Babbling and friends watch NCAA hoops

Tonight’s crowd includes at least two compulsive gamblers, at least one person who picked none of the Final Four teams, and, thank God, no one who thinks UConn and Tennessee are national powerhouses.

9:22 p.m.: The game hasn’t started and already the Roy Williams jokes are in full form. “Roy Williams, the Dan Marino of college basketball,” says my half-Asian roommate.

9:25 p.m.: “McCants is an excellent finisher.” Thanks, Billy Packer, most of the best players in the country are.

9:38 p.m.: Bruce Weber’s bright orange jacket looks terrible. He blends in with his team. I swear Dee Brown just tried to pass it to his coach for a long three-pointer.

9:39 p.m.: Divine intervention is clearly on Illinois’ side. They have a reverend. I read this the other day on about Roger Powell, Jr.: “He used to be like the rest of us-he liked to go out and enjoy the night life, so to speak. He definitely lived the party life his first couple years here.” Now, he’s a reverend who stays in and reads the Bible. Sounds fishy to me.

9:42 p.m.: “I love St. Louis.”-“Why?”-“Because it’s cheap. I got a hotel room for $58 there.”-“Well you can get a cheap motel in Williamstown, too, but you wouldn’t go there.”

9:45 p.m.: Felton has been in foul trouble in every game. He’s a defensive liability in every game. This guy cannot play in the NBA. Can you picture him trying to defend Allen Iverson or Jason Kidd? Not a chance.

9:50 p.m.: Nix that, the stats don’t lie. Felton has five points and four assists in the first 12 minutes.

10:00 p.m.: Taking a break to eat pizza. Back after halftime. UNC is up eight. I sense a blowout. I don’t think Ilinois can handle the talent and inside play of UNC.

10:18 p.m.: Moin is getting a little too excited about seeing Triple H on some stupid Showbiz Tonight show. “Why isn’t he on Raw tonight!?!” I don’t know … because Raw is taped every week. I have no problem with wrestling fans, as long as they realize that most of the “live” events on TV are taped, and everything is scripted.

10:35 p.m.: UNC is up 15 two minutes into the second half. I can’t see Illinois coming back. Professor Maraniss cannot be happy about the direction of this game.

10:37 p.m.: OK, it’s down to seven and I look like an idiot. 10-2 run for Illinois.

10:42 p.m.: Four-point game. Three point game. What’s the spread? It smells of that game in “Blue Chips” where Tony fixes a game as a freshman. Western was up by like 20, but the lead dwindled until they no longer covered. Has this ever happened at Amherst? Are there even lines or spreads on Div. III games?

10:45 p.m.: Andre after a Sean May foul: “He does that in line at the Krispy Kreme all the time but it’s allowed there!”

10:47 p.m.: Illinois is just hoisting up threes. 11/28 on the night.

10:51 p.m.: Just for the record: I hate Star Wars. Someone in the room, who shall remain nameless, wants to camp out for the new Star Wars movie. I’m speechless. Where is the exterminator for people who like Star Wars?

10:53 p.m.: Sean May is a monster. He has 21 points on 10/11 shooting. If he ever gets into shape, he will be an all-star in the NBA. If not, he’ll be the next Oliver Miller.

10:57 p.m.: “Anyone with cornrows is an idiot. They just look so dumb.” Two minutes later, digging an even deeper hole for himself: “It’s true, they look dumb.”

11:07 p.m.: Brown going to the line with Illinois down two with 5:30 left in the game. This is going to come down to the wire. If Roy Williams loses this, he will officially be the biggest choker in college basketball history.

11:09 p.m.: Moin just compared May to Christian Laettner. As much as I hate to say it, he’s right. I wonder if May will be named to the next Olympic team and then embarrass himself.

11:14 p.m.: Jim Nance has a great job. NCAA Tournament this weekend, Masters next weekend. “How do you get tickets to the Masters?”-“You gotta be white, rich and not a woman.” (I was not involved in that conversation.)

11:16 p.m.: Two-and-a-half minutes left, 70-70. Foxwoods must be going crazy right now. I don’t even want to know what’s going on in Vegas.

11:17 p.m.: Andre just made a good point: This is eerily similar to Roy Williams’ last finals appearance when a blue-and-white Kansas team lost to orange-colored Syracuse.

11:19 p.m.: Note to readers: Most of the stuff said in this room could not be printed due to its graphic nature.

11:22 p.m.: John Doe on Felton: “That guy doesn’t even have cornrows and he looks dumb.” He may not be able to play defense, but he’s definitely a floor general.

11:24 p.m.: Roy Williams is just about to win his first national championship. But everyone fails to mention that none of these guys are even his players (besides Marvin Williams). They are all Matt Doherty’s recruits.

Final Notes: Sean May single-handedly won this game for UNC. Possibly the most dominating individual performance since Jamal Mashburn and Christian Laettner’s battle in the East Regional Finals in 1992. You know the game. Laettner was 10-10 from the floor, 10-10 from the line for 31 points. Mashburn, only a sophomore, was 11-16 from the field, 3?- from three-point range, 3-3 from the line, for 28 points, 10 rebounds. They both played 43 minutes.

Matt Doherty must be the most depressed man in America this week. This was his team. These were his recruits. Sorry Matt, but like Dean Smith says, North Carolina is a family. You have to take care of the family, and Roy Williams is a more important family member than you are.