Everyone else may have their eyes glued on the BCS selection show (And really, a selection show? How badly does college football want to be basketball without saying the p-word?) but I'm stuck on ESPN2, where UNC's women's team is at Tennessee. Just like last March, but without Ivory Latta. But still with Shelden William's sweetheart, Candace Parker. We need to fund the WNBA better just to get her the hell out of here.
Before the game: We're stuck with Penn State - Duke, where the Nittany Lions tried really hard to give the game away in the closing seconds, but redeemed themselves with a terrific full court drive and dish for the winning layup.
At the first timeout: UNC is dominating the paint - Erlana Larkin is getting plenty of second looks - but UT has the 9-8 lead off of a three-pointer from the corner.
You know, judging by ESPN you'd think that before Jim Valvano, everybody was pro-cancer. That the Cancer Lobby ruled Washington, D.C. and everyone who got it really didn't want to live in the first place.
At the second timeout: When UNC is moving at full speed they're nearly unstoppable, with both McCants and Breland making some really pretty plays on the run. The Vols have lost Nicky Anosike to two fouls, leaving really no rebounding threat save Parker on the floor. It's 19-18 Heels, but they don't seem to have the depth of the men's team to keep this up.
At the third timeout: Apparently if you toss the alley-oop off the backboard and it ricochets beyond midcourt without hitting the rim, it's a backcourt violation. UNC is getting some good interior looks - Larkins had a pretty pass from nderneath to McCants - but the shots aren't falling and the Vols are up. Not that you can really tell, since ESPN has turned most of the screen over to NFL promos and recaps. Tennessee extends the lead to 29-21 with another three though.
At Carolina's timeout: UNC's stamina is waning, leading to a couple of defensive lapses and turnovers or near turnovers in the backcourt on offense. UT has their biggest lead at 35-25.
At the third timeout: The Vol's Hornbuckle had been running rings around everyone on the floor, leaping in for rebounds and draining shots, but UNC used a 9-0 run and some great guard play from McCants and DeGraffenried to pull within 4, 38-34.
I wonder how the NCAA feels about having their "selection show" pre-empted by an overtime in the Bears-Giants game? I'm not sure the apocalypse could postpone the bracket announcements in March, after all.
At the half: UT's defense is doing a great job at keeping Larkins at the top of the paint whenever UNC tries to set up the half-court offense. She's still getting to the blocks about half the time, but only after the set offense breaks down. The Vols get a bucket off of a Parker no-look pass to go into the half with the 42-40 lead. Just prior to that, Breland committed an offensive foul on a fast break, but I can't blame her - I'd have tried to jump over Shannon Bobbitt too. She's tiny.