The Slant Pattern Whiparound

ESPN has Goal Line for college football. The NFL has Red Zone. MLB has ... I forget what they call their program where they go from one go from one game to another, but they have one.

Clearly, jumping from game to game is something that audiences like, and with 62 college basketball games on the slate, two college football games, eight NBA games, nine NHL games, tonight seems a good night for liveblogging, even if I am off to a late start.

9:01 PM EST — Watching as Ohio tries to pull off a victory over Western Michigan. They're down 17-14 with 50 seconds left, 3rd-and-8 at the WMU 19. Given the circumstances, this Ohio crowd is insanely quiet.

9:03 — Now I know why. It's the end of the third quarter, not the fourth. That also explains the conservative playcalling and poor clock management, which I was going to get to next.

9:08 — After coming up short on third down, Ohio kicks the field goal. I change the channel.

9:09 — Now watching the start of North Dakota/Gonzaga. Way way back in the 1992-93 season, when I was junior in high school, SportsChannel (which would go on to become FOX Sports) had little in the way to compete with ESPN, but they did have the rights to UNLV games.

This meant I spent a lot of time, upset-lover that I was, rooting against UNLV. They were a national power at the time, and most seasons, lorded over their outgunned conference, the Big West.

By the time the season ended, I knew UNLV really well, and I was now a fan too (but still more of a fan of upsets). I was enraged when they were passed over for the NCAAs that year, and quickly were bounced from the NIT.

If I want to try to recapture that vibe, clearly I need to watch Gonzaga games, who usually lord over their outgunned conference, the West Coast Conference.

But not tonight. It's already 15-2 Gonzaga, there's so much on, and we have a monstrous upset in the making. That would be...

9:19 PM — Cavs lead Sixers with 21.9 seconds left, in Philadelphia. And I'm not confusing the third and the fourth quarters this time!

9:21 PM — Somehow the Sixers got Joel Embiid open under the basket for the dunk, and now it's the Cavs down 1 with 13.2 left. By the way, it's early, but the Hornets and Cavs were the two teams Vegas gave the lowest win totals coming into the year. If the year ended right now, the Cavs would be in the playoffs and the Hornets would be the last team out in the East.

9:23 PM — Kevin Love misses the three and the upset is averted.

9:24 PM — Let's look at some college basketball scores and pick a game to watHOLY $#*%* KENTUCKY, RANKED NUMBER ONE, HAS LOST TO EVANSVILLE! That will not make SC founder and Big Cheese (and UK superfan/brief attendee) Marc James happy, so I won't dwell on that one.

9:26 PM — More possible upsets ... I'm now on Coppin State, who finished 7-9 in MEAC play (perhaps the worst conference in the country), tied with Loyola Chicago, less than two years removed from a Final Four appearance. It's midway through the second half.

9:39 PM — The Loyola floor has a light superimposed image of the flag of Chicago covering the whole surface. It's cool.

10:00 PM — Slight delay in my posts due to: pizza arriving.

10:01 PM — Coppin State leads Loyola by 4 with just under a minute left, with Loyola going to the line. Loyola has gone cold from the field. They really emphasize ball movement, to the point of passing up good shots, and it doesn't appear their players have much freedom to improvise.

10:03 PM — Loyola hits both free throws, now Coppin State goes to the line with 31.5 left. They make both, too.

10:05 PM — Loyola back to the line, down 4 again, now with 23.1 left.

10:06 PM — Loyola only hits one, Coppin State rebounds the miss, and it appears that a) an upset is likely, and b) we are in for a (continued) marathon of free throws.

10:08 PM — We're comin' down to the wire. Coppin State hit both free throws to go up five, then Loyola managed a 3-point play. Wisely, Loyola immediately fouled after Coppin State inbounded, and the Eagles missed the first free throw. Loyola calls timeout. They'll get the ball back with 7.7 seconds left, down either 2 or 3.

10:17 PM — To summarize the last 7.7 seconds, Coppin State just did a bunch of very smart fouling before Loyola could heave critical threes, made all free throws after the above-mentioned missed, and beat the Ramblers by 4.

10:19 PM — Coppin State wins as a 23-point underdog. Evansville won as a 25-point underdog. The Loyola loss is obviously less shocking — it just means that Loyola is back to being just another mid-major. Let's move over to some hawkey.

10:20 PM — Blues and Coyotes are tied at two, midway through the third period. The gamblers I listen to were telling me to pound the Blues before this game, and they have outshot Phoenix 28-20, but here we are.

10:24 PM — Blues fail to get a shot off during a power play, but stopped a breakaway short-hander. 5:43 left.

10:29 PM — St. Louis has a player named Tyler Bozak, which is making my teenage self laugh.

10:34 PM — The Blues completely dominated the last three minutes but couldn't score, and we head for OT.

10:38 PM — The Coyotes will spend two of the last three minutes and 31 seconds a man up — too many men on the ice, St. Louis.

10:42 PM — St. Louis kills the power play. Phoenix seemed to use it mostly to catch their breath, and we appear headed for a shootout.

10:43 PM — We are headed for a shootout.

10:44 PM — St. Louis outshot Phoenix 35-22 in the end.

10:47 PM — Phoenix wins the shootout 2-0 to win the game 3-2. They have won on shootouts in back-to-back nights against the last two Stanley Cup champions, both on the road. This snaps a Blues seven-game winning streak. Coyotes goalie Darcy Kuemper really beasted under pressure in a big way.

10:49 PM — This seems like a good place to wrap it up. To tie up the last loose end, Western Michigan beat Ohio in overtime, 37-34.

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