Let's look back on Arkansas-Pine Bluff's great memories from this tournament. There was that day and a half they had between the play-in game to the first round, where they could get excited in the hours they weren't sleeping. So that's probably about twenty hours total of excitement and preparation. Then there's the long trip from Pine Bluff to Providence. The hotel check-in, where someone on the team probably said something funny and everyone laughed. Good times. Maybe someone made a funny face and someone else took a picture of it. Then it's off to Dunkin' Donuts Arena, where Duke's Kyle Singler shoots over you for roughty thirty-two minutes, and then it's back to Pine Bluff. Times to remember.
Unfortunately for the Golden Lions, there's no charm for a charm bracelet that signifies "You worked your ass off in the play-in game and had less than a day to truly prepare to be fed to an unforgiving number one seed" (QVC, I'm working on that charm, so hands off). And while you might find the odd 16-versus-one seed game that looks competitive up until about five minutes into the second half, there's also that 16-versus-one seed game that just sits up in the corner of your screen, growing grimmer and grimmer, like something decomposing, and you're glad you didn't watch that game.
I did, in fact, watch that game. And in case you were wondering, Duke drilled Arkansas-Pine Bluff directly into the ground, 73-44. For some reason, it always seems to be Duke with the first-round demolition, probably because they're often a number one seed, and even when they're not, they're usually handed a piece of cake as a first game.
But let us, tonight, not bury Arkansas-Pine Bluff but instead praise them. Because you can take nothing away from the Golden Lions. You guys made it here fair and square, and you deserved to be here. It's not your fault you were a sixteen-seed tournament champ who had to play the play-in. And it's not your fault that you drew number one seed Duke. But you know what? You made the Big Dance, Golden Lions. You were a part of the whole thing. Jim Nantz and Clark Kellogg called your game, and Clark talked about your "strimpf." You earned the same treatment as anyone else in this tournament, and don't let this crushing get you down. You were here. And that's still a lot more than many teams will ever be able to say. So hold your head high. Remember you played your part in the 2010 NCAA Tourney. And don't forget to turn in your room keys to the front desk and pay for any incidentals incurred during your stay. See you later.