Duke should win. I’m not sure they will.

Also, go Butler.

First break, I would be happy if I was Butler, and I think this will be a close game.

Full disclosure: I’ll win a pool if Duke wins, but I want Butler bad.

I’ve watched Hahn, who I know can shoot it, miss everything he puts up for three straight games. Beware the unintended hero.

Now things are heating up, as Butler foolishly concedes a 3 to Singler.

Second big break. I think it will go down to the last 4 minutes. 16-14 Duke.

Butler is doing what they want defensively. And they’re hanging in there offensively. Howard should have at least 4, and he’ll get ’em if he keeps at it. Uh oh. Howard picks up his second.

Butler by 2 with the ball at the third break. Gonna be a real good game.

28-27 Duke. Butler is fine, and happy, and good. 2:40 to go. It will take some weird stuff to happen to make it an uninteresting second half. Gordy hasn’t gotten off; Mack is kicking ass; Singler is kicking ass; Scheyer and Smith yet to explode.

Butler should go into halftime with the psychological advantage: They know they’re as good.

Halftime: Duke 33-32. Great game.

Funny halftime crawl, about my local weather: You’ll die during a thunderstorm if you don’t go Bubble-Boy. I’m paraphrasing, but it’s accurate.

More fun halftime miscellany: A good friend of mine would rather text than call me, but she’s a chick so I can’t be mad. We’re 50.

Second half: It’s a tie for first for best player on the floor between Singler and Gordy.

Still a nail-biter. 17:53, 36-34 Duke. Howard ties it.

Then goes to the bench.

Duke should still win by a couple.

38 all. GREAT game. Clean, Zebras not a huge factor, good defense all over the place, particularly by the Dogs, and we have another whistle…when another free layup comes to Butler! 40-38 Butler.

Great shot by Smith. Tie at the first break in the second half.

Go, Butler!

Just a great game for both games. Singler lays some more long-range ordnance on the Bulldogs. 13:02 left.

(Duke by 8 in terms of final score.)

Sadly, it is still a 4 point game and all I can think about is which team the Zebras have the fix money on.

Also, Gordy seems to get away with a lot of walks, but all the great ones did.

Scheyer with a very big play if he makes the freebie, which he usually does. I like my Duke +8 call.

Big free throws by Howard. A 3 point game.

Deep game thought: Try not to foul Scheyer.

Deep game thought 2: Coach K asked his players if they were going to continue to rebound like a bunch of pussy shooting guards in the second half.

Duke +3. Still a great game.

Good call on the natural foul by Thomas, but only barely, Clark.

5 minutes left, Duke by 1. I love good basketball.

Go dogs!!!!!!

Singler has a peculiarly “dead” spinned shot, but it’s deadly, and boy is he good. I’m gonna give best player on the floor award to Hayward, though. Less to work with.

3:05 left and Butler really needs at least 2. They get it.

1 point game, and I’m jacked. And if Duke wins, I better hear Coach K say what a good team they played beyond the usual cliches. :49 left. Ain’t gonna be no 8 point game. I stand stupid.

Right on. Down the wire to the last minute and great big brass balls, typically. Second to last break, I think. Game reset: Duke by 1, Butler ball, roughly :13 to go. Great game.

Good inbounds defense by Duke, good timeout call by Gordy. Butler needs a better inbounds play than that one.

OK, give me a long 3.

Close, no cigar. I win my pool!

Update: I DON’T win my pool! I tore it up in futile resignation after last weekend, I knew I had Duke in the final, and managed to convince myself that I would’ve never bet against Duke in a final. Ergo, I deserved to lose. I had KS.

Still, a wonderful basketball game.

Hat tip to the inestimable The Rude Pundit for what I’d like to hear. A great prologue.

I suppose I’m just curious to see if shit-heel politics will be on display tonight, and in the longer run, still will work among the huge swaths of moron-Americans who still think Bush is doing a good job, or (admittedly a smaller slice) who consider the country on the “right track.”

John Cole brings some sorely needed HST into the discussion, here. My conclusion, and I trust myself about this, is that McCain is “all in” even when it comes to his character and reputation. Old, in this case old and ambitious people at some point stop giving a shit about stuff like that. McCain is notably not a terribly religious man.

Six minutes to go.

All right, here we go:

Thanks for hosting, blah blah blah.

First question. Immediate financial help for old folks. “Bailout.”

Obama: Failure of GOP politics. Make sure the bailout works. Crack down on CEO’s. AIG spent $400,000 post-bailout. Tax cuts for middle class, help for homeowners, infrastructure improvements. Lame, says this voter.

