I managed to side-step the weirdness of the Ides of March and went 8-3-1 in the first day of betting action. It was a solid start and if I didn't waffle the Oral Roberts/Wazzu pick, I would have gone 9-2-1. I'm sticking with my gut for Day 2 along with avoiding too many underdogs. Both dogs I picked yesterday lost.
Here are the betting lines courtesy of BoDog as of 11am ET:
12:15p Albany +8.5 Virginia
12:25p Georgia Tech -2.5 UNLV
12:30p North Texas +19 Memphis
2:35p Winthrop +4 Notre Dame
2:45p Long Beach State +7.5 Tennessee
2:55p Texas A&M - Corpus Christi +13 Wisconsin
3:00p Creighton +2.5 Nevada
5:05p Miami (Ohio) +9 Oregon
7:10p Illinois +3 Virginia Tech
7:10p Niagara +19.5 Kansas
7:20p Purdue +3 Arizona
7:25p New Mexico State +8.5 Texas
9:40p Holy Cross +8 Southern Illinois
9:40p Villanova -2 Kentucky
9:50p Jackson State +27.5 Florida
9:55p Arkansas +2.5 USC
Here are 12 games that I'll bet on today:
Virginia -8.5The last three bets (S. Illinois, UK, USC) have not been put in yet and are subject to change depending on how I'm running today. Generally in the opening round, I avoid betting on the #1 or #2 seeds with spreads that are over 20 points. Those teams rarely lose and when the games are a blow out, the coaches empty the benches late in the game in order to avoid risking player injuries which fucks up the point spread. That's a factor I don't want to deal with as walk-ons are jacking up threes and your 25 point lead gets cut down to 19 by a bunch of nobodies. There's too much risk involved so I try to not play those games. I'm skipping Florida, Kansas, and Memphis although I'm tempted to play Kansas and Jackson State over Florida. Yesterday, the 20+ favorites (Ohio St, UNC, and UCLA) went 2-1.
Tennessee -7 (current line is at 7.5 but I got it in at -7!)
Virginia Tech -3
Southern Illinois -8
I'm a big fan of S. Illinois and the Salukis! Heck, Walt Clyde Frazier is an alum, so how could I pick against them? I'm concerned about Va Tech. Will the team that beat UNC twice show up? Or will the team that lost to Marshall and NC St three times show up and play like a bunch of scrubs? I'm hoping that StB's Badgers put an ass-whooping on Texas A&M at CC.
I'm picking three dogs today; Kentucky, UNLV, and Winthrop. Kentucky's coach Tubby Smith is on the hotseat, so he's got added pressure to win against Villanova. That Winthrop games is bothering me because they have won 18 straight and are due for a loss. But they have a Kiwi on the team, so I'm going with the sleeper in this year's tournament. UNLV has been on a roll and is looking for their first win in March Madness since the Jerry Tarkanian days. The last time the Runnin' Rebels advanced into the second round of the NCAAs... the Luxor, Bellagio, Wynn, and Mandalay Bay had not been built yet.
Best of luck with your picks and pools.
12:10pm... I didn't put any action down on the Arizona/Purdue game. My buddy JW wrote me:"I like Purdue over Arizona. If they can keep the game a bit slower and not get caught up in a fast paced game, they can take the Wildcats. Purdue played Ohio St. really well last week and they are a bit underrated."
1:06pm... Good start with both picks up. UNLV is out to a 10 point lead while UVA is up 20. CBS is giving us the potential upset of #2 Memphis versus North Texas as Memphis just regained the lead with an Andre Allen three pointer. I had CBS gamecast up but got kicked out. Now I'm 25,458th in line.
2:09pm... UNLV blew a 14 point lead as Georgia Tech dominated the first four minutes of the second half and managed to tie the score at 40-40. Tech tied it again at 44 and 46, as UNLV failed to pull away as Kevin Kruger (son of coach Lon Kruger) bricked up a couple of wide open treys. As a team UNLV had missed 19 three-pointers with 10:00 remaining, going 7-26 from behind the line while Tech shot just 3-9 from downtown. UNLV finally made a run led by Wendell White and went up by 6 with 8 minutes left, as CBS finally put the game back on network TV. Of course they played for ten seconds before a commercial break.
2:17pm... Virginia got off to a quick start and led by 20 at the break. The Poker Nerd's Alma Mater never looked back as they extended their lead to as much as 30 before winning by 27. J.R. Reynolds lit Albany's defense up for 28 points on 9-13 shooting including 5-7 from three-point range. UVA advances and covers the spread, as I start the betting day 1-0.
2:43pm... Tech took it's first lead of the game with 3:32 to go after Anthony Morrow hit two free throws. Senior guard Wendell White put UNLV back on top when he blew by two defenders at the top of the key and scored on a layup. Tech tied it up at 59 with two minutes to go. Even though UNLV was undersized, they caught a little good luck when they missed three shots in one possession and scrambled to get three big offense rebounds, resulting in Wendell White getting fouled on a layup. He made the shot, but missed the free throw to put UNLV up 61-59. With 50 seconds to go, UNLV's Wink Adams forced a five second call against Tech as they turned the ball over. UNLV went 6-8 on FT's in the last ninety seconds as they picked up a 67-63 victory. The Runnin Rebels advanced as I went 2-0 for the day overall.
3:17pm... Winthrop went on a 13-2 run to end the first half. The #11 seed is up 32-28 against Notre Dame. Tennessee is up by 12 which keeps me sedated for a bit. But Wisconsin is getting smoked like a cheap joint, down 7-0 to TAM-CC.
