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What a TV night

March 17, 2009 | 11:10 pm

There was just too much good stuff on tonight (actually beginning this afternoon).

The NCAA tournament started. Alabama State lost the play-in game to Morehead State on ESPN. Since it's the only men's NCAA tournament game for the omnipresent sports network, it was the big-timers on hand -- Steve Lavin and Brent Musburger called the game, Erin Andrews was the sideline reporter. When Morehead State coach Donnie Tyndall was being interviewed by Andrews after his team won the right to play Louisville on Friday, you could just tell Tyndall knew he'd probably never be interviewed by Andrews again.

Then Kentucky hosted UNLV in a first-round NIT game. The special part here was that Kentucky hosted the game at Memorial Coliseum instead of Rupp Arena, which was already booked up by the state high school tournament. Let's face it, Rupp Arena folks aren't used to worrying about hosting an NIT game. Click here and let some UK fans talk about what Memorial Coliseum has meant to Kentucky basketball. Oh, and Kentucky won.

Then there was Washington State playing at St. Mary's in another NIT game. If you want to think the NIT doesn't matter, you should have seen St. Mary's star Paddy Mills playing defense in the final seconds. There could have been no other ending either. A kid named Paddy Mills playing for the Gaels on St. Patrick's Day. Washington State never had a chance.

And while all that was going on, over on the MLB Network, the U.S. was coming from 5-3 down in the bottom of the ninth to beat Puerto Rico 6-5 and advance to the semifinals of the World Baseball Classic. You just don't see major leaguers celebrating like Little Leaguers but that's how it was and the way the MLB Network let the celebration take place without talking over it was perfect.

But the night wasn't over. It was Dancing With The Stars results night, first of the new season. Two of the athletes -- gymnast Shawn Johnson and retired NFL Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor were in no danger but rodeo star Ty Murray was. In just two nights of dancing Murray has won me over. He's got a sense of humor and he wants to win. He listens earnestly to the judges and he got better! Murray made it to next week, Belinda Carlisle didn't. No quibble here. Except for a bit of a TV overload headache.

And the best two days of the week are still to come. NCAA first-round Thursday and Friday.

-- Diane Pucin

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