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NCAA Tournament notebook: You never know what’s coming next

first_img Related Stories Syracuse puts 2014 NCAA Tournament loss to Dayton in past with 70-51 win over FlyersNo. 15 seed Middle Tennessee State shocks No. 2 seed Michigan State, will face Syracuse on SundaySyracuse basketball opponent preview: What to know about Middle Tennessee StateDayton collapses under pressure of Syracuse’s early second-half runMalachi Richardson, equally unpredictable and unfazed, is ready for the big stage It’s not often that games start at 11:15 a.m. But once you get to the NCAA Tournament, it doesn’t really matter where you are or when you want to play. We got to the Scottrade Center at 9 a.m., and thankfully got free parking this time. It took about two minutes of game time for us to realize there was no Wi-Fi out by the court. And then probably another 30 minutes to figure out that there were hardwire internet cords sitting right there to fix that.Covering the NCAA Tournament was immediately a surreal experience. The games are propped up in these completely uniform arenas, with uniform courts. There’s no in-game entertainment. There’s equal ticket allotments to each school. It’s all so organized and planned out. Nothing deviates from the norm.But once you get past all that, the real life emotions of the games top anything I’ve ever covered. You walk into Syracuse’s locker room and they’re all freaking out because Middle Tennessee State has taken a quick 15-2 lead. They’re trying to find what channel it’s on. You walk into the Dayton locker room and one of their managers tried to cover up my phone as I took a picture of them tearing down the SU scouting report off the walls. There were players crying. A season ending. ST. LOUIS — To really take you into the day of covering Syracuse’s first NCAA Tournament win in two years, I have to start nearly eight hours before the Orange tipped off with the Flyers.It was 3 a.m. and I woke up in my beautiful Holiday Inn hotel bed with an awful headache. There would be no more sleep without an Advil, Tylenol, Aleve, anything I could get my hands on. I grabbed the room key and walked out to the front desk to buy some. And when I got back, the room key was defunct. It had stopped working. Maybe it never did.The attendant at the front desk was gone when I got back to get a new one. It was 3 a.m., so I’m sure he had better places to be. I asked the custodian in the lobby to try and work with the key card machine. He had no idea how. I asked him to call the front desk attendant. He didn’t have his number.It was about 20 minutes — though it felt much longer — before everything was resolved. A long, eventful day had only just begun.MORE COVERAGE:AdvertisementThis is placeholder text10 fun facts about Middle Tennessee StateNo. 15 seed Middle Tennessee State shocks No. 2 seed Michigan StateA look back at the first time a No. 2 seed lost to a No. 15 seed Sam Blum | Senior Staff Writer There’s only survive and advance in the NCAA Tournament, and being inside the locker rooms today provided that perspective. And once one game is over, they ship you out and move on to the next one. As if it never happened.I had joked with beat writers Matt Schneidman and Jesse Dougherty that MTSU would beat Michigan State. I love to pick upsets, so I tend to just think every game will be an upset. It became a little mantra of the trip for the three of us. Syracuse would obviously be playing MTSU, not MSU, arguably the best team in the country.It was amazing being courtside as I watched the Blue Raiders fend off every Michigan State run. A team that in the morning was unknown to everyone. A team from Murfreesboro, Tennessee — that’s more Rs than NCAA Tournament wins. A team that was really just the butt of our joke. They won it. They were the ones whose jovial fans behind me screamed loudly into my ear after each made basket.center_img Published on March 18, 2016 at 11:56 pm Facebook Twitter Google+ In a matter of hours, a team created a history for its program. There’s something to be said for watching the best moment of someone’s life happen right before your eyes. I knew that that was happening in front of me. Beginnings and endings, they happen so quickly in this Tournament that it’s hard to really soak it in.Hopefully I can sleep through the night on Friday without a pounding headache. But it’s possible that it will happen again. There’s really no way to know what’s going to happen when you wake up in the morning. This Tournament shows in a very tangible way why that is. Commentslast_img read more

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