Beware the Ides of March! Over 2050 years ago on this day, Julius Caesar was whacked by a cabal of disgruntled senators. Today, as the Ides is upon us, I'm ready to get my ass kicked across the board; poker, the stock market, and March Madness. Let the onsluaght begin...
Here are the betting lines courtesy of BoDog as of 11am ET.
12:20p Davidson +7.5 Maryland
12:25p Texas Tech +3 Boston College
12:30p Stanford +6 Louisville
2:40p Oral Roberts +7 Washington State
2:50p Old Dominion +2 Butler
2:55p Belmont +17 Georgetown
3:10p Pennsylvania +13.5 Texas A&M
5:10p George Washington +4 Vanderbilt
7:10p Virginia Commonwealth +6 Duke
7:10p Central Connecticut +20.5 Ohio State
7:20p Michigan State -2 Marquette
7:25p Weber State +20 UCLA
9:40p Wright State +10 Pittsburgh
9:40p Xavier -2 BYU
9:40p Eastern Kentucky +27.5 North Carolina
9:55p Gonzaga +1.5 Indiana
Here are 12 games that I'll bet on today:
Maryland -7.5Best of luck today!
Texas Tech +3
Oral Roberts +7
Texas A&M -13.5
Michigan State -2
2:33pm... I went 2-1 in early action. Louisville thumped Stanford. Had I known that was going to be a layup, I would have bet 3x more. Maryland made it interesting. Talk about a nail biter for 39 minutes. The high tempo action actually favored Davidson and thank God that Mike Jones drilled that trey with 2:12 to go. Definitely needed that bucket. It's like filling in a flush on the river. I owe that kid a lap dance. And kudos to the Terps for hitting their free throws down the stretch. Nothing makes a gambler happier that free points with the clock not running. Then there's Texas Tech. Bastards. Bobby Knight (during his Indiana years) usually went out in the first round or went deep. I actually split Texas Tech and BC in my pools. This was a coinflip to bet on and I figured that Knight would have solved a way to defend BC's flex offense. Texas Tech kept it close but they blew too many layups and missed a couple of crucial three pointers late in the second half. They were only down 5 with 29 seconds to go, but couldn't catch a break. It would have been nice to start March Madness 3-0, but I'll take a 2-1 start. And yes, I've been watching the games on mute.
4:27pm... Lost the Oral Roberts game. I flip-flopped my bet at the last minute, something I never do. I know that Derek has a problem with avoiding his gut choice. Whenever he switches a pick or a player in his fantasy teams at the last minute, it ends up back-firing on him. That's why I always tell him to stick with his gut. Of course, I failed to heed my own advice as Wazzu prevailed over the Orals. They actually had a two point lead at the half and were down by 6 with eight minutes left, but could not get any closer. 2-2 overall.
5:05pm... The ODU-Butler game was ignored by CBS suits as they gave the NYC metro area the G'town blowout. Eventually CBS switched over to the Butler game. It was an ugly first half as Butler trailed 21-19. What's this HS girls hoops or something? After Butler's AJ Graves hit a trey, ODU led 33-32 with 11:16 remaining. ODU would go on a six minute dry spell as Butler pulled away. AJ Graves finished with 18 points. He grew up in the same Indiana town that Daddy lives in. Small world. Butler won by 11 as I improved to 3-2 overall.
5:20pm... Another close one. Texas A&M blew a 14 point lead and was behind those Ivy Leaguers at Penn. With 13:04 left to play, it didn't look good for the Aggies until Joe Jones threw down two big dunks as A&M regained the lead. Penn went on a six minute stretch where they didn't score as the Aggies took control of the game. I was worried in the last few minutes with A&M ahead by 13. They had the game won but they had been shooting terribly from the free throw lane. When it came time for Penn to foul, would they be able to convert at the line? Luckily, Penn missed a few shots and A&M held on for the 16 point victory even though they shot 15-27 (55.6%) from the FT line. If they want to go deep in the tourney, the Aggies better start hitting their second half FT's. That win put me up to 4-2 overall for the day.
