Saturday, 7 a.m. - Ready for 11 hours of hoops today
I didn't make it to Richmond for "Pillow Fight" Friday. I had to do my regular public relations job at ODU. But thanks to the miracle of modern technology, I felt like I was right there for all the action.
My friends who follow the Monarchs provided Facebook and Twitter updates of Friday's four games. ESPN's website provided up-to-the-second stats. Michael Litos of CAA Hoops was a one-man information dissemination machine, posting tweets, instant analysis and even video on his site, www.caahoops.com.
There's nothing like being there live, but I've gotta say, it was legitimately exciting to watch the ESPN GameCast refresh at the end of the Georgia State-Hofstra game, which Hofstra won 68-67 after a late basket and then a steal by forward Greg Washington. Our opponents today, Towson, walloped UNC-Wilmington 91-74, putting five scorers in double figures. Our game tips at noon. It's the first of four quarter-finals that will have riveted.
Today I'll be blogging at the Coliseum all day, and luckily for me, I'll have a companion. My dad Bill Moulson has caught the ODU basketball bug, so he decided to come all the way from North Bay, Ont., for the CAA Tournament. All season, we've bonded over basketball, dissecting wins and losses on the phone after I watch the games live, and my dad follows the team through the Internet, on radio or Monarch TV.
He's always been a sports fan, but this season, my dad has gotten as deep into the Monarchs as I have. I asked him what's been so captivating about ODU basketball.
"One of the first things I guess I noticed was the variety of fans that come to the games," he said. "I expected to see the crazy cheerers with their faces painted and white shirts. The thing I was really surprised with, and felt good to see, is the number of young parents bringing their kids to the game. It says a lot about the type of atmosphere the Monarchs provide."
My dad's a fan of the game on the court, but says he's still picking up the complexity of basketball strategy of the college game. He can appreciate one thing, however. "ODU really does a great job defensively. It's quite evident. I like watching them play defense, because you never know when they're going to make a steal and attack the basket. It's makes it exciting."
He's a fan of all the players, but my dad has found himself pulling for a couple of guys he thinks of as slight underdogs on the team. "You sort of expect Gerald Lee and a couple of the other starters to do well. But I like to see Darius James play well. He's a little guy, which I like, and he's had some games where he's really scored some key baskets. I like Neely a lot, too."
I asked my dad what he expects with his first day of live ODU basketball. He said he was going to have trouble sleeping Friday night. "I can't tell you how excited I am."
See, you can tell where I get my fanaticism from.
Brendan O'Hallarn works in public relations for Old Dominion University
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