McCain: Energy independence. Keep taxes low. (Surprise!) $10T debt. Half to China. “Reform, prosperity, and peace in the world.” Kumbayfuckingya. Buy bad loans. Expensive, “my friends,” (surprise!) but it will create jobs. Not Bush’s economics!

Also lame.

Who should be The Economy Man? McCain? I don’t know. Should be trusted. Warren Buffet? Good answer. Meg Whitman. CEO of a successful company called E-Bay.

Obama, on Treasury Secretary: Buffet, good. Others good. Key is that we can’t just help those at the top. Boilerplate economic realities, 95% population tax cut. McCain right.

Question: What about the bailout plan helps me?

McCain: “Rescue,” not bailout. I suspended my campaign! *stop to laugh* Economy will recover. Sure! When? Fannie and Freddie, Obama’s fault. I stood up to F&F. Uh-oh. McCain sure does have a lot of campaign advisors with F&F roots. Still, good job by McCain pending Obama’s answer. Also, must “buy up bad loans.”

Obama: Speaking to Oliver the questioner about the immediate impacts of the bailout. Fairly good direct answer. On to Obama’s response to McCain. Deregulation. McCain loves deregulation. Obama called the crisis too, he says, and I would imagine he could prove it. No call on the lobbyists? Oh, here it comes. Bill never got passed. Lobbyists, but not enough. Pivots back to the question.

Tie. Boring so far.

Follow up: Is it going to get worse before it gets better? Obama: Epic fail! Yes, it will! But he can’t say that, I suppose. Correct answer: “Yes, it will.” McCain: Depends. Strong answer. Special interest, cronyism, blah, blah, blah. We can fix it. Best in the world, us American workers! Go, America!

Question: How can we trust either of you? Both parties got us into this. GREAT question! Obama: I get it. You were responsible, we weren’t. Lot of blame to go around. History: Surpluses when Bush took office. National debt. Good answer. Over the last 8 years pathetic economic policy. Spend money on health care. Spend money on energy. (Should use the word invest.) Oops! Just did! Pretty good.

McCain: System broken, I’m a reformer. McCain-Feingold. Lieberman. (Oops?) Obama never takes on the Dems. Obama is a big liberal big spending liberal, big spender. One BILLION (uh, compared to $700B we just gave the banking industry?) in earmarks requested by Obama. “I know how to do these things.” How?

Follow up from Brokaw: Order your priorities. McCain: All three. (Good answer!) Uh-oh, retirees are going to have to take the hit. “I know how to do that.” Lieberman again. Not sure he wants to keep going to that well. “All of the above.” All national security related.

Obama: We have to prioritize like a family does. Quotes Nashville gas prices. National security. Invest in alternate energy. We can do it. Invokes JFK. Not bad. Health care #2, bad for everyone, business and family included. Education included. Fights about McCain. Earmarks. I don’t like them either. $300B tax cut to corporations from McCain. “Money out of the system.” Not bad.

Inadvertent HUGE delete. Sorry.

Shit. I would have to make an immediate call that my delete was a live-blog killer.

I’ll try to go more general.

Obama on alternate energy. McCain votes against alternate energy. Drilling. 3%/25%, if you don’t know what that means you’re an idiot.

McCain is doing fine tonight. Since he hasn’t fell off his chair, or hurled any shit at Obama, he’ll be declared the winner by our Media Man.

I really think McCain needs to drop the “my friends” thing.

Question: Health care as a commodity?

Obama: Tough one. Moral commitment. Health care wonkery. Borrrringgg! Right in terms of policy, wrong politically. Goes after McCain’s policy. Uh-oh! U.S. Chamber of Commerce says McCain’s policy is stupid! Even *I* didn’t know that.

McCain: Tax cuts! The Republican answer to all problems! Government sucks! Fines! Parents! He’ll FINE YOU! Fear, loathing, hate! McCain’s health care proposal is a disaster. Joke! Didn’t go over.

Obama: Should be a right. Right on.

Good answer.

Question: Foreign policy. Economic strain vs. peace-making.

McCain: Challenge. (Indeed.) Greatest force for good ever! We’re peacemakers! (Huh? Tell it to the Afghans or Iraqis.) Judgment. Experience. I know how to win wars. We’re good. Obama wrong. About everything. Rookie. No time for that.

Obama: Teeing it up and hitting it far. This one is a no-brainer. Obama wins this question.

Brokaw interjects: Moral foreign policy doctrines.

Obama: Moral issues at stake. Genocide could be the line. Can’t be everywhere all the time. Darfur.

McCain: My friends. Christ. Iraq, timeline, another softball to Obama. My friends, AGAIN. Victory! Honor! Requires a cool hand at the tiller! If there’s one thing we know, it’s that McCain is a cool hand! Still, it will work in moron-America.