5:38pm... Just got a text from my buddy JW. He said, "Picking Indiana over Gonzaga??? You are crazy! Want to take any side action on that one or BYU?"
6:46pm... CBS went to local news, so I had to follow the Vandy-GW game via ESPN. They won by an impressive 77-44 victory. Again, I wish I tripled my bet in that game. I'm 5-2 overall. I have action on 5 out of the last 8 games today. I'm thinking about changing my Xavier pick and going with BYU instead. I have a couple of hours to decide. Perhaps JW talked some sense into me?
8:45pm... Sticking with Xavier and going with the gut. Besides, I caught Dickie V on ESPN and he said BYU was a lock, which means bet on Xavier becuase you always fade Dickie V's picks. Since I can't stand to watch Duke, been watching the other games online at CBS.sportsline. In my games, Michigan St. is leading by a lot while Duke is barely covering.
9:35pm... Michigan State started out with a 14-0 lead and never looked back as they cruised to a 12 point victory. Tom Izzo's crew beat up on Marquette, who at one point made 10 3-pt FGs and just 5 regular FGs. Some teams live and die by the three, however when your shooters go cold, it's simple... you lose. Marquette missed something like 17 treys. MSU's win made me 6-2 overall for the day which I needed since Duke's in big trouble.
9:40pm... We have our first upset of the tourney as #11 seed VCU picked off #6 Duke. Bittersweet. I hate Duke, but I bet on them. They lost so it's hard not to be too upset. They blew it too and had a 7 point lead with seven minutes to go when they gave up consecutive three pointers to VCU who quickly took over momentum. Duke missed three big shots in crunch time and two free throws which could have sent the game into OT. I didn't like any of the #12 seeds and did not pick any of them to upset this year. I closely examined the #11 seeds. Unfortunately, on one of my sheets I picked the wrong #11 seed and went with GW to upset Vandy and then knock off Wazzu in Round 2 as they advanced to the Sweet 16. Boy was I wrong. That was a longshot at best because I ended up betting on Vandy. Anyway, Duke's loss put me at 6-3 for the day. I have Xavier, Indiana, and Pitt going in the late games. Will I choke and end up 6-6 or can I improve to a magical 9-3?
11:42pm... Drew Lavender came through in the clutch. Xavier's guard scored just 2 points in the first half yet dropped 15 in the second half including two big baskets late in the game. I thought Xavier was going to pull it out when Danny Ainge's kid missed his second shot in crunch time. By the way, I know I'm getting old when there are players and coaches I used to watch when I was a kid who all of a sudden have their sons playing and coaching. Patrick Ewing, Darryl Strawberry, John Thompson, Danny Ainge all have kids playing/coaching in March Madness and there's plenty more. Alas, BYU scored when seemed like meaningless basket as time expired as Xavier squeaked out a two point win 79-77. Anyone who bet on BYU got lucky as they picked up a draw, while folks like me who bet on Xavier were wicked pissed. Yes, I pushed. Boooooooooooo! I'm 6-3-1 with two games to go.
11:50pm... Rod Wilmot nailed 6 three-pointers and DJ White put up a double-double as they led Indiana to victory over Gonzaga 70-57. Indiana was up for most of the game and pulled away with a ten point lead with 10 minutes to go. The Hoosiers win pushed me to 7-3-1.
12:10am... Sometimes you just have to convert more buckets than your opponents to win. Pittsburgh hit twice as many three-pointers as Wright State. They also shot better from the field. Pitt led by 13 at the half and jumped out to a 23 point lead in the second half as Wright State could not stop them. All of Pitt's starters scored in double digits as they kept Dashaun Wood (19.8 ppg during the season) in check as he only scored 13. The win by Pitt put me at 8-3-1 overall for day 1. Both underdogs that I took today lost.
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