Here are five tips I learned from staying up and watching the ESPN NCAA basketball marathon. Perhaps some poor soul can benefit from this experience.
Since I am a western basketball freak, I naturally decided to take on the first part of the ESPN NCAA basketball marathon, i.e., the western swing. The western swing will keep you up all night if you are in the middle to eastern half of the country.
Here is your checklist for the long and lonely road of the western swing:
1) Get on Twitter. Check out your compatriots. Try a hastag like #TipOffMarathon. You will run into some amazing people. Mostly college students. Mostly guys. Like the New Mexico State Aggies dude I came across who was proclaiming he was going to be up all night freaking on college basketball and going for the whole marathon. It gives a whole new meaning to the hashtag, #AggieUp.
2) Get your scout out. This is serious business. Get your basketball magazines or online sites ready because you are going to see some new names and new teams. I like to travel the back roads of college basketball and there is no better vehicle than the ESPN NCAA basketball marathon. You will find new potential stars like Gonzaga’s Domantas Sabonis, new transfers like Aaron Bright of St. Mary’s, and new contending teams like High Point. This may be your only chance to see teams like High Point until the conference and NCAA tournaments roll around in March. Get your scouting started now and you will be way ahead of the game. Brackets, anyone?
3) Embrace the crazy. That is what the ESPN NCAA basketball marathon is all about, anyway. And who does crazy better than college students? Gonzaga was a packed and howling house against SMU. St. Mary’s looked less than half full, but it was all insanely loud students. For a game that started after midnight their time and ended about 2:30 in the morning, they had a Gael force energy against New Mexico State.
4) Immerse yourself in roundball. Who is that guy sitting next to Larry Brown on the SMU bench? Remember, that is coach-in-waiting Tim Jankovich. Can a rampaging rhino do ballet? Well, if you saw Brad Waldow’s catch and pirouette for the monster smash for St. Mary’s you would know. You don’t want to get in front of that freight train. I yelled out, “Where’s Waldow? There’s Waldow!” You have to keep the energy up when its 4:00 a.m. Even the announcers were getting dingy and making up-all-night driven proclamations. Oh yeah, you’ll get some new announcers, too.
5) Know when to say when. Perhaps a cue here would be, uh, uh, what’s that light thing in the sky? Yeah, when the sun comes up that is your cue to go down. Do you really need to go all day long and into the night again. After all, you just watched High Point beat Hawaii from 4:30 to 6:30 a.m. How many people can say that? And just how important to you is that big 6:30 a.m. tip-off? Will you live without seeing Iona at Wofford? It depends on who you are, I guess. That New Mexico State Aggie I ran across was probably getting stoked-up for an all day run into the night again. ESPN says it is 29 straight hours of ESPN NCAA basketball. If you need company try #TipOffMarathon and #AggieUp. Billy the Kid just might still be there.