4:20pm... Today's smoke break is brought to you by the letter "E".
4:29pm... With 5 minutes to go, Notre Dame stormed back to within one point. Winthrop blew a 20 point lead and lost composure. It came down to who played better in crunch time, and the Fighting Irish looked liked drunken hooligans. Craig Bradshaw completed a traditional three point play but Notre Dame answered with a three-pointer. They scored on the next possession to take the lead, but another layup from Bradshaw put Winthrop back ahead. Chris Gaynor nailed a trey to extend the lead to 4 with seventy seconds left as Winthrop finished the game strong for the 74-64 victory. The win put me at 3-0 for the day.
4:48pm... With 4 minutes to go, Tennessee was up 107-82 against Long Beach State. Plenty of Swiss Cheese defense in that game. West coast hoops players are infamous for not playing defense, while Tenn's reputation is that they're a bunch of chuckers. Put them together and you got a 200 point affair. I knew I should have bet the over, but I made a promise to myself to not bet over/unders. The final score was an outstanding 121-86, as three starters had at least 22 points each. That 121 points might be a record. Tenn pushed me to 4-0 overall for the day.
5:15pm... With 15 minutes remaining, Wisconsin made a 12-5 run to pull within four. With 10:15 to go, Kammron Taylor drilled consecutive three-pointers to even the game at 47-47, and then hit another jumper to give Wisconsin its first lead of the day. He dropped another trey, as he scored 11 points in under two minutes. Nevada (Reno) trailed Creighton by a couple of buckets for most of the day in a very close game. With two minutes to go, Nevada tied the score at 59-59. They had too many chances and couldn't convert in crunch time. Overtime.
5:33pm... Marcelus Kemp hit a couple of clutch FTs to seal Nevada's overtime 77-71 win over Creighton. That nail biter meant I was 5-0.
5:36pm... Wisconsin's Kammron Taylor had scored zero points in the first half and dropped 22 in the second half. His four free throws put Wisconsin up 14 with 1:20 to go. They'd end up winning by 13, which meant it was a push. I'll take it considering an hour ago, I pretty much wrote the Badgers off. 5-0-1 for the day.
6:55pm... First loss of the day. The Ducks won by 2 against Miami (Ohio) but didn't cover. Where's Prefontaine when you need him? 5-1-1 overall.
8:15pm... Going into halftime, Texas and Va Tech ain't looking so good. I need strong second halves from those guys.
8:45pm... Pauly's Pub Update: Paboo is ahead in the Pauly's Pub March Madness Pool with 220 (or 22 correct picks). There's a three way tie for second with Senor, JoeSpeaker, and Change100 each having 210 a piece.
8:56pm... The Hokies have been outshot and outrebounded. No wonder they trail by 9 with six minutes to go.
9:20pm... Illinois hit a dry spell as Va Tech pulled within 2 with 1:32 to play. They were down as many as 13 points. Deron Washington dropped a jumped with 47 seconds to play to give va Tech their first lead in the second half. They outscored Illinois 12-0 down the stretch for the 54-52 come from behind victory. Of course, the spread was 3, so I lost another game, this instance by one fuckin' point! 5-2-1 overall for the day.
9:40pm... Hook'em muthafuckin' horns! Texas was up by seven with 2:30 to go. Their long range shooting was lukewarm, but they were nearly perfect from the free throw line which kept my hopes of covering the spread alive. I prayed that New Mexico St. would miss a series of shots then quickly foul Texas as they padded their lead. New Mexico's chances slipped away when Tyrone Nelson picked up his fifth foul on an offensive charge. As expected, Texas hit their FT's (25-26 overall) as they sealed the victory and covered! Swingman Kevin Durant from Texas led everyone is scoring with 27 points, including several big FT's in the last two minutes. I needed that Texas win to end the two game slide. I'm 6-2-1 overall.
10:03pm... I shoulda went with the gut and Kansas. 40 point blow out. Yikes. The Jayhawks stomped the Purple Aces. JW's Purdue pick ended up coming out right.
10:50pm... Florida is making it interesting as the Gators only up by 2. I'm winning 2 out of the 3 bets I have left, with two of those games at halftime. Kentucky is up 2 and the Salukis are winning but not covering. USC is cruising along.
11:23pm... Playing 5/10 with Zeem on Full Tilt. I'm currently clearing a bonus.
12:01am... UK opened up a 7 point lead with 11:14 to go as Nova continued to shoot poorly from everywhere on the floor. Nova's Scottie Reynolds was shut down and scored his first FG in the second half with less than 3 minutes to play. He led all scorers with 23 points. Kentucky won a first round game for the 16th consecutive year. Talk about having one of the most solid hoops programs in the nation. UK won 67-58 as I improved to 7-2-1 for the day.
12:06am... The S. Illinois Salukis held on for a 10 point victory over Holy Cross, who only played seven players. The Crusaders were tossing up bricks all night going 1-11 from the line and shooting under 30% from the field. The Salukis covered as I improved to 8-2-1 with USC in command.
12:21am... USC breezed to a 77-60 point victory over #12 Arkansas. There were no upsets from #12 seeds this year. I really didn't see it happening. I didn't like the match ups. I figured a #11 seed would upend and #6 except I picked the wrong one. The USC win pushed me to 9-2-1 for the day and 17-5-2 combined for the first two days. Outstanding. Let's hope that I can keep up that pace for the next round.
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