Good non-answer. I know how to stop genocide. LOL.

Question: Pakistani sovereignty. Tough deal, and that’s me talking. Not sure how to go, personally.

Obama: Doing OK on this one. AQ stronger. Reverse course. End war. Change policies. Pokistan! The righty bloggers will go crazy! Put pressure on Pakistan. Take Osama out. Good answer to the moron base.

McCain: Hero: Teddy R.! “Walk softly and carry a big stick!” McCain won’t attack Osama if we know where he is? McCain carries an awfully big rhetorical stick, if I may, and I wonder about how it relates to his personal stick.

Obama forces a follow up: Good answer. I said “IF” the Pakistani’s won’t cooperate. “Bomb bomb bomb Iraq!” Ooooh. Ouch. Hurt McCain on that one. As we say in my personal life: “Good comeback.”

McCain forces another follow up: He understand sending people into harms way. Once again, “he knows.” Two questions. How does he know what it is like to send people into harms way, and why hasn’t he shared his secrets of getting Osama with the Administration?

Obama doing OK, too, all in all.

McCain: General P. rules and rocks! Obama is sometimes right, too! We have to have the “same strategy.” The surge worked! Goddamnit! Get off my lawn!

Question: Russia, apply pressure, without starting another cold war.

McCain: We won’t start another one, even though he kinda did. Putin is a crazy person. Good call. Looked into his eyes and all. The Bush method. “Moral” support for Georgia. Invite them into NATO. (Yikes!) Oh, by the way! “Allies!”

Obama: Anticipate. Kind of one of my life rules, so automatically a good answer from this voter’s perspective.

Pretty “substantive” debate, all in all.

Yes or no answer: Obama flubs it. So does McCain: “Maybe.” Depends.

Question: Retired Navy chief. Both like Israel. Iran attacks Israel. Stupid question, no brainer. Both will say, in effect, “yes.” We’ll handle it without U.N. permission.

Duh. How did that one get through?

Both: “Yes.” More complicated than that, but yeah, “yes” was the answer. McCain did a lot of dodging, Obama will, too.

I don’t care if Iran has nukes, because the “diplomatic” solution is simple: Use them and you’re gone. No longer an “ancient” culture. No longer anything but a nice shiny piece of glass in the Mideast, with some mutants hanging out. Take your chances.

I hate the politics of this. Obama is doing what he needs to do, politically. Just not rationally.

Question, last question, Zen-like, says Brokaw: What don’t you know, and how will you learn it?

Obama: Good answer so far. Immense challenges, no one knows what will happen. Unexpected challenges. Stump speech. Advantage, McCain. Best to get this one last.

McCain, last word: McCain can’t predict the future. Comforting. Another stump speech. Knows what dark times are like. Did I mention I was in a prison camp? Good answer, politically.

He believes in this country. Good to know. “Country first.” My fucking ass. Your Palin pick ruined that.

Thank the FSM, it’s over.

Talking Head time, the important part. This is where the votes lie.

May have to switch from MSNBC, if Gregory still talks. He’s a dick.

I can’t see how this one changed anyone’s mind. The Talking Heads will change that.

Matthews: Gets it wrong already. McCain brought up Buffet, not Obama, as Matthews states. All in all, though, it’s obvious Matthews prefers Obama.

Simple Meta Question: Does America want to hear “my friends” for the next 4 years? It might mean more than you think.

If this dude can hit his free throws *YES!* they have a good chance of beating UConn.

1 out of 2. Sudden live-blogging! UConn scores! Tie game, TO SD with 13-ish left to go.

Play for the last shot, boys.

Commercial break.

Correction post TO! SD still up 1! (I just turned it on.)

SD ball out. Pressure from UConn. 20.1 left.

Trap. TO SD, 17.1 left.

Out on the side. More pressure. (Duh.) BLOCK on a cut to get the inbound!

No time off the clock, more high-pressure free throws.

Good call I say. Will he make them?

Nothing but net on the first. Up 2. Second one clanks. Quick UConn take to the hole, foul. Needs 2. 80% for the season. Dyson.

First one in. Easily. Second one down, tie game, 10.4 left. TO. No! No TO!

OT!!!!!!

Crap. UConn will win. I’m done.

Update! I’m WRONG, for the FIRST time! Just a darned good shot by some SD guy, 1 on 1.

Well, maybe I’m wrong. SD up by 1 with 1.2. UConn ball. Commercial break.

SD wins!

The only reason I care is NOT because I had them in a pool. I’m not in any for the first time I can remember. So it’s all underdogs, all the time.