, this scene was filmed after the animals were informed that Bob Knight had entered the forest armed with a chair.

Before attempting to gain momentum for Day Three, let's deal with further review of Day Two, which can't be denied categorically:

One-on-one shining moment

With 18.1 seconds left in regulation, Nelson of St. Joe¿s beat and dropped an 8-foot runner to give the a 55-54 lead over . With half a second left in regulation, Jameer's two free throws sent the game into overtime. Nelson also bagged a pair of threes in overtime and finished with 32 points. But St. Joe's still lost, suggesting the creation of a category called One More Shining Moment.

One whining moment

Well, this moment has no similarity to the moment Huggins used to excuse himself from the tournament on Thursday. It¿s not even a legitimate demonstration of whining. But when St. Joe¿s coach Phil Martelli (the colorful rascal who could pass for the younger bro of actor Peter Boyle) sang the post-game hosannas of Nelson, he was preaching (but not quite whining) to the choir. "People have looked out of the corner of their eyes whenever I say he¿s the best point guard in America," Martelli said of Nelson and people Phil probably thought were rolling their eyes, which seems quite painful. "You can have all the guys that TV guys talk about." Blame it on an out-of-site, out-of-mind philosophy perpetuated by power-conference TV frequency, Phil. However, he should know that we¿re all wild about ... baby!

Billy Packer moment

's aforementioned ugly Oregon first half was abetted by the efforts of Utah point guard . But Jackson's stellar play was sort of ruined by back-seat caterwauling from Packer, who seemed to think this one-on-one match-up was redefining the sport. This relentless, over-the-top analysis of one issue was certain to be undermined in the second half, when Ridnour demonstrated an ability to drive past Jackson whenever he felt the need. At least Packer, whose strong basketball intellect is undermined by his personality (in my opinion), urged Luke to attack the hoop. Billy also deserves credit for beating to death his premise that would do itself a psychological service by avoiding a 20-point deficit against . I would have gone with an ink-blot series.

Jimmy Chitwood award

swingman may not be a future NBA three-point contest threat, but his cold-blooded triple with six seconds in regulation set the stage for Nelson's nail-biting free throws. But, unlike the Hoosiers star who inspired this category, Daniels has what NBA scouts refer to as ¿stuff.¿ The stuff included a transition dunk followed by a three-point point play to lift over St. Joe's in overtime. It's a good thing, too; the St. Joe's mascot was heading for rotator-cuff hell. Guess what? Daniels was trumped for this award. The lead candidate was UNC-Wilmington freshman , whose resume includes 26 points on a tournament-record 8-for-8 shooting from beyond the three-point line against Maryland. Goldsberry is No. 2. The winner? senior , who dropped a buzzer-beating, three-point runner to save the defending champs. Nicholas finished with 22 points, but the Terps may just be getting started. For now, please beer the Turtle.

Roll over, Jim Harrick

If you missed our Day One review, this category owes its inspiration to a coach who was canned at before voting himself off of . Friday's winner was Oregon's Ernie Kent, who was backstroking in praise from Packer after slapping a half-court trap on Utah. Yeah, it worked like mad. Pardon me, but why didn't Ernie attempt to pressure the ball in the FREAKING FIRST HALF? With his best player (Britton Johnson) in street clothes, Utes coach Rick Majerus was in no mood to embrace Oregon's rapid tempo. So, with experience and depth in Oregon's ledger, Majerus shortened the game (even though he said he wouldn't) through several ball reversals in his continuity offense. How can an opposing coach goose the tempo with such shenanigans on display? Right, extend the defense. Not later ... now!

Andy Warhol of fame

The name is . Among tournament names, it may rate a slight edge over that of Penn¿s . But it¿s close. Anyway, is a very good player who suits up for . The 6-foot-6 junior produced 20 points, 14 rebounds and 7 blocks in Friday's loss to . He also split a pair of free throws with the Buccaneers down by two with 10.9 to play. This means Wadood will enter his senior season owing the Southern Conference at least one more minute of fame.

The big spin-off

Friday's overtime win by created a reality-series defeat for CBS and a potential victory for FOX, which now plans to broadcast St. Joe's Millionaire.

An ad to subtract

The Jiffy Lube ad was the Day One champ, so the leading threat in Day Two was Kia and its commercial for the all-new Optima. For the record, that's a car. But our winning entry was served up by Applebee's, which is about to drive us cuckoo with that coach-retiring commercial. In this frequently seen ad, a custodian heckles the coach for retiring, but that's cool because the coach's wife is buying dinner. At Applebee's. OK, Applebee's is a fine place, but this guy coached a state championship team. Something a little more high-brow should have been in order. Maybe the coach's girlfriend will take him to P.F. Chang's. Randy Hill spent his Friday watching college basketball, and intends to do the same the rest of the weekend. In between games he can be reached at his e-mail address: rhill@foxsports.com.
Tagged: IUPUI, UCLA, Timberwolves, Marc Jackson, Oregon, Wake Forest, Auburn, Pennsylvania, Tennessee State, East Tennessee State, Rhode Island, St. Joseph's, Utah

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